posted by Nancy
Lisa Shearin returns to the Lair to share her heroine's current dilemma with us. Those of you who've read Raine Benares' adventures know Raine is involved with two hunky guys, goblin duke Tam and paladin mage Mychael. Those of you who haven't yet made their acquaintance are in for a new treat.
We're going to do something a little different today, but I'll let Lisa explain. Welcome, Lisa! Tell us what you have planned.
My fourth Raine Benares adventure--Bewitched & Betrayed--will hit bookstore shelves on Tuesday, April 27. Here’s a teaser from the book’s back cover: “My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker. I find lost things and missing people – usually alive. Finding the specters of six evil sorcerers who escaped the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone of unlimited power, was easy. Stopping them before they unleash Hell of earth just may be the death of me.”
Once again, Raine is up to her pointy elven ears in trouble of the worst kind. But our girl also finds her way into trouble of the steamy kind with Mychael Eiliesor, the elven paladin and commander of the Conclave Guardians, as well as Tamnais Nathrach, goblin duke and former chief mage to the goblin queen.
To give you a taste of Raine’s romantic quandary, I’ve brought along two snippets from Bewitched & Betrayed with Raine and the two the men in her life.
And naturally, I wouldn’t come to visit the Banditas without prizes.
Read the snippets below and make your choice.Who should Raine choose and why (or heck, which guy would you choose and why)? Post the answer in a comment on today’s post and you’ll be entered to win. Two commenters will be selected at random to each receive a Raine Benares Prize Pack: a copy of Bewitched & Betrayed with additional book goodies (postcards and bookmarks from all four of my books, plus a fridge magnet from Bewitched & Betrayed) – all signed and personalized.
So read the snippets and make your choice!
Bewitched & Betrayed snippet featuring Raine and Tam
A Fencing Lesson
Tam was waiting for me. He was wearing sleek, dark fencing clothes with his black hair pulled back in a long goblin battle braid. His strong hands were bare, and a pair of steel-mesh dueling goggles dangled from his long fingers.
Like most goblins, Tam was tall and leanly muscled, and as I’d experienced on more than one occasion, Tam was also lightning quick. His pale gray skin set off what was a goblin’s most distinctive feature—a pair of fangs that weren’t for decorative use only. A goblin wouldn’t hesitate to use them if a fight turned dirty. Tam wouldn’t hesitate to use them if I got within nibbling range.
Tam’s black eyes gleamed in the club’s dim lighting, lighting he wasn’t going to turn up for our lesson. Sarad Nukpana’s goblin eyes were at their best in this kind of light. Either I learned to adapt or I learned to be dead.
Goblin swords were both stabbing and slashing weapons. Goblins used two blades as naturally as breathing, like extensions of their arms. They were taught from an early age. Elf children played with building blocks; goblins learned to spin blades.
Tam stood facing me, his hands by his side, his blades angled toward the floor. He looked relaxed. I knew better. When Tam had swords in his hands, relaxed meant ready.
In our lessons, Tam always made the first move.
Change is good. Dirty is better.
I sauntered toward him like I was just getting into position to go on guard. Then I lunged, my blades dropped to block his, and my heel came down hard on his instep. Tam hissed and I pivoted sharply to the right, intending to pommel strike his ribs and dart the hell out of range.
Darting didn’t happen. Neither did the pommel strike.
Tam’s leather-clad arms pinned my arms—and swords—to my sides. His blades were up and crossed entirely too close to my face for any kind of comfort.
So much for darting and striking.
“Well, shit,” I said mildly. “That could have worked better.”
“My foot thinks it worked quite well.” I heard the pained grimace in his voice. “Nicely done.” Leather creaked as his arms tightened around me, and his voice lowered to a teasing purr. “The rest of me agrees. This is more than pleasant. Now how do you propose to get away from me?”
Vegard was here, so I knew Tam wouldn’t actually try anything, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t play with me like a mouse.
Sarad Nukpana would do the same thing.
Tam was right. He couldn’t let me go.
“You chose the game, darling. I didn’t.” His lips were near the tip of my ear. “Escape from me, and feel free to do whatever you have to.”
Whew! Okay, that's Raine and Tam. Next . . .
Bewitched & Betrayed snippet featuring Raine and Mychael
Plotting & Planning
“What about the guards?” I asked. “If everyone’s supposed to believe we’re in the citadel and then Markus’s men see us, guess what? Cover blown.”
“We won’t be seeing the guards and they won’t see us,” Mychael replied.
“If you can’t control a situation, you have to know every detail, don’t you?”
“What’s wrong with that?”
Mychael’s eyes twinkled from under the brim of his hat. “I’ll bet you don’t like surprises for your birthday, either.”
“No, I don’t. And what the hell does that have to do with anything?”
He leaned in close with a conspiratorial whisper. “Not all surprises are bad.”
Mychael took my face in his hands and those blue eyes gazed down into mine. There was no question reflected there, no uncertainty, and he sure as hell wasn’t asking my permission. Those eyes told me what he wanted.
He kissed me.
His lips didn’t demand, they simply took. With delicious slowness. His fingers of one hand ran lightly up the curve of my ear, lingering for a breath-catching caress at the tip before sliding down to my throat, leaving a trail of tingle-inducing heat in their wake. By the time his hand slipped around the back of my neck and pressed me to him, my hands were on him, sliding up to his chest and around his neck. My hands didn’t ask my permission, either. Traitorous hands.
Mychael’s kiss turned into a tantalizing nibble, gently pulling my bottom lip between his teeth, sucking, nibbling, teasing.
I opened my eyes and was met with twin pools of deep ocean blue, gleaming with mischief as he released my lips and planted light kisses on my nose and forehead. His lips lingered there, the warmth of his breath and body doing a fine job of banishing the night cold—or at least giving me something better to think about. His lips had released mine, but his arms were wrapped firmly around my waist and didn’t seem to be in a rush to let me go.
“What was that for?” I found myself short of breath.
“Hopefully, a pleasant surprise.”
I looked up at him, a slow smile spreading across my face. “Eh, I’ve had worse.”
Mychael grinned and his fingers found that ticklish place on my ribs and I squealed before I could stop myself. His lips instantly covered my mouth, muffling the sound. He took his sweet time muffling.
“See, not all surprises are bad,” his lips murmured against mine. “And some are more enjoyable than you’ll admit.”
“Was that a distraction to keep me from stabbing Markus?”
“That depends. Did it work?”
“As a distraction, it was first-rate.”
“My lips humbly thank you.”
“As a deterrent . . . sorry, no dice.”
Mychael pressed his lips together. I actually think he was trying not to laugh—at me. I narrowed my eyes and glared at him.
“That sounds like a challenge to me,” he said. “I’ll have to make every effort to do better next time.”
Okay, everyone, hit the comment link and let us know which of these two smokin' guys you'd choose if you were Raine or which one you'd choose for you--and why. Remember, Lisa is giving away the Raine Benares prize packs described above.
For more about Lisa and her books, visit her website.
For those who want to catch up with Raine from the beginning, I've inserted at right the cover (with link) of her first adventure, Magic Lost, Trouble Found.