We’re just one month away from the release of Underneath, Book Two of the Princess of Twilight and Dawn series. I’m very excited to have you all read it and (I hope) love it. In celebration, here’s an excerpt featuring Tab and George asking a favor of a fae creature known as the Bugol Noz—Nozzie for short.
“My advisors think it would be helpful if there was someone—someone We of the Light could really trust—living in the Underneath. Someone who could tell us what They of the Dark are planning, and what they know. My advisors think you are the right, um—man, for the job.”
“What are your thoughts on it, Lightness?” Nozzie asked.
I smiled at him. “I’m sure they’re right about you; but to be honest, I’m hoping you’ll say no. I hate to send you to the Underneath, and into danger, no matter how helpful it would be to have you there.”
George sighed in a way that let me know he wasn’t happy with me for that answer.
“That’s very good of you to worry about me, the last of the long noses. But I will face no danger in the Underneath. His Darkness believes I am his creature, doesn’t he? I am sure to be welcomed home like a prodigal lamb.”
“You really think so?”
“Unless he knows I’ve been here, there will be no danger for me down in the dirt and dark.”
“So you’ll go?” George asked.
Nozzie looked at us. “If one small favor is granted me, I will.”
“Very well,” George said. “What do you want?”
“A kiss,” Nozzie said, a sheepish grin on his ugly face. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen two such pretties as you embrace like lovers. It would give me courage for the homegoing.”
“You want me to kiss George?” I asked, incredulous. In a certain way, that would be much worse than kissing Nozzie.
“I do, Lightness.” He nodded eagerly.
“But he’s my cousin.”
“Not really,” George said. “There’s no blood relation.”
“Are you out of your mind?”
George shrugged. “There’s not.”
“Nozzie, please no.”
“It’s such a small thing to ask,” he said. “When you ask so much.”
“How about I kiss you instead?”
“I’ll try not to be offended,” George huffed.
“Never would I let Your Lightness dirty her most radiant face upon the lips of this old long nose. Give a proper kiss to Lord Waverly as befits your station as our future queen. Then I’ll be about my dangerous work as your most devoted servant.”
I looked at the man who, blood relation or not, was my cousin.
“A proper kiss?” I asked.
“Would you quit being such a virgin about it. It’s not a big deal. Allowing him to watch a little slap-and-tickle is the common currency when working with the Bugol Noz.”
George stood up and pulled me into his arms. Everything about the way he was holding me felt wrong.
“If you knew Nozzie was going to want this,” I whispered, “why didn’t Alex come in with me?”
“Somehow we thought you’d prefer to play kissing-cousins with me than to have Alexander bend you over the kitchen table for Nozzie’s amusement.”
“Would he have asked for that?” I looked over my shoulder at him, sitting there with an innocent look on his gray face. He waved.
The little perv.
“At the least,” George said. “And he knows how badly we need him so he might have come up with something else. In the end, I’ll think you’ll find kissing me was your best option. It’ll be over before you know it. Just lay back and think of England or something.”
He brushed his lips against mine, softly. It felt weird; but, if I’m being honest, I could sort of see why someone might like it. His fingers tangled in the hair at the nape of my neck. His eyes were emerald green and gold, the colors flashing together like magic, like lightning. “Don’t pretend you haven’t thought about it.”
Then, his mouth was on mine. His grip on my hair tightened as he pulled me closer to him. I heard Nozzie moan behind us as George’s free hand dropped down to cup my butt, pulling me closer still. I kissed back, trying not to think about who I was kissing.
Look, I’ll be honest. George is a good kisser. Really good. Given his assets—by which I mean a long life, a gorgeous smile, and a preternatural ability to charm the fairer sex—that was to be expected. I didn’t expect to get lost, even for a second, in the feel of his hands, the taste of his mouth, in the undeniable press of him against me. But, I did.
The moment I heard Nozzie give a shuddering sigh, George stepped away. “That was something, huh?” he said, looking rather pleased with himself.