February 27, 2015

Book Blitz ~ Gavril of Aquina by Aurrora St. James

A magical kingdom suffering under a vicious ruler desperately needs the king who vanished seven years ago.

A kingdom in need of its king...
For years, the people of Aquina have been crushed under the hand of King Lorcan. Gone are the times of peace and prosperity they appreciated under deposed king Varic Khalon, who vanished the night Lorcan took power. Most believe him dead. Only one man knows the truth.

A man in need of redemption...
Stripped of his magic and imprisoned, Varic never thought to see his kingdom again. But a twist of dark fate secures his freedom and he returns to the city he loves. Now calling himself Gavril, he finds himself with no home, no magic, no subjects, and no hope of reclaiming the throne, forced to survive any way he can. Until a chance encounter brings him face to face with the one person who may tip the scales in his favor.

A woman who will unite the two...
Shyla de Aven has a single magical gift. She can sense magic in others. Not a very useful talent in a city where everyone has magical abilities. When a wounded stranger literally stumbles into her, he presents her with a mystery she feels compelled to solve. He claims to have no magic, yet she senses it locked far away. Determined to find the answer, Shyla helps Gavril. Only to discover they are far more connected than she realizes. And if the people of Aquina want their king returned, she will have to discover the key to unlocking his true power, all without losing her heart in the process.

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Gavril squatted before her, noting that she had removed the spit from the fire and eaten. She left the hare by the coals to warm and plenty remained, yet he couldn’t muster an appetite. His breath rushed out in a white cloud as he skimmed a finger lightly down her cheek and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. She shivered again beneath his touch. It was colder here on the mountain than their solitary blanket could warm.
He swore.
He shouldn’t. He really shouldn’t.
When he was king, he might not have worried about her comfort. Parties, banquets, women, and liquor claimed him then. He’d been too wild to worry about comfort other than his own. But the man he’d become cared. Without another thought, he tugged off his boots, lifted the blanket, and slid in behind her. He shifted his big body against her and pulled her close.
He told himself he would stay just long enough to warm her up. Then he would move back to the other side of the fire and keep watch through the night.
He told himself she was better off being a little bit cold than being held by a man like him.
He told himself he was a fool.
No woman had ever felt so good in his arms.
Gavril slowly stroked her arm as he thought back over her story. She had suffered. But if she hadn’t come to Aquina, they never would have met. And that he couldn’t think about. If he were honest with himself, he wasn’t ready to part from Shyla. Otherwise, he would have walked away, regardless of the danger to himself.
Shyla shifted, pressing her sweet bottom against his hips, as she settled into his embrace. Gavril thought he might die as his body immediately reacted. Blood shot to his groin, making him hard in seconds. It took all of his control not to roll her onto her back and kiss her right then, starting something he shouldn’t—something he couldn’t—finish. Only his sheer will not to cause her more pain held him back.
With a ragged breath, he pulled the blanket about their shoulders, wrapped her in his embrace, and shared his warmth.
She sighed, her body relaxing against his as she absorbed his heat. Her hand settled over his, wrapped around her waist.
Gavril closed his eyes. In the two years since his return to Aquina, he hadn’t dared to dream of a future. He’d kept his thoughts firmly on surviving. On scratching out a living as best as a deposed king was able.
With Shyla, all that changed. Having her in his arms was like heaven itself. He felt like a man. Not a street urchin or a king. Just a simple man with a beautiful woman who stirred his body, mind, and if what she said was true, his magic. He felt lust rising sharp and hot, and, for the first time in years, a desire for... more.
He dreamed of lying before a hearth with her, snuggled as they were under a blanket, their bodies perspiring from an intense round of lovemaking. He dreamed of waking with her in his arms as the sun came through the shutters. He dreamed of growing old with Shyla in his embrace.
And he wanted that life like he’d never wanted anything before.
Gavril rubbed his thumb against her soft hand, savoring that small touch. He craved it like a dying man. In a sense, he was. He was dying of loneliness. Shyla’s simple kindness of taking him in eased that need inside him. Though he knew it was wrong, he soaked up every touch, every smile she offered.
As if she knew his need even in her sleep, Shyla wound her fingers with his and lightly squeezed.
He breathed deep, smelling the cinnamon scent of her hair, and allowed himself to relax. Heat from her body seeped into his skin.            With Shyla tight against him, wrapped in his arms, Gavril slept.


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