1. Book of the Month Extract - Templar Prize

    Templar Prize by Deanna Ashford

    Previous praise for Deanna Ashford: 'Each sensuous escapade jumps off the page with non-stop, titillating thrills … a satisfying, indulgent tale' Romantic Times, 4 stars (reviewing Barbarian Prize)

    If that hasn't piqued your interest, the following extract from Deanna's latest, Templar Prize, is sure to leave you hot under the collar:

    'Should we not try to comfort one another?' Berengaria plucked at the towel tangled around Edwina's hips. 'That must be most uncomfortable. Remove it and then we can go to sleep.'

    'Very well.' The remaining candle was burning low now, the wax melting swiftly. It flickered unsteadily, making it difficult for Edwina to see Berengaria's expression in the dim light. Rather awkwardly, she struggled to free herself from the towel's constrictions and tossed it by the side of the bed.

    'Come. Lie down now and relax,' Berengaria said softly, but Edwina detected an underlying tension in her words. She understood why, she also felt the tension and her heart was still beating out of control as she snuggled down on the pillows with Berengaria next to her.

    Rolling onto her side to face Edwina, the princess added, 'Before we sleep you can tell me what happens next, after the kisses. Which I would like to practise again when you will permit me.'

    'Again?' Edwina repeated, conscious that her entire body felt weak now as if her limbs were melting like the candle wax. Cautiously, she laid her hands on Berengaria's full bosom.

    'Well, apart from kissing you, he will no doubt touch you here. Men appear to like breasts,' she said, feeling as though her whole body were on tenterhooks. The princess's breasts were fascinating to touch, so soft and malleable in contrast to her own which were small and firm.

    Edwina was so enthralled that she barely heard Berengaria's indrawn hiss of breath as she caressed the soft globes. 'That feels so good,' Berengaria gasped, trembling as Edwina's fingers, almost of their own volition, suddenly moved to her nipples.

    The princess's teats were larger than she had expected and already stiffly erect. Recalling how Stephen had pleasured her, Edwina rolled the nipples between her fingers and thumbs, pulling at them gently until Berengaria whimpered with delight.

    'They lied to me, they told me that women did not enjoy this,' she said hesitantly. 'Edwina, there is a strange unfamiliar ache between my thighs.'

    'Desire makes you feel like that,' Edwina told her, still continuing to caress her because in truth she did not want to stop. She was unable to comprehend the strange conundrum. She loved such intimacies with Stephen, but had loathed them with Hugh. She had always believed that she only enjoyed them because she loved the man who gave her so much pleasure. Yet that was not the case here; she was enjoying fondling a woman.

    For a moment Edwina did pause to wonder if this might be considered sinful, but even in Hugh's disreputable household she had never heard such matters ever mentioned.

    He had always been crude in his conversations and disgustingly frank at times and she had often heard him speak with derision about men who performed sinful sexual acts on one another, but he had never in such conversations mentioned women.

    It appeared that the Church did not even acknowledge such a likelihood, let alone speak of it, so it was logical to presume that this was not wrong.

    Tossing all concerns aside, Edwina gave herself up to the wild temptations, telling herself that she was just helping Berengaria. She was teaching her about the intimacies she would be expected to share with her husband. Now, she would not go to the marriage bed without the necessary knowledge about matters of the flesh.

    'What happens next?' Berengaria prompted breathlessly.

    'Perhaps this.' Edwina couldn't resist kissing one of the temptingly stiff pink nipples. She pulled it between her lips and gradually drew it deeper into her mouth.

    The pulsing heat between Edwina's thighs increased as she sucked hard on the sweet little nipple until it began to turn scarlet. All the while she continued to pull and tweak the other teat until the princess's entire body was trembling with desire.

    It seemed prudent now to let the lesson continue and show Berengaria the full measure of what happened between a man and a woman. Rather cautiously, Edwina's hand slid lower, over the quivering belly, aiming for the core of Berengaria's womanhood. She slid her hand between the plump thighs and brushed her fingers against the crisp pubic curls.

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