excited to be featuring the fantasy tale Forbidden by Katrina Snow on the blog today with an excerpt and giveaway. I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Forbidden and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! Forbidden is a sensational fantasy read with a fantastic romance!
“You can’t mean to fight her,” Wolfe said in his odd accent.
Bregovi motioned for the weapon.
Wolfe tossed him another rapier, which Bregovi caught by the handle with ease.
“I hope the hellcat takes you,” Wolfe said.
“Traitor,” Bregovi replied as he rested the thin blade on his shoulder. “May I propose jousting rules?”
“Which would be what exactly?” she asked.
“The first to pin the other with blade or strength wins the bout and their boon,” he said.
“I and my party get passage?”
“I get that kiss.”
Kate positioned her body with open ground behind her to ensure he didn’t have the initial advantage of forcing her into brush or trees. And through a gap in the forest, she caught a glimpse of Florian’s castle gleaming in the distant sunshine, sprouting turrets like giant trees reaching for the heavens. Truly a stone’s throw away.
“Magnificent. I would ask you to clasp hands on it, but I doubt you’d oblige. I suppose I will have to rely on your honor. Can I trust in that?” he said with a wink.
Her honor? Infuriating man. She sprang forward, her blade meeting his with a quick tap. He blocked each strike as she forced him backward toward a cluster of trees.
“Impressive,” he said, then, in the space of a blink, spun to her right.
She turned to keep him in her sights, but the man was light of foot and had her twirling in circles before she knew what he’d been up to. After freezing her steps to halt the dizziness, she felt the firm smack of his blade on her bottom.
“Is this how you fight all your opponents?” she asked, trying to locate him again as he stepped behind her at each turn.
“Only the beautiful ones,” a warm voice said in her ear.
Spinning the moment he spoke, she latched onto his tunic with her free hand. As mischief danced in his eyes, a long-forgotten memory bubbled to the surface. A childhood game of blind man’s bluff with her father. He’d always been full of mirth and had teased her much the same way.
“Perhaps you’d be better employed as the court jester,” she said.
“You may be right. I’ll inquire about the position the next time I see the king.”
As if he’d ever met the king. Stepping back, she brought her weapon around once again. He blocked blow after blow as she forced him toward a huge elm.
“I will disarm you,” she uttered through gritted teeth.
“Dear lady, you disarmed me long ago.” He said it with such affection, such warmth, it caught her off-guard, and her blade lowered a fraction.
At that precise moment, he twisted his weapon with hers, swiftly whirled her around and pinned her against the tree. They were both out of breath, bodies pressed against one another, their rapiers pinned between them, the back of his fingers resting against her right breast.
Hoping he hadn’t noticed the intimate placement of his hand, she struggled to break free.
His hold was solid.
Her mind raced. If she could use her powers, she’d draw a knife in an instant, or pull down a tree, or command a rock to—
“You smell like lavender,” he whispered, his eyes inches from hers.
“You smell like—” She took a whiff, expecting something repugnant. Instead, spices and mint filled her senses. She could almost taste cinnamon, and her mouth started to water.
“I smell like what?” he asked, his eyes teasing.
Kate was not about to tell him he smelled delicious. “I didn’t know bandits bathed.”
“We are not all as you would expect.” He winked and devilish dimples popped on both stubbled cheeks. “I believe I have won the point, fair lady. Do you concede?”
The idea of kissing him was becoming far less disagreeable, but she refused to give in. She struggled again to no avail.
Easing up, she said, “It appears I underestimated you.”
She smiled back.
He relaxed his grip. Exactly what she had counted on. Mustering up her strength and a knee, she shoved him off. As he struggled to regain his balance, she rushed forward, caught his blade with hers and executed a move to free it from his grasp.
In expert fashion, he recovered and countered with a twist of metal and will. Her weapon flew through the air, leaving her without blade, breath or speech.
Kate looked around at the men, the sword, Bregovi.
“Considering another play, fair one?” he asked.
“You agreed. Safe passage.” She could not be considering this.
He bowed in acknowledgment and threw the borrowed blade back to Wolfe.
“The bargain stands.”
“Yes, well, we’ve already discussed my view of your bargain.”
“A misguided view, indeed,” he said, his voice dropping to a whisper. “For I promise to do all in my power to ensure you are satisfied with the exchange.”
Satisfied. The word hung in the air. Taunting her. She wondered just what ensuring her satisfaction would entail and grew dizzy—either from fear or excitement, possibly both.
Whichever the case, she had little choice and once again uttered, “Very well, collect your kiss.”
He smiled lazily, started forward and halted. Reaching down, he slid a dagger from his boot and tossed it away. The men laughed and she couldn’t help but join in.
“At least you learn from your mistakes,” she said.
“Always.” He stepped closer.
Her knees wobbled.
He moved nearer still.
Kate drew in a breath and something fluttered in her stomach.
Guards and bandits cheered.
Bregovi smiled at their audience, then turned full attention back to her, a grin playing at his lips.
His eyes were full of magik and spells and mystery. Emerald pools flecked with gold. He held her gaze. Intimate. Intense. Hovering just a step away.
Waiting, while his lips and eyes beckoned.
Waiting, while a hint of spice teased her nose.
Just waiting until the suspense mounted to an unbearable degree. Unable to withstand the infernal tension another moment, she rushed forward to get the blasted kiss over with.
Unfortunately, she misjudged the distance.
Her lips crashed into his with such force she knocked him backward. But instead of toppling over—as she would have done under a similar attack—he grabbed her arms and softened his mouth over hers.
Katrina Snow writes renaissance-era fantasy romance, but also has YA and contemporary characters in her head lobbying for stories of their own. She’s a fervent traveler, avid photographer, and dark chocolate fanatic, and enjoys those pursuits when she isn’t writing or earning her keep at her busy day job. Katrina lives in New York City with a neurotic tabby and eight million other people who might also be deemed neurotic.
I have no hesitations in saying that Forbidden has been one of my favorite reads on 2016! I love everything about this story and cannot recommend it enough. Be sure to pick yourself up a copy--you won't be sorry!