Dominus: God of Yule
Sons of Herne, Book 1
Ebook ISBN: B017MGIV3M
[ Urban Fantasy Romance, MF ]
Months of visiting Lorayna in secret has sparked a yearning inside a god that he cannot shake. His intentions are strictly hands-off, but when something goes wrong, Dominus is forced to give into his urges—and defy his father to prove to Lorayna she is more than just another light-bearer.
Note: Prologue omitted.
The crisp bite of frost in the air was sharp enough to sting even the nostrils of an immortal, but it was the scent of anticipation that Dominus inhaled most as he strode through the woods. He needn’t have bothered approaching this way, on foot through the wild forest. He could simply appear inside her cottage, where it was no doubt warm and welcoming. Still, he preferred to walk the wintry landscape at this time of year, when hearing the crunch of snow beneath his boots and breathing the heady scent of pine sparked a most pleasant ache between his legs. The crackle of ice breaking off a nearby branch was a call to duty, the brush of chilled wind a push toward his destiny. The nipples on his bare chest hardened, but not solely from the cold bite across his skin. Most humans marked the change in their yearly calendars on a different day, but Dominus was well aware that this night, the night of the Winter Solstice, would be when he truly brought forth a new year. He and the woman he had been carefully preparing for this moment.
Dominus tied the leather cord of the veil pendant around his neck as he approached the edge of the woods, and there he paused, regarding the cottage close by. He flexed his long fingers, working the stiffness from the chilled digits even as another place on his body hardened. His doeskin leathers constricted the cock lengthening against his thigh, so ready for him to coax the female into bringing forth her light.
He raised his forearm near his face, the bracelet that had been carefully wound with red ribbon in and among and between the carved leather leaning against the nearest pine tree while he observed the cottage for signs of activity. He had rung the bells already, pulling out the ribbon and holding the circle aloft before his crossing to declare the hour of the sabbat. He had silenced the silver bells before phasing to this realm, lest the sabbat bells be heard by mortals near the forest. The hour grew late on the eve of Yule, but many humans celebrated the season with festivities long into December eves. Some, including those who kept the old ways, marked the return of the sun by staying awake all through the longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice, holding vigil until the break of dawn proclaimed in the physical world what Dominus would have achieved in the metaphysical. Another season of light, brought forth by a meshing of souls—one from each realm. And to spin the wheel of another year, Dominus could not simply choose any soul he wished from the earth realm. She must be one impregnated with the light of a Beltane fire.
His father, the god Herne, had appointed eight of his sons to be overseers of the pagan sabbats, gods who were tasked with the sacred duty of keeping the realms united, but separate in the waxing and waning of the veil dividing the worlds. Through solstice and equinox, through seasons all, each son performed their specific role to keep the wheel of the year turning. And in an unprecedented quirk of fate, the female Dominus would claim this night had been the same virgin his brother, Jorandil, had united with the previous Beltane in the act required to seal the thinning veil.
It was no requirement that the earth woman need mate with a god on May Day in order to conceive the light that would restore the balance come Yule time. It was more a matter of chance, and a rarity at that. The right combination of timing, along with a blend of solar and lunar energies, was required, much like the act of human procreation. Precious few women would succeed in capturing the sun’s Beltane energy during sexual revelry, and it was his job to identify and claim such a one. She would become the Yule mother, bringing forth the sun on the longest night of the year.
He lowered his arm. What was not his job was to nurture that female throughout her time of confinement, nourishing and sprouting that light through summer and fall until it was ripe and ready for his plucking. But this year, that was exactly what he’d done. The Counsel of Sabbats had sent off the usual attendants on other missions this year, leaving Dominus no choice but to interact on his own with the woman he would ordinarily be destined to know for only one night. So he had visited her cottage every week, lending his own energy when her spirits sagged, giving gentle nudges of mystical encouragement to use the proper herbs, intent, and intake of meat, harvest fruits, and ale to keep her body pure and stoke the energy within. And week by week, he’d seen the results of his attentions. Her cheeks flushed to a healthy glow, her skin, hair, and eyes gave off a joyous shimmer, and her spirit had buoyed into one of joyful anticipation. Along with it, she had blossomed into the temptress of his desire, and now, his body heated whenever he pictured her.
The god of Yule, playing lady’s maid to a woman. He could just hear his father’s bellow of laughter, tossing back his antlered head, if he found out about that. As it was, Herne had been buried in planning a series of hunts to commemorate the start of The Thousand Seasons. Thank the heavens for small mercies.
Dominus thought of his last visit to her, how he had stood at her bedside, asking for her final consent to the ritual. After her agreement, right on the cusp of sleep, he whispered ancient secrets while her hair spilled across her pillow and her round curves beckoned. His male need flared into a sharp ache at her beauty, and how he longed to plunge his fingers through that silken hair, run his tongue over every sultry dip and swell on her body. He never touched her—he could not. He had stayed overlong on that final visit, for he knew the time had come. A time he both longed for and resented, when his visits to her, unwanted though they had begun, would be at an end. A lump in his stomach punctuated the thought.
A figure passed by the sheer curtain drawn halfway across the front window, and his pulse quickened.