When he was only an arm’s length from her, she opened her arms to him and he held her against him. His hands slipped down to her bare buttocks and he lifted her so that her legs straddled his waist. She clung to him as he walked with her, stopping when her back was against a tree, and when she was braced, he lifted her and set her down on his manhood.
Because of her position, she could not move very well so he moved her as if she were a doll. His hands gripped her waist and lifted her up and down while her back jammed against the rough bark of the tree, her head back, her hands on his shoulders, her fingers biting into his skin.
Their coupling was almost violent as he thrust into her with might and Jura received him with desire and wanting as she held on to his waist with all her muscles in her powerful legs.
When at last they finished together, he collapsed against her, pressing Jura between the tree and his heavy, limp body, but she did not release her hold of him.
After some minutes, he lifted his head from her neck to sweetly kiss her lips. “Good morning,” he whispered.
She smiled at him. “Good morning to you.”
He still held her against the tree as he moved his hands to stroke her bare legs.
“You were watching me?” she asked. “I did not sense you. If you had been—”
He kissed her to stop her words. “I was not. I told Cilean to let no one leave the camp except to come down here where I could watch them.”
“But I could have protected myself without—” she began, but he kissed her.
“Shall we bathe again? I would like to join you in the water.”
Jura could feel herself blushing. It seemed odd to be so intimate with this foreigner. When he moved her from the tree, she uncrossed her ankles, but he did not let her get down as he held her for a while and stroked her back under the tunic and her bare legs. Then he moved his head back and smiled at her in a way that seemed almost more intimate than their fierce coupling.
“Duty calls,” he said sadly. “The others will be awake soon.” He let her down and gently pushed her toward the water.
She removed her tunic and once again stepped into the water. Behind her she heard Rowan sigh as if his heart were breaking and Jura smiled in satisfaction. He entered the water behind her and dove under to wet his hair.
The sun was beginning to rise now and, as always, the first rays seemed to seek out Rowan’s golden hair.
“You…” she began tentatively, “you seem to know many ways of…of joining for a man and woman. You have had many teachers?”
Rowan smiled happily at her, pleased whenever she talked of anything besides war and politics. “A few,” he said smugly. “A prince, even a prince of a country as remote as Lanconia, is sought after in England.”
“Ah, the women wanted you because you are a prince.”
“Were,” he said. “I’m king now, but, no, they wanted me for my person.”
“I see. They admired your skill on the training field. It is so here. Daire is an excellent fighter.”
“No,” he said with annoyance in his voice. “The women admired me for…” He hesitated.
“For what?” she urged.
“For my looks,” he said quickly. “Jura, some women find me to be pleasing to look at.”
“You are as tall as a Lanconian, but your paleness is difficult to adjust to. But perhaps all Englishmen are colorless.”
“I am not colorless,” he snapped, then shook his head. “Jura, will you always make me feel less than a man? Will you always find other men better looking, better fighters or less of a fool than you think I am? Will you ever follow me without question, merely because you believe in me?”
“I do not think so,” she said after a moment’s thought. “One must always think for one’s self. We Irials are taught to think for ourselves. Would you follow me without hesitation? You have not done so yet.”
“Of course not, but you are a woman,” he said angrily.
“Do I have less of a brain than you?” she snapped. “I will follow you when I believe you to be right. I will not follow you merely because the sun touches your hair rather prettily.”
Rowan looked as if he were about to make an angry reply, but his expression changed and he smiled. “So you do think me handsome,” he said softly.
“Handsome does not matter,” she answered.