Only One Worth Kissing
Copyright © Emmi Lawrence
All rights reserved. No part of this story may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission from the author.
Serial: Part 1 of 2 (Approx. 4400 of 8600)
The danger posed by the Addled Bog tended to be over-exaggerated. Derik knew from experience given he’d passed through plenty of times. Then again, he hadn’t traversed this area closer toward the peat mounds before, but he was relatively sure that things would be fine. If he hadn’t been, he certainly wouldn’t have suggested Harmony come with him.
“The Frog Pool? Really?”
Derik ignored the sound of her mocking disbelief, concentrating on navigating around the wetter edge of the pool so that he wouldn’t accidently fall victim to the stagnant spells still lingering in the bog. The insects swarmed up as he disturbed the tall grasses and the muck underneath, buzzing at his ears, slamming into his cheeks. Pressing his lips together and waving a hand uselessly at the flies, he straddled a spot where the grass seemed to fall away. Boots squelching as he pulled them free, he stepped out of the wet edge of the pool.
Firm soil under his feet once more, he settled back a few steps to survey the frog-infested pool. Spruce trees lined the north edge of this stretch of bog and a swatch of prickling sedges filled the space between, breaking up the monotony of the rolling grass and the pale gray sky. The pool itself, deep from the rain they’d been getting recently, held a brown cast and a steep stench. Insects danced above the water’s surface.
Harmony jumped to the empty space beside him and bent down to fix the way her pants folded into her boots. Her dark hair had been braided over her shoulder and her long-sleeved, skin-tight shirt clung to her curves in a way that had Derik doing math in his head just in order to not spring one out here in the open.
“What now?” she asked.
“Now I find a princess.”
Harmony blinked. “What was that?”
“The daughter of the Gaorilho House, the one who disappeared into the Frog Pool years ago when her guards were trying to calm her horse?”
“She’s probably long dead. Frogs don’t live that long.”
Derik leaned in close to her, mostly to breathe in her earthy scent, stronger from the walk they’d just taken through the bog. “These frogs do. Just recently the spell wore off of one of soldiers from the first war with the Empire.”
“Bullshit,” she said. “He’d have been a fifty-year old frog.”
“Nope.” Derik shook his head. “Hadn’t aged a day. Still thought the war was going on.”
Harmony’s plump lips pursed in a frown. “Poor man.”
“Yes, but it means that Rallisa Gaorilho is still alive. And I’m sure she’ll be very accommodating if I were to free her.”
She bent at her waist to look past Derik, dark blue eyes sparkling with mischief. “Unless she’s been eaten.”
Derik spun around to see a crane looking at them. Brown feathered, lighter toward its neck, while its coloring became much darker, more mud and peat-like, where the bulk of its weight sat. It seemed to decide they weren’t a menace because it turned away, stalking through the tall grasses along the opposite edge of the water.
“Yes,” he said. “That…might be a problem. Let’s hope she was smart and hid when they came around.” As he spoke he caught sight of a brown frog kicking its leg as it moved along the soggy bank. “Well, here goes.”
He grabbed it quickly, spooking the crane into taking flight. The frog scrabbled in his hands, tickling his palm as it struggled to free itself. Holding it tight, but not too tight, he held it up for Harmony to see inside.
“You’re not really going to kiss it, are you?” she asked.
“Of course I am.” He hesitated though, looking at it carefully. “You don’t think that’s enough contact with the water to be transformed myself, do you?”
Harmony shrugged unhelpfully. “Let’s find out.”
He scowled at her, but opened up his hands enough to plant one on the frog’s back.
A sinking feeling swept through his gut as the frog slipped through his fingers, the creature becoming vaporous before settling upon the ground. The fog rose up, featureless, thick enough Derik couldn’t see Harmony for a scant second. Then it disappeared and in its place was a woman. A middle-aged, short, pale, dark-haired woman with a light brown dress that stretched all the way to her ankles.
“You can’t be Rallisa Gaorilho,” he said. “I could have sworn she was younger.”
“Excuse you,” the woman snapped, her eyes flashing. “And I suppose you think youth lasts forever.”
Behind her, Harmony put both hands over her mouth, eyes crinkling with barely controlled laughter at Derik’s misfortune.
“No,” said Derik slowly, shifting uncomfortably.
“No? Ha, could have fooled me,” said the woman. “I hope you bald prematurely and collect an erectile dysfunction on your way to old age.” Then she hitched up the bottom of her dress, revealing boots similar to the ones they were wearing, and stalked off through the grass toward town.
“One down, a thousand more to kiss,” said Harmony.
Derik ignored her in favor of catching another frog, this one slightly larger. He kissed it before he had a chance to think about it and watched as the vapor materialized into a stocky man with a worn hat and a beard.
“Who are you?” asked the man in a gruff voice turned harsher with surprise.
“Derik. You’re welcome. I hope your family’s still alive. Excuse me.” He stepped around the man and started searching for another frog.
“My family? What happened to my family.”
“I have no idea,” said Derik as he bent to try and catch another frog. It slipped from his hands and dove into the pool, sending muddy ripples across the surface.
The man made a noise that on an animal would have been classified as a growl, but on a human just seemed damn weird. “You said something happened to my family.”
“No, I said I hope you weren’t a frog for so long that they’re dead.”
“I wasn’t a frog.”
“You were,” said Harmony cheerfully. “A brown frog.” Derik watched her point at the water. “Do you remember going into the Addled Bog? Because it looks like you might have fallen in.”
The man frowned and took stock of his surroundings. “Guess it could be worse,” he grumbled.
“Yep,” said Harmony. “You could have fallen into the Bone Pit or the Acid Slide or that horrible pool that makes you spit slugs for the rest of your life.” She shivered dramatically. “I knew a girl who fell into that one.”
Derik snickered under his breath, but turned away when Harmony met his gaze. She was much too good for him. At least that’s what her brother said on damn near a constant basis. Harmony’s going to find someone better than a worthless pile of shit who’ll never do anything but swing a hammer the rest of his life. That had been yesterday’s vehement reaction when Cantin had found Derik and Harmony cuddled together in a wooden swing on the porch at the pub.
No good. Worthless. Just the youngest of a mason’s sons who would never own his own business. Didn’t matter that he had a job and held it down with a good work ethic and a friendly—mostly—demeanor.
He straightened up with another frog in his hands, kissing it as Harmony tried explaining to the man what exactly Derik was doing.
“A who?” asked the man.
“Rallisa of the Gaorilho house,” said Harmony again.
“Never heard of it.”
“Oh, that’s not good,” she said softly.
The fog blew away, leaving a young girl in its place. Probably no more than eight. Ten if she was on the small side. Hair full of dead grass and dried mud and eyes wide as she stared up at Derik.
“I know her,” said Harmony.
The girl wrinkled her nose, probably at the smell of the bog. “There was no one here a moment ago. You witches?”
“Witches?” scoffed Derik as the man snorted a laugh. “Do we look like witches?”
“How would I know? I’ve never met one.”
“That’s because witches belong to the Empire,” said the man. “We don’t have that kind up here.”
The girl took a step back. Far enough Derik grabbed her arm so she wouldn’t stumble back into the bog. “Get off of me, Empire scum!”
Derik let her go and backed off to be by Harmony. He muttered under his breath to her, “This isn’t going as easily as I hoped.”
She poked him in the side. “Be nice. They’re in shock.”
In front of them, the man had managed to coax the girl into moving away from the edge of the pool, but now they were in some sort of weird exchange about when the last time the Empire had attempted to invade and whether witches had been involved.
“That’s Dolsi. She disappeared back when we were only six or seven. Remember? We would play with her occasionally. She was a few years older than us.”
He didn’t. And he was sure his expression said he didn’t. “Not anymore, she isn’t.”
Harmony just laughed and nudged him with her shoulder. He wished they were back on that porch, Harmony’s warm self snuggled up against him in the chill of the evening as they talked about nothing and laughed about everything.
He stepped away with a huge sense of reluctance. Want was one thing, but the feel of Cantin’s fist had been quite another. He hadn’t shown Harmony the bruises, too embarrassed to admit that he was afraid.
“You promise you’re not from the Empire?” asked Dolsi.
“Promise,” said Harmony.
“If we were,” said Derik, “you’d be dead by now.”
“Derik,” said Harmony, but she couldn’t hold the strict tone, her features crinkling into laughter once more.
Dolsi made a face and then ran off toward the trees, the ground squelching under her little boots and her ragged hair bouncing wildly.
“Wait!” shouted Harmony. “Do you know the way?”
“She probably knows it better than I do,” said the man. “Hells, could I get some directions?”
As Harmony gave the man a set of directions that included a lot of “I thinks” and “maybes” and even one “go right after you pass another stretch of grass,” Derik collected himself another frog. He waited until the man had started off in the general direction toward town with a confused look upon his face.
“He might fall into that slug pond.”
Harmony played with the bottom of her braid, chewing on her lower lip in worry. “You think so? Maybe I should go after him and guide him back.”
Derik shook his head. “You’d just get lost with him.”
“I would not.”
“You lose your spools just about every other day.”
“People move them.”
“You’d lose your loom if it wasn’t so damn big.”
“Oh, kiss your damn frog already.”
He grinned. “This one is the princess for sure.”
Harmony didn’t return the grin, but she did sigh as a single raindrop plopped on her nose. She wiped it off, flicking her fingers at him as if spraying him with the drop. “Kiss her then and get all your dreams of beautiful ladies and riches.”
Derik hesitated, everything all messed up in his head. The frog wriggled in his grasp, a slimy reminder of why he was out here. Why he was trying something this outrageously crazy. Harmony lifted her face to the sky, searching for who knew what in the overcast weather, her expression strangely somber, the usual roundness of her cheeks drawn down.
Still standing there with a frog between his hands, Derik said softly, “You think I’m being stupid, don’t you.”
Harmony was silent for a moment. Then she smiled faintly. “You’re never going to find the Gaorilho woman out of all the frogs here.”
“That’s…” Not what he’d meant.
He wanted to know whether she was upset with him. Wanted to know what Cantin had told her after he was done cornering Derik. She’d always asked what he’d said, whether he was being mean and Derik had always blown it off. Laughed as if Cantin didn’t sometimes make him avoid Harmony.
It was too embarrassing because he wasn’t that much smaller than her brother. He had muscle from work and had enough brothers that he’d been in numerous fights. But he’d always been on the losing end. Always the one who got worse than he gave. Even if that wasn’t true, or wouldn’t be with Cantin, the thought of Harmony hating him because he’d hurt her brother made his stomach curdle.
But the thought of Harmony sad because he wanted some faceless woman instead of her made him feel worse.
He bent and let the frog hop free and then wiped his hands on his pants. Harmony gave him a puzzled look, her gaze darting to the frog and then back up to his face as he approached.
“You let your princess go?” she joked.
He shrugged. “Ah, hells. It was probably some idiot who got lost in the bog.”
“That’s not very nice.” But she smiled when she said it.
He shrugged again and then, before he could think about it, he reached out and caught her elbow to tug her closer. She came without resisting. He wondered if her heart echoed the pounding going on in his. If he’d read her right or if he was about to make a complete fool out of himself.
“I’m not always very nice,” he said quietly. “Sometimes I tell people to suck me and sometimes I steal my brother’s lunch. And sometimes I—”
He yanked on her, shoving her toward the pool, though never letting go as she pitched forward and lost her balance. Harmony screamed and latched onto him, smacking his chest when he didn’t stop laughing.
“And sometimes you’re just plain mean,” she said.
“Sometimes,” he agreed.
He leaned into her, liking the fact that she was almost his height, that they practically stood eye to eye on everything. He wanted to kiss her. A real kiss. One that would satisfy all the dreams he’d woken up from with a mess in his sheets. Unfortunately, he lost his nerve at the last moment, switching back to the easy familiarity of humor by puckering up his lips.
She jerked away. “Oh, hells no! You’ve been kissing frogs.”
Derik laughed and grappled with her to plant a wet kiss against her lips. He missed, landing on her cheek, laughing harder when she gave a disgusted noise and made a scene over wiping it off.
“So gross. Derik, I hate you.”
“No, you don’t.” He kissed her again, this time softly at the corner of her mouth. Freezing for a second afterwards when he realized what he’d done.
Harmony paused, a pause that lasted a lifetime, then slowly wrapped her arms about his neck, warming his skin. “If you keep kissing me with a frog mouth I will.”
“I didn’t lick them. Here.” He pulled up his shirt and wiped off his lips. “There. All clean.”
She arched her eyebrows, her forehead wrinkling. “Are you asking if you can kiss me, Derik?”
That damn fear reared its ugly head again and he laughed, this time a little thinly. “No. Why would I want to kiss you?”
Something flickered in Harmony’s eyes causing him to immediately want to recant his words.
Her arms slid off his neck, leaving him cold. “Oh well. I was going to ask if I could kiss you, but I guess that was a no.”
“Hey, wait!” He grabbed her arms and tried to put them back around his neck, though she wasn’t cooperating very well, letting her arms go limp as he pulled her close. “You can ask me,” he insisted. “Ask me.”
Harmony sighed dramatically again, but this time it was obvious she was trying to hide a smile. “If I must. Derik, may I please kiss you?”
“That seemed a little formal.”
She considered that, her brows coming down. “Yes, it did, didn’t it? Okay, then.” She grabbed his head and planted her lips on his forcefully.
Derik instinctively gathered her close, caressing down her back. She stepped into him, removing any lingering space between them. The breeze tugged on the wisps of her hair that had come free from her braid. They tickled Derik’s neck as he opened up his mouth and ran his tongue along Harmony’s lip, lightly requesting permission.
She responded with a sigh—this one quiet and undramatic. He pressed into her, finding her receptive. Eagerly receptive, her tongue wrapping about his, swirling his mind into a place where thinking became impossible.
Feeling, though, that he could do.
The kiss went on and on, every time she seemed to wind down, he’d reenter her mouth and wind her back up. They kissed until his cock perked up. Until Harmony began a gentle grind against him. His groin became a bundle of excited nerves, ready to blow. He took her ass cheeks in his hands and ground her down harder on his thigh until she started moving faster, her motions becoming more and more frenzied.
As his balls started to draw up, Derik gasped and pulled away, grabbing at his crotch as he yanked himself back from that precipice.
Harmony staggered, her pupils blown and her expression dazed. Her chest rose with every panting breath, stretching against the constraint of her tight shirt. She looked perfect. Her braid slightly messed, strands of it dancing against her cheek when the wind picked up. He could imagine running his hands along her naked body, cupping her breasts and kissing her like they’d just been kissing as he sank into her for the first time.
His cock gave a throb.
He laughed weakly. “Didn’t want to come in my pants. How lame would that be?”
The cloud fled her face and she smiled. “Very lame. You should at least take it out.”
Then she took the hem of her shirt and pulled it up and over her head in one smooth motion, her breasts falling free. Her nipples instantly hardened, sweet nubs of deep red surrounded by cream-colored flesh that he wanted to bury his face against.
With a groan, he tightened his grip on his cock, feeling a wet spot growing against his leg. Then he held his breath as Harmony headed toward the trees where the ground wasn’t wet. She tossed a saucy grin over her shoulder that had him scrambling to follow.
She had her boots off and her pants around her ankles by the time he reached her, her naked body on full display, as beautiful as he’d always imagined. An odd-shaped scare adorned her left hip, as if she’d fallen into a thorny bush at some point in her childhood, and a row of cute freckles decorated her inner thigh. When she turned around, he saw a small mole on her lower back on her right side.
He caught her hips and pressed his lips against her neck. “Harmony,” he whispered. “You have no idea how badly I’ve wanted you.”
She turned her face into his. “You should have said.”
Before he could something stupid and tell her about her brother’s insistence that Harmony was far too good for the likes of Derik, she had his mouth again and he became too caught up with letting his hands wander over her body. Goosebumps formed whenever the breeze blew up and her nipples were as hard as they’d looked. He massaged her breasts, groaning in desire as he finally got to touch her in places and in ways he thought he’d never get to.
When his fingers drifted lower, caressing her stomach, she sucked in a shuddering breath. And when he drifted even further, curling his fingers through her dark hair to feel the first folds of her vagina, she made a needy noise, her hips tipping up in a silent plea for more. Derik pressed her ass back against his shaft and curled his finger further, sliding against her clit, finding her moist. He pressed a single digit into her and pumped it in and out until he had her rocking in counter to his motion.
“Your clothes,” she gasped against his mouth, still moving her hips so that her ass gave delicious friction to his cock.
“Yeah,” he agreed. It was hard to pull away though. Hard to relinquish Harmony, especially when she made those quiet noises that sounded so desperate, so wanton, as he fucked her with his finger.
It was only when he attempted to take his shirt off one-handed and got tangled that Harmony pulled away. She laughed as she helped him get free, letting the shirt fall to join her own clothes before she popped the button on his pants. He took over from her, carefully pulling his pants and underwear over his straining cock. She took him in hand immediately, stroking him tenderly, her thumb massaging him and her palm cradling his tip, collecting the stream of pre-come he was letting out. Then she tugged him by his cock and led him down until he was lying on his back, his shirt tucked under his head and his penis sticking straight up.
“Now what?” he asked.
Harmony straddled him, her hands going to his shoulders as she settled her vagina against his groin. She leaned down and kissed him gently and when she would have risen back up, he grabbed her head and kept her there for a more thorough kiss as she rocked against his shaft. Pinching his side, she wiggled out of his grasp. When he rose with her, not wanting to relinquish his hold on her now that he actually had her, she draped an arm over his shoulder.
“If I’d known how scared you were, I’d have kissed you a long time ago,” she said with a wink.
He froze, thinking that she knew about Cantin and his threats.
“Oh, don’t look at me like that. If you’re that worried about your manly appearance I’ll tell people that you kissed me.”
Relaxing, he laughed. “Tell them whatever you like,” he said as he kissed against her neckline. Just not Cantin. Shit, that wasn’t a conversation he wanted to have. And it wasn’t a thought he wanted to be dwelling on. He’d suck it up and deal with it later when he had to. Right now though…
Harmony flexed her thighs, lifting off of him just enough that she could get a hand on his cock and line it up at her entrance. Then she settled herself into his lap, his cock easing into her painstakingly. She wrapped around him, her walls smooth and tight, squeezing him in all the right ways.
Derik shuddered and dropped his head upon her shoulder, concentrating on not coming right then. She felt so good. So perfect in his arms. The scent of her surrounding him, overpowering the bog. He could ignore the loud croaking of the frogs and the irritating swarming of nearby insects. He could fall into her finally, all his fear swirling away in a whirlwind of lust and happiness.
She moved on him, sliding up and down upon his shaft, setting his nerves on fire. A hand cupped his face, bringing him back to her lips, an action that he eagerly followed. Drowned in her taste as he took her hips in hand and began to quicken their pace forcibly, pulling her down harder with each stroke.
“Harmony.” He gasped into her skin, leaning forward to arch her back so he could get his mouth on her breasts, his tongue circling her nipple until he took it into his mouth, sucking lightly.
She moaned in response, her breaths coming quicker and her sounds turning desperate. When he moved to her other nipple, her fingers clutched at his scalp, flexing convulsively.
“Just like that,” she said, her voice tight and breathy. “Like that. Don’t stop. Oh gods, Deriiiik.”
Her head flew back, her body shivering as her vagina walls clenched around his cock. She gave a single loud shout and jerked in his arms, her thighs squeezing his middle. He watched her face through her orgasm, the spasms of her muscles contorting her expression for a few moments as she gasped out the last of her pleasure.
And when she gazed down at him through slit eyes and gave him a smile, he took a firmer grip on her hips and yanked her down on his cock. The heat in his groin expanded before exploding throughout his veins. A groan escaped his throat as he tightened his arms around Harmony, holding her close as his cock jetted deep inside of her.
Coming down, he fell back, still holding Harmony to his chest. She leaned her head against his shoulder, her fingers lightly running along his neck and around his ear as he caught his breath.
“Wow,” he gasped.
Harmony hummed an agreement. “Better than kissing frogs?”
He laughed. “Much better.”
“Even though I’m not some daughter of the Gaorilho House?”
He ran his palms down her back and kissed her forehead. “You’re far and away better.”
“That’s a sweet answer.” She lifted her head and made a face.
“It’s the truth.”
Her expression smoothed out and she gave a sigh of contentment before draping herself on him again. “Glad to hear it,” she said softly.
They lay there listening to the wind rushing through the trees. Occasionally feeling a drop of rain from the overcast sky. As their blood ceased pounding the breeze began to lift goose bumps off their flesh. Derik felt his saturated cock slowly glide free from Harmony, spilling their combined fluids so that they ran down his balls.
It wasn’t until the bugs started biting that they scrambled for their clothes, laughing while they brushed off dead grass and dressed.
“I’m going to be covered in bites tomorrow,” groaned Harmony. “All because you wanted a princess.”
Derik waved a hand in dismissal. “You’re the one who insisted we remove our clothes.” Then he shifted and scratched. “I think one got me under my ass cheek.”
Harmony stifled a laugh as she pulled her shirt over her head. As she straightened the fabric over her chest, she opened her mouth as if to say something, then paused, her gaze sliding off Derik to a place behind him.
“Oh, that’s embarrassing. I hope he didn’t see anything.”
“What?” Derik turned, thinking to see the man from earlier coming back for better directions. Instead, he saw Cantin storming through the low sedges, his boots grinding them under his feet and his expression furious. “Oh no.”
End of Part 1
Part 2 Coming July 27th