Beloved Priestess: Her duty-their pleasure
Travel to a whole new land in Beloved Priestess, where fantasy meets fated love…
Dahlene is an acolyte of the rain goddess, tasked with the responsibility of bringing hope to her drought-stricken people. She is faithful in her duty, even if it requires her to give up the man she loves.
Prince Valeran chooses Carani as his bride-to-be, but he has no intention of setting Dahlene aside. That suits Carani just fine. She wants them both.
A jealous brother and an old pact with the fire god has left Valeran’s kingdom wasted. It will take all three—groom, bride and priestess—to right past wrongs and bring the rain.
The sacred ritual was approaching its climax—literally, as women writhed together on the soft blue cushions strewn about the chamber. Acolytes in white robes, priestesses-in-training in pearly gray—though it was difficult to tell them apart after the women’s clothing fell to the floor.
Dahlene smoothed her hands over her transparent blue robe, just one of the things that set her apart. She was dressed as custom demanded, as the servants of Thynia must always show the beauty of their bodies and their potential fertility while remaining untouched by men until they ascended to the highest position, as aloof as the rain before it falls. Dahlene was higher in status, though it didn’t count for much where the Overlord was concerned. Being who she was, and what she was, she’d been deemed untouchable years before, the moment she’d been brought to the palace and placed into the keeping of the High Priestess.
Normally she’d have been writhing on the floor with the other women. Today, however, the flash of tongues pressing between sleek, feminine thighs held no appeal. Not that Dahlene was unaffected by the sights and sounds of pleasure building all around her—on the contrary, her sex was swollen and wet, aching for release, and her nipples tented the gauzy fabric of her transparent robe.
Not for the first time, she wondered whether it would have been different if her previous owner had taken her to be sold in a bigger city. How would her life have been changed if she’d been bartered away from the edge of the Wastelands, somewhere the citizens worshipped more than just the fire god and the rain goddess? She wondered what her future would have been like if she’d been chosen to follow the path of a fertility god, where both men and women joined together in the sacred ceremonies.
She shook her head and stepped over a moaning couple, scolding herself for the blasphemous thoughts sliding through her mind. Her destiny had been chosen long before she’d been born, and she’d been thrust onto her path the moment her hair had turned white as a child. There was no use imagining anything different.
And if she hadn’t come to the city at the edge of all life, she’d have never met Valeran, the true source of the day’s anxiety.
Dahlene made her way out onto the seraglio’s balcony. Clutching the rail she looked over the pitiful scene below. Standing sentinel at the very edge of the Wastelands, with the city and the rest of the civilized world at its back, the palace claimed only a small patch of grass and a few gardens to stave off the certain death of the desert. High above, an ever-present bank of dark, roiling clouds crashed into the Wastelands’ clear blue sky in a perfectly delineated band.
“Thynia and Hashu, forever locked in battle.” The feminine voice of the High Priestess stroked over Dahlene’s ears with the comfort of a mother’s touch. “Lovers and enemies both, always seeking a balance here at the edge of the world. We mere mortals can see it in the cloud bank, where water dims the sun, and on the ground where the sun dries the water.”
Dahlene turned toward her superior with a weak smile. The two women were dressed similarly, with Dahlene’s robes only a few shades lighter than the azure garment of the woman responsible for the spiritual guidance of the Overlord. Today, the High Priestess had also donned the sapphire pedant only worn for special occasions.
Dahlene’s smile died at the sight of the stone nestled between the other woman’s breasts. “Neither god nor goddess can win without destroying us all. Yet the Wastelands come closer every day and the rains grow shorter with every year. Hashu is winning the eternal battle.”
“Hopefully that will change tonight.”
Dahlene couldn’t maintain eye contact. Of all days, this was one where she couldn’t risk showing too much of her inner emotions, and the High Priestess’ penetrating stare always seemed to burrow deep into the acolytes’ souls, ferreting out all their secrets. She fought to remain strong in front of her superior, but tears still filled Dahlene’s eyes. The dark clouds above them cracked with thunder and the skies opened for the briefest of moments, as if in sympathy.
The High Priestess gasped. “I’ve never seen you cry, child.”
“I haven’t had much to cry about,” Dahlene whispered as she turned away, impatiently swiping at her cheeks. “I’ve had shelter and food when so many others are struggling.”
“The rain…” The High Priestess turned her face up to the gentle sprinkling just as it stopped. For a long moment she was silent, then a fierce shudder wracked her shoulders. From the corner of her eye, Dahlene saw a strange expression pass over the other woman’s face. “Dahlene, have you ever done something you regretted?”
Heat washed her nape but she answered honestly. “No. I have no regrets.”
“Not even for what will happen tonight?”
Dahlene took a deep breath and pushed back the pain that flared in her chest. “Of course not.”
“A life without regrets is a life without mistakes.” The High Priestess moved back toward the chamber where the ritual was nearing its completion. “Lucky you.”
Dahlene stood in the alcove looking out over the Wastelands as she gathered her strength. She forced her eyes to see the potential of green grass and wildly blooming flowers, maybe a river to cut through the landscape and bring their people sustenance, rather than the desert stretching into infinity.
She did her duty and sent a small prayer to the goddess. She prayed for Prince Valeran’s success in his search for a bride, and asked for deliverance of the keystone that would release the priestess’ full power and bring life to the Wastelands. Before she could stop them, her heart’s desires slipped into the mix with a plea for some way to keep the man who held her heart.
Her prayer hadn’t even finished when strong hands caught her, sliding down her torso over her robe. Val’s familiar touch was bittersweet, considering the gathering due to begin any minute, but Dahlene couldn’t help her response. She’d loved him for so long and she was still feeling the effects of the sacred ritual. Compressed beneath his palms, the friction of the fabric against her skin lit her nerves, yet there was no time left for her to enjoy. She closed her eyes, savoring the forbidden contact of the man behind her.
His touch drifted down her body, the material no barrier against the heat of his palms. Reluctantly, she turned from the window, dislodging his hands before they could travel lower. They would be late if she let him continue, but Dahlene’s intentions fell away as she took in his beloved face. She’d never been able to resist him, in spite of the consequences.
Prince Valeran’s mouth eased into a smile. Happiness lit his eyes as she came back to him, eagerly raising her lips to his. This man had given her kindness as well as pleasure, and had offered her a home that was more than just the structure of the palace.
His tongue dipped into her mouth, slowly rubbing hers as his free arm wrapped her waist, tucking her close, heating her skin. After a moment, he reluctantly pulled back to press his forehead against hers. “I’m nervous.”
“You should be a little nervous, Val,” she whispered. “You’re to be given your wife tonight. That’s an important undertaking.”
“I’m worried the High Priestess won’t choose someone who suits me.”
Dahlene gave a troubled laugh. “You tell me who you want and I’ll take care of the High Priestess.”
“Are you nervous too?” His arms tightened around her.
She closed her eyes, pretending to commune with higher planes, trying to keep her expression neutral so Val couldn’t see the riot in her heart. He may be her dearest friend and secret lover, but she was his property by permission of the Overlord and it wasn’t her right to have an opinion on his life. Just as she had no right to demand his attention—and though unused to sharing him, she would now have to give him up completely. Fear plucked at her nerves, making it hard to still the trembling of her body.
She was afraid to lose him, and yet he must marry. For the good of the people, for the good of the Wasted Kingdom. For the hope of the future.
“Yes, I am nervous,” she admitted. “But I have faith the goddess will bring you a woman who can bear you many sons. A woman who can help restore life to this land.”
Val thrust his hand into her hair, clenching his fingers in emphasis. “I would rather let my brother rule than have this burden on me. I would give him everything before I willingly hurt you.”
“No! Dyrek craves power too much and cares about the people too little. Your brother is no leader of men and I am nothing but a glorified slave your father purchased to ease your mind. It falls to you, Val. You’re the one Thynia has chosen and you’re the one the people love.”
“But I love you. You’re my heart and my priestess.”
Dahlene shook her head. “I’m definitely not your priestess.”
“You will be, one day. Who else could be chosen to fill the position? There’s no one as gifted, as blessed, as you.”
Dislodging the prince’s hand, Dahlene stepped back, smoothing the fabric of her robe over her hips. She couldn’t meet Valeran’s eyes and, instead, let her gaze roam over the gold and silver walls, the lapis floors and even the large window behind her. She struggled to contain her emotions, instinctively putting distance between them but he moved after her, pressing her deeper into the alcove.
He trapped her between his hard chest and the window. “I can’t do this without you, Dallie. I need you.”
The tone of his voice was less straightforward than his hand. Dahlene heard confusion and fear in his words, but he dragged up the hem of her robe without uncertainty. His fingers were as sure as they’d always been as he pressed under the fabric and found her clit.
“We don’t have time and we’re in the main hallway!” Dahlene gripped his wrist, but the subtle flexing of it only poured lust into the lowest regions of her belly.
Val’s hand probed deeper. “You’re already wet.”
“There was a ritual,” she gasped. On this day, when she’d lose him in just hours, the fear of getting caught only added to the thrill of his touch. “Val, someone will see us, you must…”
“I must hurry, yes.” The nervousness previously permeating his tone was absent as his need took over.
But worry remained in his eyes. Dahlene could see his anxiety clearly. Without another protest, she submitted, offering him whatever he needed. Love, reassurance, faith—they both required touch and friendship to face the celebration ahead of them. Tonight, their lives would change forever and, for all Dahlene knew, this would be the last intimate moment they would ever share.
She shifted her legs, widening her stance until he could stroke down her slit and find her pussy. Two calloused fingertips circled her opening and pressed in, sliding over hidden nerves and calling forth a sensual rain that sent lightning through her entire body. With her emotions heightened, the sensation of Val’s touch seemed magnified and Dahlene arched, desperately needing his thick cock with an impatience that shocked her.
Clawing at his loose pants, she pushed them down his hips until his shaft sprang free. She wrapped her fingers around him as best she could and fondled the entire length. Her pussy pulsed with the remembrance of having his thick flesh shoved deep inside it, making her inner walls tighten around the prince’s fingers as he thrust them into her, hard and fast, over and over.
With a groan, Val stepped closer. He pulled his fingers from the wet heat they’d been buried in and gripped her thigh. Dahlene was tall enough that a mere shift of her hips had his cock aligned with her entrance—then he pushed inside and she went to her toes.
She’d always loved the sensation of his penetration. Stretched and full, filled to the point the pleasure hinted of pain, but she was dripping and they’d had years of practice to perfect their dance. His big cock split her pussy as he slid home.
Home. Not just the palace or kingdom, but one’s man’s heart. A connection forged before anyone could stop them.
Neither one had the fortitude, or the time, required for a slow, gentle loving. Val fucked Dahlene hard, tunneling through her gripping pussy with a strength born from years of warrior training. He held her with steady hands, his strong legs flexing against hers as he used his whole body to ram into her, smashing her back against the window.
Afraid the moment was too full of heartache and fear to remain silent, Dahlene bit her lip to muffle her cries. With a snarl and a furious thrust that told her he felt the same, Val took her mouth in a brutal kiss that sparked a wave of pleasure too intense to stem. When his cock slammed to the end of her depths, Dahlene exploded. Valeran swallowed her cries and pushed harder, bucking until his spine drew taut and he found his own release. He ate at her mouth as he emptied inside her, licking and stroking, sucking her tongue until her pussy throbbed with renewed desire.
With a groan and a murmur of regret, Val withdrew before he could fully reignite the fire in her sex. Dahlene leaned against the window, unthinkingly holding her robe’s hem to her heaving chest as the prince’s eyes traveled the length of her flushed body. His gaze lingered on the scars below her navel. “Sometimes, I hate these marks, Dallie.”
“All of Thynia’s acolytes are rendered infertile, Val. You know this. We trade the ability to bear children for the privilege of serving the rain goddess, for the greater good of the people. The scars never bothered you before.”
“I’ve never been faced with the prospect of having a wife who isn’t you before.”
“Without Thynia’s scars, I’d have certainly born a royal babe long ago, and this secret relationship would have come to light. Your father would have killed me.”
“No, but he’d have given you to my brother, just to teach me a lesson on loss.” Though his gaze focused on the patch of curls shielding her from his sight, Val still took her by surprise when he dropped to his knee. Dahlene nearly slid to the floor without his support, but then she went to her toes as his tongue flicked out to bathe her folds in slick heat. He slipped his mouth over her clit and dipped into her cunt, building the heat in her veins back into a raging inferno.
But he had no intention of finishing what he’d restarted. He stood and grinned down at her. “We didn’t have time for you to properly bathe my seed from your flesh. As you said, we’re about to be late to the party.”
“So you think of me all this night.” His lips whispered over hers before he stepped back. “And I’ll carry the taste of you on my tongue. The taste of the two of us together.”
Trembling, Dahlene dropped her robes and stiffened her knees. Hardly able to breathe, she couldn’t find the will to scold him for getting her heated with no way to ease the torture. In spite of her determination to do her duty, she had a dangerous need to be uppermost in his mind as he searched for a wife. With a prayer to dispel the impious thought, Dahlene forced her legs into motion, stepping out into the wide hallway leading toward the night’s celebration.
Prince Dyrek blocked her way.
Dahlene came to an immediate stop. Though she rarely felt exposed in her transparent robe, the way Val’s brother’s gaze tracked over her body made her feel beyond vulnerable. The man stood still, watching them, his eyes flashing with hunger and the front of his silk trousers lifting with his erection. She knew he’d spied on them.
Val moved in front of her, shoulders stiffening. “Dyrek, why aren’t you inside the hall yet?”
“I would ask the same of you, brother, but…” Dyrek gave a bitter laugh.
Fear sliced through Dahlene’s chest. The older prince had never made a secret of his desire for her, but she wanted nothing to do with him and had been grateful to fall back on her status to avoid his touch. The other man would reveal her secret relationship with Valeran to the Overlord without a moment’s hesitation.
Her stomach rolled.
“Why should I even bother to attend?” Dyrek finally turned to Valeran. “This feast is for you, after all. I have my wife, my concubines and my servants of fertility. There is nothing for me in that hall but the loss of my throne.”
“It takes more than desire to be the Overlord, brother,” Val snapped. “ You must have children to carry on your reign. A bride will be chosen for me tonight, but perhaps I am like you, unable to fill a woman’s belly with sons. There may be hope for you yet.”
Dyrek snarled and spun, storming down the hallway. Dahlene released the breath she’d been holding. “You shouldn’t have said that. He’ll tell.”
“I’ll protect you. I’ll make my father think Dyrek is simply spewing more jealousy. He’s done it so often recently that I’m sure the Overlord will believe me.” Val took Dahlene’s hand and guided her down the corridor.
“You’re taking a wife tonight. You shouldn’t be escorting me into the hall.”
“My wife will have to accept that I won’t give you up. You’re mine, for always, Dallie. If I take the Overlord’s throne, the whole world will know it.”
He leaned down, dark eyes boring into hers. “You were mine the moment I first saw you in the slave market. You were mine when I convinced my father to let me buy you, and you were mine when we were finally old enough to understand the pleasure we could share.”
“And old enough to know one of us would die if we were caught.”
“You have my heart, Dallie. What price is death to have you?”
But it would be her death, not his. The Overlord would never deliver the punishment on his last hope of a fertile heir. Acolytes of the rain goddess were plentiful, though Val insisted on believing Dahlene’s uniqueness would save her.
Shying from that train of thought she only said, “A wife doesn’t want to hear how her husband loves another upon their first meeting. Especially not on her wedding day. Don’t speak of me tonight.”
“I know of no Overlord in the world who doesn’t have both concubines and sacred servants. You will enter the hall on my arm.”
With his pronouncement, Dahlene’s heart calmed. Hearing Val’s stern words and the promise within them, she was less afraid that he would leave her now, and more ready to aid his search for a woman who could help him restore balance to their kingdom.