Shamed by secrets, Anne Meredith will do anything to fulfill her marriage contract to a mysterious Bavarian count. Even if it means submitting to Axel von Sommerhalder, the handsome stranger the count has enlisted to train her. She thinks the intimate punishments her trainer metes out will be a humiliating ordeal. Instead, as she finds herself surrendering to the dominant desires of a man forbidden to claim her, she discovers even more about herself than she ever dreamed possible.
Axel demands that his novice abandon every inhibition. But in doing so, they both embark on a dangerous journey, tempting each other's flesh, relishing every forbidden touch--and breaking every rule.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Twice the Novice by Debra Glass
Greta moved to the front and began rubbing the oil into Anne's chest, and then lower, to her breasts. She'd never been touched this way before and she resisted the heady temptation to arch into Greta's capable hands.
"Won't this mixture soil my clothes?" Anne asked.
"Until your training is complete, you will wear an instruction garment," Greta replied, making short work of rubbing the oil on Anne's abdomen and the front of her legs.
"You will also be required to wear special jewelry but most bride-elects find those easier to tolerate when the trainer applies them."
Anne did not even venture to guess what type of jewelry she might be asked to wear--but when Greta produced a set of five leather cuffs, Anne shrank.
"What are those?" she asked, her voice high-pitched and hysterical.
"Part of your training wear," Greta said. "Hold out your wrists."
Anne shook her head. "You're not putting those on me."
Greta shrugged. Disappointment darkened her eyes. "Very well. I will tell the count you have refused and that you wish to be sent home."
Yes. That is the most prudent thing to do. Anne's breaths came quick and shallow and there was nothing she could do to prevent it. Her heart sank. "No. Wait," she said. The least she could do would be to try them on. "If...if at any time I cannot tolerate the training, am I free to leave?"
Greta's face brightened. "Yes. You have only to ask."
Trembling, Anne offered her hands. She watched as Greta fastened a leather cuff bearing a single metal ring around both of her wrists. After that, Greta slipped identical cuffs around Anne's ankles and then one around her neck.
Anne fingered the metal ring dangling from the center of the band around her neck. Her blood ran cold imagining what the purpose of the rings could be. And yet, the hint of a shiver traveled up her spine.
After submitting to the cuffs, agreeing to wear the gown seemed easy. Made of fine white linen, the fabric was thin--practically transparent. Greta held it up and Anne stared, shocked. Open down the back with nothing but a narrow ribbon tie at the neck, it appeared to be a long-sleeved robe of some sort. Greta slid it onto Anne's outstretched arms and then tied the enclosure in the back.
The fabric clung to her oiled skin, outlining every curve, every swell and every crevice. How could she bear to face the count's nephew clad in this?
"There," Greta said, admiring her handiwork. She hesitated when her gaze found Anne's. "My lady, I sincerely hope you can endure this. The count is in desperate need of a woman fit to be countess."
Anne shook. "I will try my best."
"Come then," Greta said. "Your trainer will be ready for you to begin."
"But I have not eaten," Anne protested in an attempt to stall her fate. Besides, it wasn't as if she could have eaten a bite of food--even if she'd been ravenous.
"Your trainer will see to your every need until your instruction is complete."
Anne burned at the idea of being dependent on that hateful Axel. As Greta led her through the bed chamber, Anne felt as if the whole world suddenly whirled at breakneck speed and there was little she could do to slow it down.
Greta opened a secret door in the wall. Anne's pulse pounded faster and faster as she followed the servant down a long, narrow hall illuminated sporadically by rush torches. By the time the hallway opened into a dimly lit chamber, Anne knew she would have surely vomited if she'd already eaten. Her heartbeat thundered in her ears. She searched the room for Axel--her trainer--but he was nowhere to be seen. At least, as far as she could see into the murky shadows. She blinked, trying to adjust her eyes to the darkness.
"Remove the novice's gown," a stern voice boomed from a darkened corner.
"You will not be harmed," Greta whispered as she untied the ribbon at the back of Anne's neck.
The garment slid down her arms and away until Anne found herself standing stark naked in the center of the room. Her hands flew to cover her breasts and her denuded pubis. And as her eyes grew accustomed to the shadows, she realized the room was filled with odd-looking devices. One shelf stood replete with various wooden and leather--Anne gaped--phalli? The muscles in her thighs tightened. A smooth, leather-covered block sat on the floor in the midst of several metal rings from which chains were linked.
Other chains dangled from the shadowed ceiling. Did he intend to restrain her? If so, for what dread purpose?
Anne intended to find out.
"Raise your arms," the voice commanded.
Anne jumped, startled. No. She couldn't bear to be seen like this.
"Raise them!" The command came again.
As she began to lift her arms, Greta caught one of her wrists and fastened a hook to the loop on the cuff so that her arm stretched high above her head.
"What--!" Anne rebelled but Greta quickly snagged the other wrist and bound it to the same hook.
"Remember, you will not be harmed," she said under her breath before she skittered out of the chamber.
"Wait!" Anne cried but to no avail. The door closed, leaving her bound and naked and at the mercy of a hateful stranger.