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Authors: Dawn Thompson

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Lord of the Forest

BOOK: Lord of the Forest
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Lord of the Forest
Lord of the Forest
Dawn Thompson

APHRODISIA

KENSINGTON BOOKS

http://www.kensingtonbooks.com

Lord of the Forest
1

The Forest Isle, Archipelago of Arcus,
the Summer Solstice

M
arius, Lord of the Forest, Prince of the Green, moved through the wood. It was nearly time. All was in readiness for the Midsummer festival. He dreaded it more and more each year, putting up with giddy nymphs and sylphs and dryads from the astral and playing host to curious mortals carrying on like cretins for three days and nights.

He passed the ancestral oak in the clearing that had been chosen to serve as the Midsummer tree. All through the day, wood nymphs had decorated its branches with garlands of honeysuckle, silkworm’s gauze, and summer berries. Come midnight, women would dance naked around it, chanting the fertility descants and raising the sexual consciousness of the revelers, for that’s what Midsummer was, after all—a three-day orgiastic celebration meant to bring bounty to all the hemispheres of Arcus.

During the rituals, he would be expected to perform, to have coitus with fay and humans alike, if any possessed the prowess to catch him. He would be pursued—at their mercy—hunted down and captured like an animal for three steamy days and nights of bed sport with one of them. That part of the ritual would ensure a fruitful harvest.

Marius sighed. He must be getting old. Normally he would have enjoyed the sensual Midsummer rituals. He used to look forward to the chase—to the thrill of the capture and the turnabout, when the conquered became conqueror and ravished the fair maiden, who had pursued him and become Lady of the Feast—but this time he dreaded it. This time the solstice did not fall during the full moon or any of the safe phases. This time the moon-dark threatened; and at the dark of the moon, Marius, Prince of the Green, became the centaur until the new sickle moon appeared in the indigo vault, canceling the phenomenon, allowing him to return to his human form.

In all the eons since he’d been cursed to share his body with the centaur, the movable feast had only come at moon-dark once. He didn’t want to think about that, not now, on the brink of what could well be another catastrophe of like proportions.

But there was still a little time yet before the festivities began, before he would have to strip naked and run masked through the forest until some skilled huntress swifter than the rest took him down and claimed his cock. All that would commence at midnight. What was wanted was a soaking in the hidden pool beforehand, and Marius headed for it like a man possessed.

Following the mineral spring deep in the wood, he passed through the invisible portal that cloaked the rock pool it fed into, scarcely aware of a rustling noise behind. It came again and he hesitated at the edge of the grotto, giving ear. The hidden pool was his secret hideaway. No one else knew it existed, and none could enter save a creature like himself because of the invisible force field around it. Except for the Sage Tree, a sprawling willow that stood beside the pool, its wispy foliage skimming the water. A venerable spirit lived inside its silvery trunk, but it was unlike the Ancient Ones that lived in the trees of the forest. The gods had gifted the willow with the power of extraordinary intelligence and speech, and Marius availed himself of its wisdom often.

Still listening, he called upon his extraordinary hearing, but all was quiet except for the echo of gently lapping water. He glanced at the willow. It seemed to be sleeping. Surely it would have warned him if something untoward was about to happen. He shrugged, tugged off his boots, stripped off his buckskins, and plunged naked into the pool.

Rich mineral steam scented with herbs rose around him, and he tore off the braided vine that held his long hair at the nape of his neck and ducked his head beneath the water. He groaned as he broke the surface again. If only he could stay hidden here in the pool until the solstice was over, but that could not be. Marius pressed the water from his hair, then seized a cake of pine tar soap from a scallop-shell dish at the edge of the pool and began to lather his body.

Rich thick suds slid down his sun-bronzed chest, parted by the dark oval nipples so sensitive to touch. It sheeted down his hard roped torso, collecting in his navel, and wreathed his hips like a garland. Reaching beneath the water, he took hold of his penis and lathered it roughly. Soon enough the transformation would take place, turning him into the creature he loathed, and that shaft, magnificent though it was, would become a gargantuan appendage three times the size it was now, a force to be reckoned with, demanding release where there could be none. As the centaur, he was of a size no woman could take inside her. Few avenues would be open to him for sexual gratification until the new moon freed him from the curse again, which, he bitterly believed, was a cruel trick of the gods. His climax as the centaur was unlike any other, and in that form, his anatomy was such that he couldn’t even reach his cock to relieve himself.

Yet it was only for three days each month. Quite bearable ordinarily, though the gods made sure he was always tempted and tortured with lust during those three grueling days. And there was always the chance that passion in any form, be it rage or sexual, might bring the centaur out. That, however, was a rare occurrence.

Either would be dreaded now. This was the Summer Solstice, when he was commanded to call upon his legendary virility and perform, to bless the land with abundance. With the change to a centaur looming, and no way to predict the precise moment when the transformation would take place, it did not bode well.

Marius loosed a string of expletives under his breath. His handling of his cock with the satiny lather had made him hard. He dared not waste his seed in the pool as he had so many times before. Not this night. Soon he would be caught up in the pageantry of Midsummer, set upon and run to ground in mock captivity by a beautiful maiden, one of many who would compete to take him down and possess his body throughout the celebration. There could be only one winner. Her sexual appetites would be insatiable, and he must save his stamina for that. But, oh, how his loins ached for the release a few rough tugs on his throbbing penis would bring. He had but to rub the mushroom tip with his thumb, massaging the rich, creamy lather over the ridged head ever so gently to come. Instead, he ducked his head beneath the water and shook himself fiercely, as if that would shake off the arousal. It didn’t work.

When he broke the surface again, it was to pull up short.
Pop!
went his hope of calm. He wasn’t alone. On the brink of the pool stood an exquisite creature, so fair she seemed golden, as though her skin had been kissed by the sun.

Marius’s jaw fell slack. There wasn’t a stitch on her. Caught by surprise, he was unable to take his eyes from the perfect breasts, their hard nipples, tawny pink, poking through a curtain of honey-colored waves of hair that teased her waist. His gaze slid lower, to her pubic mound and hairless sex, her nether lips like the center of an exquisite orchid. He couldn’t see her face. It was hidden behind a Midsummer mask in the image of an antelope, its spiral horns glistening with faery dust. There was no moon in the darkening sky. No rush lights had been lit beside the pool or torches around the grotto, and yet she shone with an ethereal glow, as if she were lit from within.

“H-how did you get in here?” he stammered, clearing his parched throat. “Who are you?”

But she neither moved nor spoke, and he surged out of the water and scrambled up onto the edge of the pool without a second thought for his own nakedness. He spun back toward her, but all that remained was the feminine echo of her musical laughter, like gently pealing bells.

Had he dreamed her? Had she vanished into thin air, or had she slipped behind one of the grotto trees? “Who are you?” he called out, his head turning in all directions as he searched the twilight for some sign of motion, but there was none. He continued to call out to her while he circled the pool, unwilling to concede that he had imagined her.

Most troublesome was that she had found her way into his secret retreat—the last bastion of his peace of mind, body, and spirit. Of all the supernatural isles in the Arcan Archipelago, the Forest Isle was the most enchanted. It formed a natural bridge between the astral and human planes, accessible to both mortals and the fay. Few from the mainland frequented the isle, but nymphs, dryads, sylphs, as well as their male counterparts came and went often. Otherworldly creatures of all descriptions used the Forest Isle as a holiday retreat. It had become a place where they could come to revel in the wood for both their spiritual and sexual enlightenment among the Ancient Ones, the eons-old tree spirits that lived within the ancestral oaks, pines, rowan, ash, and whitethorns, to name but a few. But the hidden pool was
his
—all his, and he wasn’t about to share it no matter how exquisite a creature she was.

Behind him, the sound of a sigh spun him around to face the Sage Tree that had lifted its branches, yawning awake. Arms akimbo, Marius addressed the venerable willow, his voice like a whip. “Outstanding, Philonous!” he seethed. “Now you wake! Who was that? How did she get in here? I know you see all, waking and sleeping. Why didn’t you warn me?”

The tree gave another yawn. “You were in no danger.” It reached with one of its long, lacy branches and pointed toward the obvious. “I thought you might appreciate something sweet and private to relieve
that
before the Midsummer madness begins. You know what will happen if the moon does not rise tonight and you enter into your other body. I wouldn’t want to be you if they crowned me King of the Fay when that pack of lusty women finds out there will be no coupling with the legendary Lord of the Forest this Midsummer.”

Marius gave his stiff cock a ruthless tug with his fist and roared, “Do not remind me!”

“She is quite comely, your little intruder, is she not?” the tree drawled on. “And very enterprising, sneaking in behind you that way. No other has managed it in all these years. What harm to—”

“This is my private place, Philonous,” Marius interrupted. “
Mine
! In all my eons, I have never brought a woman here.” Enlightenment struck and he stiffened as if he’d been shot. “You
let
her in, didn’t you?
Didn’t you!
” he shouted.

“How could I have done that?”

Marius laughed without humor. “You have your ways,” he accused the tree.

“Yes, well, not this time. I was asleep, remember?”

“How did she get in here, then?” Marius demanded.

The tree sketched the closest thing to a shrug it could and gestured toward a stand of young saplings behind him. “Don’t know,” it said. “Why don’t you ask her?”

Marius spun around so fast he almost fell back into the pool. Slip-sliding and teetering on the slippery brink, he muttered curses at the image he must be presenting, naked and aroused, floundering—arms flailing in the air—as he fought to regain his balance.

A sound from behind turned him back momentarily. Was that snoring? It was. Philonous had fallen back to sleep, and Marius cursed again as more peals of musical laughter assailed his ears. Spinning back around again, his eyes blazing green fire, he stalked toward the mysterious masked creature peeking through the saplings’ branches.

“How in the name of Mica did you get in here?” he demanded. He seldom invoked the name of the God of All. He knew firsthand how dangerous that could be, but he was beyond incensed. He wanted no memories—sexual or otherwise—connected with his little oasis.

She made no move to back away but stepped out in the open and sauntered closer, stopping him in his tracks as if she’d struck him. Instead, she raised her hand, laid a finger across his lips, which had formed a hard rigid line, and looked deep into his eyes. His green fire jousted with the most alluring shade of amber he had ever seen. Her eyes shone like gold.

“Does it really matter how I came here?” she murmured.

Her voice was sultry, with a cool undertone, like water rushing over pebbles in a sparkling brook and held some of the irresistible music of her laughter. He suppressed a groan. She’d made him harder. Who was she? If only he could see her face. For all he knew, she could be an odious crone working some spell of entrapment. He’d seen enough of such creatures over the years. Still, if that was the case, Philonous would not have been so complacent…would he? Even a Sage Tree could make mistakes.

“I shan’t tell anyone of your secret place if that’s what you fear,” she crooned, jarring him out of his thoughts. “I want you all to myself. Take the gift, Lord of the Forest. Time grows short…”

She crowded closer until the head of his erect penis touched the soft swell of her naked belly. She smelled of the exotic vanilla orchid, laced with the musk of arousal, and he was undone.

His arms flew around her. Her skin was like warm satin. He could feel its heat beneath her hair, like spider silk, as he ran his fingers through it. His hands slid lower, inching down the length of her spine, then cupped her firm, round buttocks and traced the fissure between until she shuddered.

“Remove the mask,” he said, his voice husky with desire. “I would see your face. For all I know, I could be about to couple with a banshee…or a succubus.”

“I assure you I am neither,” she murmured, her honey-sweet breath puffing against his moist face through the air holes in the mask.

Marius groaned. There was no turning back. It was the solstice, after all, and he was on the verge of becoming something with a cock so enormous it would break a woman in half. It had to be now, while he was still a man, before the centaur robbed him of the offering. Else he would suffer in a perpetual state of arousal until the new moon freed him once again from the curse that turned him from man to beast whenever the heavens went dark.

BOOK: Lord of the Forest
12.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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