I have another teaser from the Teplo Files for you. I've sent the first book of the trilogy, Ravished, off to the beta team to see what they think about where I decided to end it. While they work their magic, I've been editing through the second book (tentatively titled Rhapsody). This particular teaser comes from there and is probably NSFW. Unless your boss doesn't mind you reading naughtiness... in which case I'd like to be your new coworker, please. ;)
Lillian stopped mid-stretch when she caught sight of Tristan, her cheeks turning that dusty rose color he loved.
"Hey," she mumbled, averting her gaze.
"Liar." He frowned, stepping into the room. No way did she get to go back to half-truths and evasions now.
She huffed, lifting her head. "It's nothing. I just didn't realize you were there."
"So?" he asked, not seeing her point.
"It's weird." She grimaced, her hands fluttering at her sides.
Tristan pursed his lips.
Lillian avoided his gaze, instead smoothing an invisible wrinkle in her leotard. The blush in her cheeks deepened.
Why was she embarrassed?
"Talk to me, beautiful."
She hesitated a moment. "Once a month, Madame Goffe would open our practices to the kids studying at the school associated with the Company. Those who performed well during the week would line up along the walls and watch us warm up, imaging themselves in our positions." She frowned, a soft sigh stirring the fine hairs framing her face. "No one except my therapist has watched me stretch since."
"I love watching you move," he murmured.
"I'm not very graceful," she said, her gaze flitting down to rest on her scar and then away. "Not anymore."
He hated the sad, shamed smile twisting at her lips.
Striding across the room to her, he held his hand out. "Come here," he requested.
She bit her lip, debating, and then reached for his hand.
Getting her up from the floor took no effort at all.
Once she had her feet beneath her, he turned her until her back rested against her chest.
She stood tense and rigid against him, but that didn't matter. Fingers of heat still wound their way through him.
"I like having you in my arms," he leaned in to whisper in her ear.
She tilted her head to the side, granting him access to the side of her neck.
"What's this song?" he asked when she relaxed a little, letting him support her weight.
"It's from Giselle. Do you know the story?"
"No." He brushed his lips across her ear, causing her to shiver. "Tell me."
"It's a romantic ballet about jealousy, deception, forgiveness, and transcendent love," she said as he slid his hands from her waist onto her rib cage. "Giselle is the most beautiful woman in her village, which causes Duke Albrecht and Hilarion, the gamekeeper, to fall in love with her. But the Duke is betrothed to a princess and knows he can never truly have Giselle. In an act of sheer desperation, he disguises himself as a peasant to get close to her. His plan works, and Giselle falls deeply in love with him. Whenever he pays her call, they dance together. Their love is so apparent; the village youth join in their dances, filling the village with joy.
"When Hilarion sees this dance, he realizes he's lost Giselle to Albrecht. His jealousy spirals out of control and he vows to find out what the Duke is hiding so he can tear them apart, thus allowing him to win her affections for himself."
Tristan listened with half an ear to her explanation, focusing instead on the way her body moved beneath his hands. When he shifted, so did she, her body adjusting to him without conscious thought. Whether the subtle movements were some left over ballerina instinct or a natural response to him didn't matter. He loved them either way.
Her heart hammered against his fingertips.
"And then what happens?" He pulled her earlobe into his mouth and nipped, a little demand that she let go of her anxiety and relax. Inching his way across her ribs, he rubbed tantalizing circles beneath her breasts, teasing both of them in the process.
Lillian groaned, attempting to arch into his touch. "Hilarion eventually unmasks the Duke," she said when Tristan refused to obey that unspoken plea and kept his hands right where they were, "but Giselle has fallen so madly in love with him that Hilarion's plan to win her backfires. When she realizes she and the Duke can never truly be together, she goes mad. The dance she once shared with him becomes something else, something darker.
"Albrecht watches her, heartbroken that his deception has caused her such immense pain. He pleads for her forgiveness, but it's too late. She grabs his sword and stabs herself with it, unable to bear the heartbreak and humiliation he's thrust upon her. She dies in her mother's arms, leaving the Duke utterly destroyed."
In reward for continuing, Tristan let his fingertips graze the undersides of her breasts through the thin, form-fitting fabric.
Almost instantly, her breath began to hitch.
Hiding a smirk, Tristan planted his lips against her throat, licking and sucking.
"And then what, beautiful?" he whispered against her skin, once more completely captivated by her. Her scent, her taste, the way she moved, and the breathless moans whispering from her lips layered one atop the other, stoking to life that brilliant burn for more… The one he felt every single time he touched her.
"They… Ah…." she groaned as he sucked at her throat, pulling her skin between his teeth momentarily before letting go.
"Tell me," he said, moving on to the fading marks he'd left upon her two nights before. The faint spots were all but gone now, and the desire to replace them gnawed at him. Something deep inside him liked the thought of leaving his mark on her, right there where everyone would see it and know she belonged with him.
At the moment, he didn't really care what that primal desire said about him.
"They bury Giselle in a glade haunted by the Wilis, spirits of wronged virgins who lure men to their deaths," Lillian said. "She becomes one of them. When Hilarion goes looking for her grave one night in grief over what he's caused, the Wilis force him to dance until he dies. This… Oh God…" she moaned when Tristan let his fingers climb higher, no longer teasing the undersides of her breasts, but cupping them fully in his hands.
"This what, beautiful?" His question came out sounding as strained as her whisper, his teasing killing them both, but damned if that would stop him. Now that he'd been all over her, on top of her, inside of her… he wasn't sure he could stop touching her.
She didn't seem to mind his predicament.
"Music-" she broke off as he traced her nipples with a single fingertip on each, making light circles around the hardened flesh poking through the thin fabric.
"What about it?"
"It's from that scene. It's his final – Oh, sweet Jesus – dance. His death."
Tristan rewarded her once more by rolling her nipples between his fingers.
Her head fell back against his shoulder.
"Giselle doesn't save him?" he asked, barely about to force the words out. He was hard as a rock, and dying to bend her over the little table and plunge his cock into her until she shattered around him.
Trying to remind himself that she needed a break didn't help much.
"No." Lillian moaned again when he sucked the pulse point in her throat, biting and then soothing it with his tongue exactly like he had so many times before.
"Keep going, Lillian," he murmured, kissing a trail across her shoulder.
"She doesn't save him. Her ghost is with the Duke when Hilarion enters the glade, so she doesn't even know he's there. No one knows if she would have saved him had she been able to do so. His jealousy was the catalyst for her greatest pain, and the Duke's greatest loss. But she saves the Duke despite his deception, because her love for him transcended even death and her new position as a Wilis. She never got that- Oh God, Tristan. Please…."
Tristan smiled, triumphant, when her concentration shattered, her body going limp against him just as he'd wanted. She arched into his eager hands, pressing her ass into his cock.
"Close your eyes, beautiful," he whispered and set to work on her leotard, peeling it down her arms until her breasts spilled free of the restricting material.
Her eyes fluttered closed as the music reached a fevered pitch around them, swelling and receding as, presumably, Hilarion's forced dance swept him closer and closer to death.
Tristan pulled Lillian back against him and shifted until his hips cradled hers on either side.
He snaked one hand around her waist to guide her as the other rose to tease at her breasts again. Her head rolled against his shoulder, a moan breaking from her lips, as he began to rock her body side to side with his own in a dance as shattering as Hilarion's, but for an entirely different reason.
Death awaited that jealous fool.
Ecstasy awaited Lillian.
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I shared this on Facebook last night, but wanted to share it here, too. This is Hilarion's dace from Giselle (performed by Kazuo Kimura and the Tokyo Ballet) referenced in this scene. It's one of my favorite performances. If you ever get the opportunity to attend a performance of Giselle, go!