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Celtic Love Knots Volume 2 [MultiFormat]
eBook by Tina Bendoni & Michelle Hasker

eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance
eBook Description: Two women: different lives, same experiences. Can each face her past to learn if there will ever be a future with the man that left her so long ago? Sheila and Briana don't know each other. But each of them met a man and fell in love after one night of unforgettable passion. Both of them were deserted cruelly the next day, never to hear from their loves again. This year they have both been invited to a special Beltane celebration. One where a friend is to marry a man that was brought to her thanks to a love potion. Can the magic of that union rub off on these two women? Can Beltane bring about a pair of unions meant to be?

eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, Published: 2007
Fictionwise Release Date: June 2007


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DARK GOD OF BELTANE
by
Tina Bendoni

"No, I told you that I needed another handmaiden, and you are it."

Briana Ritz tried to resist the woman dressed in green from dragging her into the large tent, but she had no luck.

"Handmaidens are younger than me, Betsy."

Betsy sighed in exasperation. "Okay, Bree, let's try this again. We are in the twenty-first century. Women are getting married and having kids older and older. A young teen isn't appropriate for our version of the May Queen, and as I'm older than the traditional Queens, you can be, too. Now shut up and put on the wreath." She finished with a grin as she shoved the flowers on her friend's head.

Bree laughed as she accepted the customary handmaiden crown. She knew the traditions as well as her friend, after all, she'd been pagan all her adult life. This year however, she had hoped to get out of this part of the holiday. She hadn't been back to this particular festival in nine years. The honor was usually reserved for regulars at the festival. It was just her luck that one of her coven mates was the May Queen this year.

After arranging the crown on her head and helping the other "maidens" finish getting ready, Bree and the others lined up for the procession that would begin their Beltane celebration.

* * * *

"Let the games begin!"

Bree watched as men from the festival clamored to be included in the competitions for the hand of the May Queen. They all knew it was fixed and that Betsy's boyfriend would win, but they all enjoyed the spirit of the competition and the chance to show off their prowess to the unattached females of the group.

It was a nice chance to look at the available men gathered for the festival. There were definitely some prime specimens this year, too. Too bad she wasn't the type to take advantage and pick one of them up. She'd done that before, and it had broken her heart. Never again.

Just that thought was enough to send her mind back to the man she had met at her first Beltane. She had been scared and alone, unsure of what to do. He had seemed the answer to her prayers.

"So why are you sitting here all alone?" The deep voice coming out of the darkness had startled her enough that she almost fell off the rock she was sitting on. If his large hands hadn't grabbed her from behind, she would have fallen in an ungraceful heap.

The electricity from that simple touch shocked her. It wasn't something she'd ever experienced before. Heat radiated from his hands to her waist, all the way down to her crotch, warming her deep inside.

Is this what the energy of Beltane did? Made her hot for a dark stranger from the woods? She knew the traditions of Beltane. Knew that for some, it was little more than an excuse to get lucky. Many claimed the energy of the holiday was what drove them to it. Good Lord, if she reacted this strongly to a man she hadn't even seen yet, she was doomed for the rest of the long weekend.

Casual sex wasn't what she came here for. She'd decided to finally break out of her mold as a solitary witch and attend a festival to celebrate the holiday. That didn't include sex. That was until she looked back at the man who still had her by the waist. She gasped.

Short black hair glistened in the light of the moon, throwing most of his face in shadow. He was tall, maybe six foot four, and well built. He would have had no problem catching and holding her if she had fallen. The outline of a long nose and strong chin blended with the shadow around his mouth and hinted his lips were full and lush. Moisture pooled between her thighs in instant lust. Damn. She really was in trouble.

His chest seemed to go on forever, broad and firm, the torso tapering down to a slim waist. Unlike most of the participants she had seen, he was wearing a T-shirt and tight jeans. Very tight jeans that left her in no doubt as to what was underneath.

Flushing, she quickly glanced up from looking at his body only to catch his eyes. She couldn't see their color, but they glittered with some sort of emotion she couldn't identify.

"Not interested in joining the rest of the group?" He gestured to the group surrounding one of the campfires in the distance.

His question drew her back to the present, and away from her lust-filled fantasies.

"Um, well..." Tongue-tied, Briana wasn't sure how to answer him.

"First time?" He sat down beside her on the large rock.

"Yeah." Oh Goddess, it was bad enough with him standing. Now that he was sitting beside her, she didn't know if she could keep from throwing herself at him.

"For any festival, or Beltane?"

"Any."

"Ahh, finding it a bit overwhelming?"

"Well, um, kind of."

"Yeah, I can see that. All festivals are different, and a Beltane here might be totally different from one across the country or even the state. Some are very family oriented, others are adults only. This one is definitely not for the faint of heart."

"Um, does that mean that I'm expected to, um..." Briana was unsure how to ask the question. So far, no one had made any moves on her, and she had felt confident about her reaction, but now she suddenly felt unsure.

"Oh, hell, no. And if anyone tells you otherwise, you find someone, and I can promise you the offending party will be kicked out immediately. All you have to do is say no, and if he doesn't listen, yell. I promise you, there will be more people there than you can count in a matter of seconds."

"Does that happen often?"

"No, not really." He shook his head as he adjusted himself on the rock. "Once someone screws up like that, they're banned for life. And I have only seen it happen once in eight years. The crew running this festival makes no secret of what they will and will not allow. I know it's worse at some other places, and the fact we're a dry festival, no alcohol, probably cuts down on some of the potential problems."

Briana's muscles relaxed, and she hadn't even realized she was tense. But that made things worse. Now that she was somewhat more at ease, she was more aware of him. Of his touch where his shoulder brushed against hers, his breath against her neck, and his glorious scent. He smelled of campfire and earth. Not surprising, given where they were, but he made the smell his own.


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