Friday, September 21, 2007

man Enough to Show Feelings

A man who shows his feelings. We know them - the ones who will shed a tear at the sight of their newborn baby, who will openly admit to smelling the roses and loving it, who love to play with kittens and puppies or spend time with an old pet, who will watch a drama movie and not scoff. They are out there, ladies!!

When I wrote Soul of a Hunter, I never once imagined that my hero, Cam, a big, tough Daamen trader, would ever show so much emotion. He took even me by surprise during one scene, and to this day, I still wonder how I wrote it. LOL I admit, he's a favourite hero of mine, and for his lady love, he will do anything and stand up against anyone, even his own leaders. He loves her that much. And he's not ashamed to show her how much...

Here is the excerpt - enjoy!

“As for we planet leaders, send word to your planets to be on guard. Keep close vigilance on the skies for intruders. Rally your planet troops to search the settlements for anyone alien to your planet and have them also taken into custody. Until we get to the bottom of this, strict security law will apply to every planet under the Intergalactic Peace Council. Once you have done this, remain in your individual cabins under close guard with your personal guards only. Contact will be maintained through the viscomm.”
“Do you think this is really necessary?” one member queried.
“We can’t risk being together. If we are being infiltrated, once it becomes known that we’re onto them, our lives may be in danger. It’ll be harder to reach us separately.”
“He’s right.” Sabra folded her arms. “‘Tis easier to kill a flock.”
Within minutes the chamber was empty of all except Davan, Grezel, the hulking Daamen guards, Sabra, Cam, and Meekta and his black-clad guards.
Meekta’s intense gaze settled on Sabra. “Your suspicions prove correct, hunter.”
“This isn’t over yet,” she returned. “My instincts tell me ‘tis just the beginning.”
Hmm.” His attention switched to Grezel. “I will be in touch.”
Grezel nodded and watched the black-robed man sweep from the room surrounded by his guards, their cloaks billowing around booted feet.
“At last,” Sabra muttered.
Cam glanced down at her in amusement. “You mean now there’s some action?”
“I can’t stand this waiting.” She started to move off.
“Where are you going?”
“To search the ship.”
“Oh, nay, you’re not!” He strode after her rapidly.
Without a word needing to be said, two of the Daamen guards blocked the doorway.
“Move it,” she said.
“Sorry, lass,” the big redhead replied.
“I’m not the outlaw, Daamen. Now let me pass.”
He eyed her calmly.
Anger started to burn. Turning, she beheld Cam approaching determinedly. “Tell them to move.”
“You’re not going anywhere,” he returned.
“Sabra, we’ve been ordered to our cabins--”
“You might have been but I intend to search this ship.”
“Nay, ‘tis too dangerous.”
“Oh for... I’m a bounty hunter, Cam!”
“The soldiers will take no notice of that, Sabra. Their orders come from the IPS Council. Everyone is to be confined to their cabins under safe guard until given the all-clear. That includes you.”
“No one gives me orders, least of all you!”
He came up close but she stood her ground. Gazing down into her furious face, he said firmly, “I won’t risk you being hurt. Those soldiers will toss you into a holding cell if you so much as stick that pretty little nose into the corridor.”
“I’ve been in worse situations and lived to tell the tale, and those soldiers will be in for a nasty surprise if they touch me. Besides which,” her eyes narrowed, “you don’t own me and have no right to order me around.”
Muscles bunched as he folded his arms across his chest. Gone was the tender, playful lover and in his place stood a determined man. Unmoving and protective. Extremely protective.
A Daamen male with his wench. She recognized the signs and unwittingly her mouth went dry.
Until now, he’d not shown any indication of anything other than that of a man courting a lass, affable and easygoing. Supportive. But this side was one she’d seldom seen--in regards to herself, anyway. The square jaw was set, eyes steady. His bearing was almost one of... dominance.
When he didn’t reply, she tossed her head and turned back to the impassive guards. “Get out of my way.”
They didn’t move, simply gazed down at her.
Grezel, order them to move.”
Incensed, she spun around once more to glare past Cam at the Daamen leader. “Trust you to be on Cam’s side! How dare you presume to keep me prisoner! Who do you think you are?”
The reply was mild. “Your leader.”
“I have no leader!”
“You are a Daamen and come under the Daamen law.”
“I’m a bounty hunter, not--”
“Makes no difference. You bear the Daamen mark, you are a Daamen, and at this moment come under our law. That, wench, will never change, no matter where you are or what you do. Now you will return with us to our cabins and remain under safe guard as ordered by the IPS Council.”
Rage and indignation boiled up inside her. “You can’t make me, Grezel. No one can. I’ll obey no man, no one!”
“For your safety, I will make you. As leader of our planet, it would be negligent of me.” Grezel nodded to the guards behind her and immediately big hands wrapped around her upper arms. “Take her to our cabins.”
“Let go!” She started to struggle.
“Unhand her,” Cam growled.
Looking up, Sabra saw him eyeing the guards warningly, his big hands fisted.
“Cam, she can’t be allowed to wander the ship,” Grezel said.
“Tell your guards to take their hands off her.” Dark eyes remained fixed on the guards.
They returned his look calmly but she could feel their tension. Daamens they all were, but these guards obeyed Grezel only. Behind Cam, she saw four other Daamen guards move closer. He wouldn’t have a chance. But why was he so angry when they were making her do what he wanted?
Totally puzzled, she stared up at him.
“She won’t be harmed, Cam.”
The dark-haired trader moved one threatening step closer and Sabra felt the guards’ hands tighten in preparation to pull her back.
“Cam, what are you doing?” she demanded, heart starting to thump. This was crazy! What was going on?
Motioning the guards nearing from behind to wait, Grezel stepped in front of the angry trader. “Mayhaps you should tell me what this is about.”
“Sabra’s my lass, Grezel. No one is to touch her, do you understand?” Cam bit out angrily. “I will take her to our cabins. Now tell them to unhand her, for I won’t ask again.”
“Ah.” Now he understood. One brow arched in fleeting amusement and he moved aside. “Release the little Daamen hunter, guards.”
No sooner did they obey than Sabra found her wrist grasped and she was pulled forward and tucked into Cam’s side, one brawny arm holding her securely around her shoulders.
A brief twinkle lit Grezel’s eyes and he exchanged a wink with one of his guards. “Now are we ready?”
Bewildered by the rapid change of events and fearing any threat to Cam, Sabra allowed him to steer her from the chamber, Grezel following. The Daamen guards fell in around them, a formidable protection.
Entering the Daamen chambers, Grezel indicated a small hall with doors on either side. “The cabin at the end is empty. Make yourselves at home until we hear further news.”
With a grim nod, Cam maneuvered Sabra down the hall and into the cabin, closing the door behind him and cutting off Grezel’s chuckle of amusement. His leader’s quirky sense of humor he didn’t need right now.
“What the hell was all that about?” Sabra demanded. “I don’t understand you, Cam.”
There was no answer. Instead, he turned her to face him and held out her arms, his gaze running across her upper arms. Gently he ran his fingers around the softness.
“What are you doing?” She pulled back.
“Did they hurt you?”
“They had no right to grab you.” Jaw tight, he drew a deep, calming breath.
“No right? Grezel ordered them to, that’s why. Hell, Cam, you had no intention of letting me go, so why the big to-do about him doing the same?”
“Because only I have the right to touch you.” With a sudden movement, he wrapped a powerful arm around her waist and pulled her against his chest. “No one but me.”
The possessiveness stamped on the handsome face made her nervous... and something else. There was a ruthlessness about him that added to his dangerous appeal. His demeanor was as unyielding as the strength in the arms holding her firmly. This was the untamed side of him. His actions had been that of claiming her, openly challenging any other who dared touch what he considered his. He’d been ready to fight to the death for her.
In that instance, Sabra knew without a doubt that Cam would never let her go.
In that instance, Cam knew he would never let her go.
He watched the awareness dawn in the cobalt eyes, waited for it to fully strike home, and still he watched as her eyes widened, the soft lips parting slightly, the sudden tremble that shivered through her at the knowledge.
He held her gaze captive, slowly lowering his head until his lips hovered above that soft mouth. Then with a whispered, “You’re mine,” he took her mouth. Captured her with lips and arms, crushing her close as he plundered her mouth, demanding entrance, sweeping in to stake his claim, leaving his essence branded inside her even as he took her flavor into himself.
When he finally released her mouth, he pressed his face into the curve of her neck, lips and breath hot against her skin. “I’ll kill anyone who ever dares to hurt you. One finger laid on you, Sabra, and their lives will be forfeit.”
His passion scared her. “Cam, please--”
“Nay. You know, Sabra. The depths of my love for you are fathomless and can only get deeper.” Firm lips pressed hotly to the pulse fluttering wildly in the slim throat. “I won’t lose you again. Ever.”
The convictions in his words both alarmed and thrilled her. His protectiveness made her feel cherished. Loved as no one had ever loved her before in her life. A whirlwind of emotions tumbled through her.
“I make no excuses for whatever I need to do to keep you safe.” Lifting his head, he cupped her cheeks in calloused palms. “I’d die for you, Sabra. I love you that much.”
Tears filled her eyes. “Don’t say that, Cam. Please.”
“‘Tis the truth. I would never lie to you, Sabra. Don’t ask me to now.”
“It scares me.”
“I scare you?”
“Nay. The thought that...”
“God, Cam. Why did you have to come back into my life?” A tear slid down her cheek.
He caught it with his thumb, speaking with quiet conviction. “Because we were meant to be together.”
“But when I leave--”
“You won’t be leaving me.”
“You’d keep me prisoner?”
“Nay. Never. Where you go, I go.”
The proclamation seared through her. Go with her? “You--you can’t! ‘Tis too dangerous, too--”
“I won’t leave you.”
“You’re a trader, Cam. You’d never survive in my world.”
“I’d never survive without you.” The conviction in his voice, in his eyes, in the words, pierced her to her very soul. “I love you that much.”
“I--I don’t know what to say. I...”
His smile was one of tenderness tinged with a touch of sadness. “You don’t have to say anything, lass.”
Releasing her, he crossed the cabin to sit sideways on the window seat by the large porthole, gazing out into the infinite space, blackness pricked by starlight. Placing one booted foot on the cushion, he leaned forward, resting his arm on his bent knee.
He loved her that much. Enough to give up the trading life he enjoyed, the family he loved, his home world and friends. Enough to live dangerously with her, to live with grim-faced men with hard hearts that he could never hope to understand. Whom she knew instinctively would never befriend him, for they would never understand him in turn. How could he possibly stomach the hangings, watching her hunt and kill? It wasn’t in him. But he loved her enough to do it. He loved her that much.
Had she loved anyone enough to do that? Did she love him enough to give up her life? Her friends? To return to Daamen and live as his wife, waiting for him to return from his trading trips?
But he would return. That was the difference. In her life, she could be killed. He could be. Would be, for she knew without a doubt that he wouldn’t allow her to go on a hunt without him. Nay, he’d come, too. And be killed. Protecting her.
The thought of life without him, of his being killed made her heart ache and throat burn. Slowly she moved across the floor, stopping close behind him. “Why didn’t you say this before?”
“I didn’t know before.” He didn’t turn his head to look at her.
“Why now?”
“I didn’t know until the outlaws were actually here. Until the guards laid their hands on you.”
Silence descended once more and he continued to gaze out the porthole.
Standing behind him, Sabra felt his determination--and his sadness. The longing to comfort him swept through her and bending down, she looped her furthest arm around his shoulder while her nearest hand reached around to rub soothingly along the hard swell of muscles, bare between the open vest he wore. Resting her chin on his broad shoulder, she waited silently.
One large hand reached up to cover her smaller one, squeezing it gently before he brought it to his lips and pressed a soft kiss into her palm.
“I never meant to hurt you, Cam,” she whispered. “I would shift heaven and earth to remove it if I could.”
“You never hurt me, lass. The only way you could do so would be if...”
“If what?”
He turned his head, looking directly at her, and her breath caught at the brilliance of tears reflected unashamedly in their depths. “I love you, Sabra. Don’t leave me. Don’t ever leave me.”
The soft plea wrung her heart as nothing else could ever have done. This man who feared no one and nothing, this man full of laughter and passion, was literally brought to his knees by his love for her. Not a possessive, clinging love, but protective and wholesome, fully given with every fiber of his noble being. In that instance she knew that only she held the power to destroy him. If she turned away and left him, he would never be the same man. It was doubtful he’d even survive it. His love for her was that deep, that true. That strong.
“What did I ever do to deserve you?” she whispered brokenly.
“That should be my question but ‘tis one I don’t ask.” He kissed her so tenderly it touched her to her soul. “I just thank God every hour for you.”
The tears were still in his eyes and the need to hold him close was more than she could bear. Slipping onto the window seat behind him, she bent her furthest leg up alongside his and sitting back against the wall, gave him a gentle tug.
Cam needed no second bidding. He leaned back into her, his head resting on her shoulder, back nestled comfortably against soft breasts. Catching her hand that lay upon his chest, he threaded their fingers together.
“Am I too heavy for you, lass?”
“Nay. You’re just right.”
Resting her cheek against the glossy black curls, she closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. Immediately his unique, masculine scent filled her senses and the warmth of his body seeped into hers. Tunneling her hand into the thick curls, she massaged his scalp and smiled as he relaxed fully against her.
His heavy weight was more than welcome.
Peace stole over her. For the first time she could remember, she felt right. And it was because of the man in her arms, the man who rested trustingly against her, accepting her administrations and comfort without protest, who showed his feelings without shame. The man who would stand beside her against everyone and anything.
“I love you.”
His hand squeezed hers gently.
“I’ll never leave you.”
The man she couldn’t live without.
Tilting his head back, Cam gazed deeply into her cobalt eyes, seeing the love that softened the depths. He couldn’t speak. There was no words for what he felt. Instead, he lifted his hand to cup her cheek tenderly.
Instinctively she knew what he wanted. She wanted. They both needed. Dipping her head, she placed her lips against his.
The kiss wasn’t hard, nor urgent. Slow and tender, conveying the love they both felt but couldn’t put into words.
When she lifted her lips, she smiled back at him, then straightened to rest her cheek once more atop his head. This time she encircled both arms around him, cradling him close.
Closing his eyes, Cam gave himself up to her warm embrace as he’d given his heart into her keeping. And he knew without a doubt she’d keep his heart safe.


Soul of a Hunter is available from Wings ePress in ebook and trade paperback.


1 comment:

Cassandra Kane said...

Lovely excerpt, Angela!

It's amazing how characters surprise you as you write them. It's one of the cool things about writing. ;)