The Healer’s Garden was my debut novel. First contract. First book cover. First release. First time I fell in love with a hero I created. Brenimyn makes me sigh. He was the subject of my fantasies years before I decided to write. That’s why he’s so special… just don’t tell my other heroes! 😉 Here’s an excerpt from one of the first times he meets our very confuse heroine, Jahara …
She slammed into the bathroom behind him. He hadn’t seen this much fight in a woman in a long time. He tried to rein in the hope blossoming in his chest. Calmly he shut the door and turned the faucets on at the sink and tub.
“Now, there may not be cameras in here, but the audio amplifiers in the other room are very sensitive,” he said. “The water will help drown out our voices, but I suggest you keep that raging storm of yours to a dull rumble.” He settled himself on the edge of the tub, crossing his arms and feet.
She wrung her hands and sputtered under her breath. The picture she created made him laugh. The rolling sound echoed off the tiles.
She stopped moving and stared at him. “What on earth could be so funny? I don’t think any of this is humorous.”
“You, Jahara. Just you.”
“What about me?”
“You’re fluttering around as if you’ve got bugs crawling on your skin and I find your nervousness over your first mating … cute.” Concern softened his voice even as his eyes searched and penetrated. “You’ve never been with a man have you?”
“I don’t believe that’s any of your business.”
“Oh, but it is my business.” He dropped his hands to the edge of the tub, hoping the relaxed posture would ease the tension sluicing off her in waves. “I’m the primary breeder responsible for training, and leader of the male breeding stock. When one of the partners for the first mating isn’t available, I take their place. It’s part of my responsibilities.” Of course Ishawny’s partner wouldn’t be home puking his guts out if Brenimyn hadn’t laced the man’s food with the vile medicine he’d stolen from his friend’s bag of herbs.
But Brenimyn had needed to meet this woman. He needed to know if the connection he’d felt arc between them yesterday had been real or a figment of his overzealous imagination. He’d put his plan in action the moment he’d found out she’d requested a breeding guide.
“But you’re Kylie’s mate. Even I know I can’t usurp another woman’s claim on a breeder,” she said, her doe eyes full of confusion and fear. “Why have you come to me?”
Now that was a loaded question. One he couldn’t answer without scaring her. She wasn’t ready for complete honesty. “I’m responsible for making sure the first copulation is pleasant.”
She turned from him, her voice barely above a whisper. “Perhaps we don’t need to do this tonight? You see, I’m already committed to another.” Jahara waved her ring finger in the air. “I didn’t choose to come here.”
“Jahara, few choose the Garden.” Least of all the breeders forced into slavery, he wanted to add, but knew it wasn’t prudent. “You realize you can’t put off the inevitable. Tonight, tomorrow, next week, eventually you will be expected to mate in front of the cameras.” Brenimyn wanted nothing more than to take this frightened woman into his arms and show her the strength of a man. But she wasn’t ready for what he wanted to give her.
He couldn’t resist reaching out to her with his thoughts.
Her hand fluttered to her cheek. “I…” She turned and fear flashed across her brow.
“Jahara, being with a man isn’t so horrible.” He rose and walked to her, his hand stroking the spot his mind had touched. “Don’t you feel the chemistry between us?” A frisson of awareness sparked from her cheek up his arm. His suspicions were confirmed. Jahara was the one who’d been sent to fulfill his destiny.