Ahead of the release date on Monday, I thought I'd share a little sneak preview of Pure Folly.
In this scene, Jude and Alastair have just stumbled upon a book of erotic artwork.
Jude set the lantern upon the desk and blew the dust from a leather-bound tome. The spine cracked as he opened it, but the pages within remained sound save for some minor discolouration due to age. “It appears to be a journal. An artist’s journal.” He flicked through the pages. “It’s all men. Every last page. Best not look too closely.”
“I’m not afraid of a few drawings.” Alastair gave a snort. No, he was simply desperate to see them. Aware of the heat in his cheeks, he bowed low over the desk, until he realised it must appear to Jude that he was studying the obscene drawings.
In a sense he was. The hard masculine beauty portrayed upon the pages called to him, stoked a specific need he’d tried so hard to deny. He wanted to look. Jude had skimmed only the first few vellum leaves. Alastair longed to hug the book to his chest then make a long, slow journey through the pages, taking his time to pour over the details of abdomens and chests, cocks both aroused and flaccid, details of expressions, and of large hands, and naked toes.
Jude held the book open, stopping on a depiction of two men. The first lay hunched over a table, his naked bottom raised high so that the musculature showed. His breeches hung crumpled around the top of his spurred boots. A sword lay discarded upon the floor as he held his buttocks apart so that the second man could direct his rampant staff betwixt them.
Alastair dug his teeth into the tip of his tongue and kept his mouth firmly closed. There was no hint of fear in the expressions of the men, no awareness of their perversity, only love—which made it truly captivating.
“Disgusting or fascinating?” Jude asked. His hazel-green eyes shone as he met Alastair’s gaze.
“We ought to destroy it!” Fear made Alastair blurt. As if he truly wanted to see the pages curl and shrivel into ash. He wanted this book as a primer. Wanted the time to soak up every lovingly rendered image, to study them, and vicariously enjoy their passion as he tossed himself while gazing upon them.
Jude’s raucous laughter pulled him firmly into the present. “Destroy it? What for? Lord Romilly is long dead, and nobody save us even knows it exists. If you don’t care for it, leave it buried here. Or are you too afraid of the potential for corruption? Do the images tempt you, Alastair?”
“No,” he barked, seeking refuge away from the book. But there was no escaping the images, short of smashing every piece of pottery and whitewashing the walls. “Of course, you’re right, we’ll just leave it here and not mention it. The family needn’t be troubled by it. There’s no sense in creating a scandal.”
“No, no sense in causing an upset,” Jude echoed.
Alastair turned away from the desk. He had to leave this room, as much as he wanted what was within it. He’d return sometime—alone. Hell if he hadn’t just discovered a reason to visit this godforsaken tomb. He’d have to take care not to raise eyebrows over that.
Uncomfortable, he shuffled further from the desk. His loins were thrumming with need again, no doubt in the same way other men reacted to lewd depictions of women. However, alongside the arousal lay a bitter ache.
He didn’t want to live his life mooning over pictures. He wanted Jude, flesh and blood, with plenty of sweaty physical contact. If there’d ever been a time to broach the subject, this was it. But while his friend seemed accepting, the risk of revulsion was still too great.
“I’m going to sleep,” he mumbled. Running away seemed the safest action.
Copyright 2009 Madelynne Ellis.
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