Read Longing's Levant Online

Authors: Charlotte Boyett-Compo

Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #Erotic

Longing's Levant

LONGING’S
LEVANT

An Ellora’s Cave Publication, December 2004

 

Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

1337 Commerce Drive, #13

Stow
,
OH
 
44224

 

ISBN MS Reader (LIT) ISBN # 1-8436 -719-0

Other available formats (no ISBNs are assigned):

Adobe (PDF), Rocketbook (RB), Mobipocket (PRC) & HTML

 

LONGING’S
LEVANT
© 2004 CHARLOTTE BOYETT-COMPO

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. They are productions of the authors’ imagination and used fictitiously.

 

Edited by
Mary Moran.

Cover art by
artist.

 

 

Warning:

 

The following material contains graphic sexual content meant for mature readers.
Longing’s Levant
has been rated E–rotic by a minimum of three independent reviewers.

 

Ellora’s Cave Publishing offers three levels of Romantica™ reading entertainment: S (S-ensuous), E (E-rotic), and X (X-treme).

 

S-
ensuous
love scenes are explicit and leave nothing to the imagination.

E-
rotic
love scenes are explicit, leave nothing to the imagination, and are high in volume per the overall word count. In addition, some E-rated titles might contain fantasy material that some readers find objectionable, such as bondage, submission, same sex encounters, forced seductions, and so forth. E-rated titles are the most graphic titles we carry; it is common, for instance, for an author to use words such as “fucking”, “cock”, “pussy”, and such within their work of literature.

X-
treme
titles differ from E-rated titles only in plot premise and storyline execution. Unlike E-rated titles, stories designated with the letter X tend to contain controversial subject matter not for the faint of heart.

Longing’s
Levant

Charlotte Boyett-Compo

 

Prologue

 

A muscle clenched and unclenched in his lean cheek as Lord Evann-Sin sat hunched over his tankard of beer. He stared into the amber depths of the liquid, ignoring the drunken laughter around him, the raucous music, the bawdy jokes being told by the gypsies sitting nearby, and the suffocating plumes from numerous foul-smelling pipes. Though he sat only a few feet away, he was barely aware of the heat of the tavern’s roaring fire that warded off the chill of the high desert, but as preoccupied with the troubling dark thoughts that spun through his mind, he was as cognizant of his surrounds as any well-trained soldier.

No one seemed to be paying any attention to the dark-clad warrior who sat so still. The serviceable blade strapped to his broad back and the unmistakable aura of power, the undeniable essence of authority, set him apart from the other patrons of the tavern. His handsome face was creased with a savage scowl that kept those nearest him from looking his way more than once.

Seeming to shake the grim thoughts from his mind, the warrior lifted his tankard and took a long sip of the warm beer. He grimaced for the taste was bitter—bursting over his tongue with an unpleasantness that made him set the tankard aside. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he pushed the tankard across the table then looked up, catching the eye of a tavern maid. He pointed to the tankard then turned his attention to the crackling fire.

He leaned back in the chair and stretched out his long legs. Folding his arms over his chest, he stared fixedly into the flames as though the conflagration was speaking to him.

The reluctant arrival of the tavern maid with a fresh tankard of beer failed to draw his notice and so intent was his concentration, so still was his posture, the woman made no mention of the coins he owed for the brew. She set the beer on the table then turned to go.

“Wait.”

“Aye, milord?” the woman said scarcely above a whisper.

“Here,” he said, digging into the pocket of his black leather breeches. He slapped two coins down on the sticky top of the table.

Bobbing a curtsy, the woman swept up the coins and backed away. She knew better than to turn her back on him or look directly into the eyes of a warrior they knew was a nobleman.

“What fare do you have for a traveler to eat, wench?” he asked, his words halting her in mid-step.

The tavern maid plucked at the folds of her skirt. “There is mutton stew, milord, and brown bread.”

“Is it edible?” he asked.

“We are told it is the best in Nonica, Your Grace,” she answered.

“Then bring me a trencher,” Evann-Sin ordered.

“Right away, milord!” she answered, backing away.

Drawing in a tired breath, the warrior exhaled slowly and looked toward the tavern’s door. The man he had come here to meet was over an hour late and that did not bode well for the Akkadian warrior’s temperament. Punctuality was a virtue as far as Evann-Sin was concerned. An honorable man did not keep another waiting.

Sighing heavily once more, the warrior plowed a hand through the
midnight
thickness of his hair then lowered his head, giving in to the tiredness that was rapidly sapping his strength.

A loud commotion at the tavern’s door caused Evann-Sin to look up. Hoping it was Rabin, he was as surprised as everyone else to see seven scarlet-robed women entering the common room, laughing and joking amongst themselves.

“Daughters of the Night!” he heard someone whisper.

“Hell Hags,” a gypsy remarked and made the Sign of the Slain One.

Knowing little about the witches of Bandar other than what he had heard in outrageous tales, Evann-Sin was intrigued by their appearance there in Nonica. The women rarely ventured beyond the borders of their homeland and when they did, it was rumored they did so with vengeance on their minds and blood in their eyes. The yarns he’d heard of their warrioress’ exploits had been too fanciful to be believed, but the swords they carried slung across their backs made him wonder if there might be some truth to the tales. The women looked capable of wielding those lethal blades and from the way they seemed to take command of the room, their posture gave evidence of the authority to which they were accustomed.

Unlike the now silent patrons who were meticulously avoiding looking at the newcomers, Evann-Sin openly watched them, curious to see what they were about. He was intrigued at the easiness with which they moved and more than a little curious about their nature.

The women were taller than average and as they took seats at the far end of the room they threw back the hoods of their robes to reveal waist-length hair in every shade from bright red to gray. They wore identical gold circlets around their long, flowing tresses, the circlets depicting quarter moons with a trio of silver stars riding on the lower curve. Boots of soft black kid showed beneath the ankle-length hem of the woolen robes and a cincture of braided gold silk circled their waists. The clink of bracelets as the women settled themselves at the table said these were not members of that part of the sect who had taken vows of poverty.

“Give us your most expensive wine, tavern keeper!” the tallest of the newcomers demanded, proving they were not poor. “We have a thirst not easily quenched.”

“And desires not easily satiated!” another chuckled. “Who among you would like to be the first to soothe our desires?”

All the men in the tavern save one shot to their feet and scurried from the room amidst the noisy scraping of chairs and tables. The door was yanked open and the mass exodus of males stumbling out into the chill desert night set the women to laughing uproariously.

“Was it something we said?” the tallest woman guffawed.

“Or fear of performance?” another chuckled.

“Ah, peace and quiet at last,” another said with a loud sigh. “No men to…” She stopped as one of her sisters pointed toward Evann-Sin.

The tallest woman arched a rust-colored eyebrow toward the warrior. “What ails you that you do no flee into the dark with your cowardly brethren?” she called out.

Evann-Sin stared at the woman without answering. She was tall but she was thick-bodied, overweight with a wide double chin and bloated face that said she embraced the habit of overeating. Her hair…perhaps once a bright color of auburn…was streaked heavily with gray and fell to her substantial waist in dull, bodiless orange strands.

“Perhaps he is hard of hearing?” one of the women suggested.

“Or mentally challenged,” another chortled. “Only a fool would remain when we’ve made it clear we wish to be alone.”

“He’s so pretty, perhaps he is just a half-male and thinks he has a right to be here with us,” another chortled and all but one of the women burst into laughter with her. “Think you he fancies himself part woman?”

“Leave him be,” a woman sitting in profile to Evann-Sin spoke up. “He doesn’t look the type to appreciate your humor, Sylviana.”

The tall woman snorted. “I bet he would appreciate a good ride, though,” she stated, and pushed back from the table.

“Sylviana, leave him be!” the woman warned again.

“By the Goddess, you are afraid of your own shadow, Tamara!” Sylviana scoffed. She headed toward Evann-Sin’s table.

Evann-Sin realized the tall woman was uglier than he’d first thought, for the closer she got to him, the harsher were the planes of her wide face. He winced when she opened her mouth in what was no doubt meant to be a seductive smile, for he got a glimpse of rotting teeth like jagged tombstones behind her thin lips. So disgusted by what he saw, he said nothing as she put her thick hands on his table and leaned toward him.

“What do you say, warrior?” Sylviana challenged. “Would you like to find a room with me and pass the time locked in a feverish embrace?”

The thought of such an act brought bile to Evann-Sin’s throat. As close as the woman was to him, he could not miss her overpowering, sour body odor, and wondered when was the last time she had bothered to wash her rancid flesh. Repelled by her leering stare, repulsed by her foul breath and appalled at her attempt at flirtation, he drew in his legs and sat up.

“Cat got your tongue, pretty boy?” she taunted him. She lowered her voice. “Would you like to ride me?” She licked her lips.

The suggestion sickened Evann-Sin. “I want nothing you have to offer,” he said.

Sylviana’s smile wavered. “How do you know unless you try it?” she asked.

“You really don’t want me to answer that,” he said.

The tall woman narrowed her eyes. “Aye, but I do. Give me your thoughts, warrior,” she said then sneered. “That is if you are capable of having thought.”

Evann-Sin smiled coldly. “All right, if you insist. I was thinking I’d rather hump a decaying corpse than take your reeking flesh to mine,” he grated.

Shocked silence settled over the room as Sylviana straightened and stood glaring down at the warrior. Her lips drew back from her teeth and she hissed as though she were a pit viper preparing to strike. “Be careful what you say to me, warrior,” she warned. “I am a ninth degree adept in the Order of the Celestial Descendency.”

“I don’t give a damn what you are,” Evann-Sin growled. “I’m telling you to leave me the hell alone, woman. Go back to your table.” His eyes narrowed. “Now while you still can.”

One of the other women left the table and hurried over. She reached out to take Sylviana’s arm, but the taller woman stepped back, shrugging away the contact. “Stay out of this, Tamara,” Sylviana ordered. “This is between me and this reckless fool who obviously does not know with whom he is dealing here.”

“He knows, Sylviana,” Tamara disagreed, “but he has no fear of you, so leave him be.”

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