Thank you for having us here today. I am the Mrs. half of Adonis Devereux, and I am happy to be here. One of the most important parts of writing, I have found, is naming the characters. It seems like it should be relatively minor. After all, even if you choose the wrong name, you can always change it later, right?
Wrong, at least for me. When my darling Mr. Devereux and I begin planning out a new story, one of the most important parts is naming the hero and the heroine. In fact, we are in the early stages of planning a new story, and so far the hero and heroine are called “hero” and “heroine”. We have to get the names right, or else the story will have problems. And we can't change the names. Once we have named the characters it is too late to change the name. Fortunately, for Chasing Earth and Flame the heroine's first name, Nevia, came without any difficulty, and the rest of her name was already determined by her clan and house. The Nirrion names are easier than most, though, because the firstborn son and daughter are both named for the father. The Ausir, on the other hand, don't have that convention, so the heroine for Bride for the God-King had to have a name without reference to her family. One thing that does make it easier for us, too, though, is the practice in naming that we have had. We have six daughters, and they have three names apiece, aside from their baptismal names and their surname. We are fairly old hands at this naming thing now.
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Nevia Akara Judal is the daughter of the First House of Nirrion, but though she is both a powerful elemental mage and a cunning political mind, she is her father's property. She is promised to Melenius, the only other noble elementalist in the city, but she is not certain she approves of her father's choice. She has a stronger will than anyone has ever given her credit for, and she is determined to find and keep the love of the only man who can conquer her heart of earth and flame.
Melenius caught Nevia by the arm and pulled her into a curtained alcove.
“We will be seen,” Nevia whispered.
Melenius shook his head. Cena was due to begin in a few minutes, so he had to work quickly.
“This won’t take long.” He produced the anal plug he had shown her on their honeymoon.
It was Nevia’s turn to shake her head.
“Yes,” Melenius said. He pulled out a vial of scented oil from his small shoulder bag. Nevia’s frosty eyes widened, and he smiled in his airs at her coyness. He poured the oil over the plug, then rubbed it around the head and down its length. “Turn around.”
Nevia did so, but she kept her eyes on her husband. Melenius had never seen anything sexier than his beautiful wife looking over her shoulder with fear and anticipation trembling in her elements as he hitched up her dress. Her fine, white ass was just what he wanted, and his cock hardened. He considered taking her right there, but the sound of music coming from the atrium made him think better of it. The entertainment had arrived. Dinner was imminent, and they would be missed if they were not punctual.
Melenius dabbed a bit of oil on the rosebud of Nevia’s anus and rubbed it around with his thumb. Nevia moaned.
“Quiet!” Melenius’s tone was half serious, half mirthful.
He pressed the tip of the lubricated plug against her ass and slowly applied pressure. He did not at once break her wall, and he was surprised at her body’s unwillingness to allow entry. With a stronger but still gentle push, he felt the pop as the plug slipped into her back passage.
Nevia’s knees buckled, but she did not collapse. The temperature in the alcove plummeted, and though Melenius knew her fires were stoked, she fixed him with an icy glare.
Nevia stood and let her skirts fall back into place. “You dare toy with the ass of an Akara?” She raised her hand to slap Melenius, but he caught her by the wrist.
Melenius lightly bit that wrist as he tweaked her nipple with his other hand. “Now, go be a good girl, and eat your supper.” He opened the curtain and slapped her ass on the way out.
Nevia continued to murder him with her eyes, but her elements betrayed her increasing desire. He sensed her laughter on his winds.
Cena was an elaborate affair, much more so than Melenius would have expected for just a one-night stay in a provincial town. As exotic, half-naked slaves from far-away lands juggled fire sticks before them all, Melenius turned to Judal the Younger.
“I wonder, why all this?” he asked. He popped a fresh, green olive in his mouth.
Nevius, reclined on one elbow, sipped his mulled wine and answered without taking his eyes from the entertainment. “We are returning from a great victory. Though Belamal presses forward, there will be glory for us upon our return to Nirrion. Why not celebrate a little? This is my father’s villa, after all.”
“Enjoy yourself, Firin,” Nevius said. “You and my sister are saviors of the republic.” Nevia’s couch was situated close to his so that their heads would be near each other for conversation. He leaned over and kissed her brow.
Melenius, on the other side of the low table laden with rich food, watched this sibling exchange, knowing that her ass was plugged, that her cunt was probably wet as spring rains.
Nevia betrayed nothing; she could not to her brother, anyway, but neither did her elements. She was cool, collected, and calm. Melenius nodded in her direction, raised his cup in a silent toast to her, and drank its contents. A slave refilled his cup at once. Nevia, playing at human expressions, narrowed her eyes at him. Melenius almost choked on his next drink.
Radish salads and oysters gave way to hot-boiled goose and songbirds with asparagus. Between the appetizers and the main course, clowns had come to re-enact the battle of Vieta. The actor who pantomimed Belamal wore comical armor, and his gold-painted face twisted in all manner of melodramatic expressions.
Nevius ripped hot, juicy meat from the bone with his teeth. “Belamal Triumphant, to be sure.” His mouth was half-full of goose. “Too bad Garalach isn’t here. He could’ve made your job in Vieta easier.”
Melenius felt the instant drop in temperature, and the braziers that burned around them dimmed.
“More wood.” Nevius snapped his fingers at the nearest slave.
Nevia did not look at Melenius. Her eyes were fixed on the small plate she held on her lap. The name of Garalach clearly upset her, and Melenius wanted to go to her, to hold her and remind her of how he had been deceived. He had never stopped loving or wanting Nevia. It had not been his intention to betray her.
But Nevia would not return his glance.
The sun disappeared from the sky, and a cold wind blew through the peristyle and into the atrium.
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