Karola, daughter of Diana, is totally innocent and wild, having never left the forest where she has grown up. Then one day she encounters an intruder, someone who looks a bit like her but also very different. In Damien she finds her first human friend and much, much more. Before the day is over, she has discovered what it means to be female as she is awakened to the delights of her sexuality and the first stirring of love.
They flopped down on the soft bed of springy green grass. Karola lay on her back, her arms folded beneath her head, gazing up through the leaves at the sky. Damien settled on his side, facing her. Either the mead or the exertion had left her feeling deliciously languid, as if she floated on one of the small clouds overhead.
They looked as white and fluffy as the sheep she had once seen grazing in a meadow beyond her woods. For a moment she dreamed of flying up to land on one of them, drifting along and looking down at the world spread beneath her. But dreaming could be saved for a time she was alone. Today she had a companion. She turned to gaze at him, absorbed in his beauty, in the differences between the two of them.
It seemed totally right when Damien reached out and stroked her arm. His hand was rougher-skinned than hers, in spite of her forest life, yet his touch was not harsh. It sent sparkly tingles running along her skin. She felt as if fireflies were dancing over her body, just out of sight.
"Your skin is soft as the pelt of a baby rabbit," he said. "I could touch you forever."
He lifted a tress of her hair, which had come unbound in their frolics, and sifted the raven strands through his fingers. "And your hair is as dark as night. There are pretty girls in my village, but none of them have hair like yours. I have never seen hair this color--yellow and brown and russet, yes, but not black as moonless midnight."
"My hair is not so very strange. Darlisa and Melody have green hair, while Brylana's is almost the color of yours--just a bit lighter. My mother's is very dark brown like the bark of the oak trees. Everyone has their own color, I think."
"Green hair? Now that is strange! I never saw green hair."
Karola laughed. "They are Kelpies and Bry is a Dryad. All the Kelpies have green hair...at least all the ones I know."
He shrugged. "I like yours anyway. It is much better than green."
She smiled, enjoying the brightness of his eyes as he looked at her, the feel of his hand, stroking her arm, sifting through her hair. Like her mother, she wore a tunic that was cut away on the right side, leaving no fabric to foul an arrow or slow the snap of a bowstring. The garment left her right breast bare, and she saw how his glance kept slipping to focus upon it. Her nipple hardened to a rosy pebble under his attentive gaze.
He gave her a knowing smile before he reached out and brushed his fingers across the tip. At that caress, it hardened even more and a shivery sensation coursed through her body. Then he cupped the whole of her breast in his hand and kneaded it gently with his fingers. Her lassitude deepened as a tingling itch spread from his touch, sinking into her chest, into her belly, into some inner recess she could not name which suddenly felt achingly empty.