MAIDEN'S GRAIL


“Why are you so impatient to die? You're the brave Sir Percival. You healed what was wounded. You saved the king. You've sown what was barren and bought prosperity to the land. You are a hero. What do you fear so greatly that you'd cheerfully seek out your demise?”

“There is nothing cheerful about me, madam,” he snapped eager to be on his way to finally find rest.

She climbed to her feet, the linens falling from her hands to flop wetly on the shore. “That is apparent.”

Her expression softened and there was no hint of mockery in her green gaze, just something that looked like acceptance. “Who will heal your wounds?”ull Ó she asked quietly, her voice barely carrying above the moving water.

Drawn by the compassion in her gaze, he stepped into the shallows at the ford heedless of the cool water that seeped through the leather of his boots and his woollen stockings chilling his feet. “I am not wounded, lady.”

She held his gaze. “Aren't you?”

He slowly shook his head, the silent lie bitter in his mouth.

Perhaps he should have been worried that she seemed to see inside his soul, but he couldn't bring himself to care. Truth be told, he couldn't bring himself to do anything but stare at the vision before him.

The skirts of her gown drank in the river. The hem swirled and eddied in the current while the skirt clung to her legs and belly, the fabric almost transparent. He couldn't tear his eyes from the shadowed area between her thighs, his gaze drifting upward. Her nipples were taut, tight peaks that jutted forward, begging for his mouth. For the first time in ages, he felt something other than despair or disgust. His fatigue melted away along with his frustration. His cock jerked thickly in his braes, hardening at the sight of her lush form.