Friday, May 17, 2019

Taken By HIs Warrior (Wolves in the Fae Court 3)



Asmund knows he’s put off marriage too long. With his two closest friends happily mated to members of the wolf pack, he allows himself to be talked into hosting a ball to find himself a wife. He’s spent too many years waiting for the perfect person to simply fall into his lap.

But just days before the ball, a wolf shifter with a hint of ancient fae blood messes up all his plans. Vadik says the king is his mate, and Asmund knows that shifters are never wrong. But Asmund needs heirs, which the Beta wolf can’t give him, so he knows he must stay strong and convince Vadik to walk away, despite their attraction. The hardest part proves to be convincing himself that this man, who seems to fulfill every fantasy he’s ever had, isn’t right for him.



 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Claimed by His Beta (Wolves in the Fae Court 2)

Book 2 of Wolves in the Fae Court is out today! And if you missed Book 1 in the Denying the Alpha anthology, you can read it for FREE from Evernight! (Link at end of post.)



Luke accompanied his Alpha to the fae court to do his job, nothing more. Since his mate’s death, he’s been fine with a few nights of solace here and there. He’s never needed anything more than that.

But his gaze keeps drifting to one fae in particular—Dane, the best friend of his Alpha’s newly found mate. When he finds out a human hurt Dane years ago, his protective instincts rise and refuse to be calmed. Protective feelings soon turn possessive as he learns more about the beautiful fae. Dane’s more than willing to come to his bed, but Luke wants more than that. Far, far more.





Gregor arrives in the fae court ready to cement an alliance. When he finds his mate there, he doesn’t hesitate to make their union a part of the momentous event, even though he neglects to inform his newly found mate about any of this.

Jared is drawn to the Alpha of the wolf pack immediately, unable to resist the man’s touch and more than willing to go to his bed. But when Gregor decides their official mating is a done deal, Jared bristles. He sets out to teach the shifter a lesson about respect, despite the fact all he really wants to do is submit.

When the Alpha is denied and told to learn how to properly court a fae, he finds something very interesting in the ancient texts of the palace library. And then, The Hunt begins…

Friday, November 16, 2018

Denying the Alpha

My new series Wolves in the Fae Court has kicked off with "Hunted by His Alpha",  which is available in the Evernight Publishing anthology Denying the Alpha.



Kobo

Gregor arrives in the fae court ready to cement an alliance. When he finds his mate there, he doesn’t hesitate to make their union a part of the momentous event, even though he neglects to inform his newly found mate about any of this.

Jared is drawn to the Alpha of the wolf pack immediately, unable to resist the man’s touch and more than willing to go to his bed. But when Gregor decides their official mating is a done deal, Jared bristles. He sets out to teach the shifter a lesson about respect, despite the fact all he really wants to do is submit.

When the Alpha is denied and told to learn how to properly court a fae, he finds something very interesting in the ancient texts of the palace library. And then, The Hunt begins…

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Reforming Her Vampire (Valladora Tales 4)


Sean arrived at a wedding thinking he might find someone to warm his bed, if he was lucky. He didn’t expect to find his fated mate, and he certainly didn’t expect her to be his friend Erik’s eighteen-year-old ward. He’s never worried about attracting a lover before, but a mate is very different, especially one as lovely and seemingly innocent as Iris.

Iris can’t help feeling stunned when Sean—the vampire who wears too much cologne and flirts with everyone—tells her she’s his fated mate. Even though he’s handsome, she’s never been able to take him seriously. But as he takes her hand and pleads with her to give him a chance, she starts to see a completely different man behind the fa├žade he always wears. Though she’s not sure it can work, the look in his eyes compels her to explore what might be between them.

 
 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

New Release: Caressed by Shadow (The Veiled Court 3)






Bastiel hasn’t left his own realm to visit the Veiled Court since he was a child. But when he learns he’s fated to the youngest prince, Rory, he resolves to make peace with the Fey of the Light, despite the prejudice he knows he might encounter in the Veiled Court.

Rory didn’t expect to be fated to a man, much less to the King of the Dark Fey. Bastiel introduces himself as if there is no question that they are perfectly matched, but Rory can’t accept that. They don’t know each other at all, and their union would throw the order of both their realms into chaos.

Enchanted from his first glimpse of Rory, Bastiel refuses to give up. Rory has no choice but to face his confusion and misgivings head on, and decide if the pull he feels to Bastiel is worth all the risks and uncertainty that come with it.


Buy Here:

 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

New Release: Defying His Fate (The Veiled Court 2)



When Nathaniel is told the identity of his cariad—the person he is supposedly fated to love—he finds himself reliving a pain he’s spent a year fighting. He’d been trying to forget his love for Reese, only to be told by the seers that he’s meant to be with Reese’s sister. Nathaniel had never planned on letting his people’s beliefs dictate who he would love, but his heart makes the situation so unbearable he has no choice but to walk away.

Seeing Nathaniel again awakens a restlessness in Reese that he doesn’t understand. He thought he’d been glad to be rid of the prince, but Reese finds he’s never lost his hunger for the man. When Nathaniel says he wants Reese’s love or nothing at all, Reese has to decide what he actually wants from the prince.



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

New Release: Assassin's Return (Valladora Tales 3)

My latest mm release set in Valladora is here! Assassin's Return is the third book in my Valladora Tales series.



Samuel has devoted the last six years of his life to serving his king as an assassin, but the adventures he was promised are starting to lose their appeal. Two years ago, he realized what was missing in his life, but he was too afraid to act on it. When the need becomes too great, he leaves in the middle of the night to return home to his best friend … the man he fell for without even knowing it. Though he fears Quentin might not be able to accept his past, he knows he has to try to win the man’s heart.



Excerpt:

 
Samuel swung the ax again, the catharsis of the physical labor calming him some. Despite the number of dangerous missions he’d completed, and the way he’d defied King Jareth by leaving the palace without his permission, he felt like a coward.
I can’t even tell Quentin how I feel. How will I ever convince him to give me a chance?
He’d had several opportunities the day before, but he hadn’t taken any of them. The looks Quentin had given him seemed to prove his friend suspected the truth, yet Samuel had let each chance slip away. Samuel’s preference for male lovers had never been a secret, but Quentin had never expressed any interest in men before. Samuel knew Quentin wasn’t a virgin—he wasn’t either—but they’d never talked much about sex beyond curious speculation when they were teenagers.
Glancing back to the house, Samuel saw Quentin at the kitchen window, probably washing the breakfast dishes or preparing some vegetables for lunch. He paused a moment and watched the other man turn his head and say something to Jesse before moving away quickly, probably to keep the little boy from bringing a piece of furniture down on himself. Samuel longed to stay here forever and take care of Jesse and Quentin, but that would only work if Quentin could return his feelings. Quentin was too tenderhearted and passive to ever ask him to leave, but it wouldn’t make sense to anyone else that a man as wealthy as Samuel would choose to live on a small farm with a “friend”. The fact he’d claimed Jesse as his biological son would excuse it to many, but it would still look a bit odd.
But more than that, Samuel couldn’t spend every day at Quentin’s side without touching him. He usually stayed about two weeks, which was about all he could take. Once he ran out of tasks to do around the farm, all he could think of was holding Quentin in his arms.
Samuel didn’t remember the exact moment he’d developed feelings for Quentin. It had only really hit him when he’d arrived in the village two years ago and seen Quentin cradling an infant lovingly in his arms. His heart had nearly stopped, as he’d thought that perhaps Quentin had neglected to tell him about a woman he’d become involved with. When he’d learned the truth and looked down at Quentin’s tear-stained face, the lie had simply spilled out. Samuel couldn’t even remember half of what he’d said that day. All he’d been able to think about was the fact that Quentin needed help and how claiming Lizzie’s baby as his own would tie them together forever.
It had been a stupid move. They’d been friends since infancy, and that would never change. He hadn’t needed to do a damned thing to remain a part of Quentin’s life. The shock had made him desperate to pull Quentin as close as he could. They’d never fought about it—not exactly—but Quentin brought it up every time he visited. After two years, though, he couldn’t take it back. Everyone would think he was crazy.
And what will they think if Quentin and I get together? That’ll be a lively round of gossip. Quentin and Lizzie had been twins, though it hadn’t been obvious because Quentin had inherited his father’s dark hair while Lizzie had somehow gotten the blonde hair dominant on their mother’s side. People would whisper, but didn’t they already? Not everyone had thought it proper for Samuel to seduce Lizzie and then stay gone so long.
Of course, he couldn’t defend himself and say he hadn’t actually done that at all.
Samuel had just turned twenty-five, and every time he returned home, the local women slyly asked if he planned to marry soon. He’d always been discreet at home, so only Quentin really knew about his preference. He’d left home at nineteen, four months after the deaths of his own parents, following King Jareth off on a “grand adventure”. Part of that adventure had been a very torrid affair with one of Jareth’s grooms, his first real lover. His teenage years had been filled with clumsy fumblings, but he’d never gone all the way until he was far from home.
“Would you like some water?”
The voice broke through Samuel’s thoughts, and he blinked as he lowered the ax and lifted his gaze. “I’d love some. Thanks.” He reached out, brushing Quentin’s fingers as he took the glass.
“You’re welcome. You’ve made short work of it,” Quentin said as he shifted a wiggling Jesse in his arms.
Samuel downed the water as he looked around and realized he only had one more small section to chop. “Yeah, I guess I was daydreaming myself.”
“Is everything all right?”
Samuel set the glass on a smooth rock by the fencepost. “For now.”
“For now?”
Unable to make himself tell the whole truth, he settled for half the truth. “I don’t have Jareth’s permission to be here.”
“What? Tell me you’re kidding. That man scares me so much.”
“He shouldn’t. He’d never hurt you or treat you unfairly. I know how he seems to everyone, but I’ve gotten to know him well over the years.” Samuel paused, knowing he shouldn’t talk too much about the king’s private life. Jareth had plenty of flaws, but Samuel had come to respect him in a more tangible way since meeting him in person. He came closer and set the ax aside, coming over the fence and removing his shirt to wipe his face down. “But I have the queen’s blessing. I told her I needed to go home, and she understood.”
Quentin’s gaze wandered over Samuel’s chest as he wiped himself down. Samuel hadn’t taken his shirt off intentionally, but now he slowed his movements to see Quentin’s reaction.
“I could’ve brought you a towel. Sorry.”
Samuel spread the shirt over the fence to let it dry in the heat of the suns, and then he shrugged. “It’s fine.” He reached over and flicked a bug off Jesse’s shirt. “Don’t worry. If Jareth wants me back, he’ll send a messenger. I’m not in trouble.”
“What did you tell the queen?”
“That I needed to go home. See my friend. My child.”
“Even away from here, you say he’s yours?”
“Yes. Inconsistency is how you get caught in a lie.”
Quentin tilted his head. “Then maybe you shouldn’t have lied. I still don’t get it.”
Samuel shrugged again. “Didn’t want people gossiping about her. Your sister was sweet.”
Quentin didn’t look convinced, but he seemed to let it drop. “So that’s all that’s distracting you? Worrying Jareth will make you go back?”
Samuel sighed. “There’s always a lot on my mind. Perhaps we can talk later.”
“Do you want to quit?”
“What?”
“What you do for the king. Do you want to quit?”
“Possibly. Depending on how some other things go.”
Quentin hugged Jesse closer. “I’d like it if you did something else.” His gaze went to the ground, and he lowered his voice. “I have nightmares. Sometimes.” He lifted his eyes, a noticeable sadness visible there. “About learning you died in some horrible way.”
Despite the heat of the twin suns, Samuel felt cold. “You’ve never told me that.”
“Of course not. It’s embarrassing.”
“Don’t be embarrassed. I worry about you, too. Out here alone. Both of you.”
Quentin started to say something else, but a horse and cart pulled up in front of the house. Quentin handed Jesse over as he waved at the man climbing down from the cart. “Watch him for a bit. Those are the milk bottles from the inn. I need to count them and sign for them.”
“Sure.” Samuel took Jesse, who immediately began to wiggle. He walked to calm him a bit. Jesse seemed to like Samuel, but he was only really content if Quentin held him.
I need to tell him tonight. Make him understand why I risked defying the king.
Samuel turned back to watch Quentin, wondering what would happen next. To Jesse, he said, “What do you think? Should I go for it?”
Jesse nuzzled his neck and then held his hand up to the sky, waving it around before looking at Samuel and laughing.
“I’m going to assume that’s a yes.” Looking back at Quentin again, he said, “Maybe soon, we really will be a family.”
Jesse began wiggling again, and Samuel let him down, grasping his hand and letting himself be pulled across a field toward the sandbox Quentin had set up for Jesse to play in. Samuel let himself get lost in building castles and fortresses with sand and rocks, for a time.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

New Release: His Prince Submits (The Veiled Court 1)

His Prince Submits is the first book in my new mm fantasy series, The Veiled Court.



Alexander, the crown prince of the Fey, is awakened in the middle of the night and summoned to his father’s chambers. He worries his father might be dying, but he soon learns of a very different tragedy. Every man and woman among the Fey has a cariad, another person who will make them complete, according to legend. Alexander finds out within moments not only that his cariad is a man but also that the king banished this helpless young man from the Fey realm ten years ago in a selfish act of prejudice and superstition. Furious and frantic, Alexander sets out to find the man who holds the other half of his heart—and bring him home.


Excerpt:

Sebastian tried to focus on the words in his textbook, but he felt pretty sure that three of the four other men sitting on the patio of the cafe were watching him. Two of them appeared to be close to his age, but the one in the corner was probably about thirty. Sebastian cleared his throat and ran his napkin over his face as he glanced down at his shirt to see if he’d spilled something. The one sitting the closest to him had a great body and bright blue eyes, and he’d smiled at Sebastian briefly a few minutes ago.
Throwing a glance at the other two guys again, Sebastian debated what to do. Was the guy interested in him? What about the other two guys? And if there was something that interesting about him, why wasn’t the fourth guy paying any attention to him? He closed his book and went to the bathroom, carefully inspecting his appearance. Not a single hair was out of place. He sighed and washed his hands. Maybe it was just a coincidence. There might be something behind him or across the street that the three men kept looking at.
There’s one way to find out. He exited the bathroom and gathered his things, taking his check inside to pay. When he came back outside to leave, the fourth guy passed him to go inside and pay his own bill. Sebastian held the door for him and then looked around the patio. The hot guy smiled at him again, so Sebastian went over to him.
“Hi. I’m Sebastian.”
The guy looked briefly stunned, which made no sense given the way he’d been staring. But then he smiled and nodded in greeting. “I’m Stefan.”
Sebastian adjusted his backpack and asked, “Would you like to get a drink later?”
Now, the guy’s eyes widened, a look of pure panic coming to his face. He cleared his throat and put his napkin on the table, grabbing for his check. “Uh, actually, I have to go meet my … girlfriend.” He stood, his eyes darting around in seeming embarrassment. “Excuse me.” He moved past Sebastian quickly.
Once again, Sebastian could feel eyes on him. The other two men both averted their gazes when he turned around, but they had obviously witnessed the awkward exchange. He headed for the patio exit, ignoring the younger guy, who had buried his face in a novel. The older man sat right by the exit to the parking lot, and he looked up at Sebastian with an almost sad expression on his face, which puzzled Sebastian.
Sebastian nodded, trying to be polite even though he wondered why the guy had been staring at him. “Not the first time I’ve been shot down,” Sebastian said softly as he passed the man.
“No accounting for taste,” the man said.
Sebastian stopped. “Or people not knowing what they want.” He nodded back toward the now empty table. “That guy kept staring at me, then ran away when I talked to him. Said he had a girlfriend. Not sure if he was lying or not.” He paused. “Sorry. I’m rambling.”
“Quite all right. And you’re not rambling.” He stood up, and Sebastian had to tilt his head back to look up into his eyes. The man tossed down a twenty, even though he’d only had a coffee and a slice of pie, and clasped his hands together in front of him. “If you’re still free for a drink later, I’d love to buy you one.”
The guy was handsome—tall and muscular with short, wavy dark hair and light green eyes—but Sebastian’s attraction to older men had never worked out in the past. The last one had given him grief for his fake ID, even though Sebastian would be twenty-one in just a few weeks. “Actually, I probably need to study. Thanks, though.” Sebastian smiled and hurried away. As he got into his car, he turned and saw that the man he’d been talking to hadn’t moved. He stood there, just staring down at the multi-colored bricks that made up the patio floor. Sebastian put his backpack on the seat beside him and pulled his phone out, checking his calendar. He didn’t have any exams for over a week. What harm could a few drinks do? He slipped his phone into his pocket and opened his car door again, but as he straightened up, he saw that the patio was completely empty. He scanned the parking lot but didn’t see anybody. Both men had simply vanished.
After a brief hesitation, he moved to go back inside. The money was still on the table, so the man hadn’t taken his bill inside, but maybe he’d gone to the bathroom. Sebastian went in to look for the man, but the cafe was almost empty since it was mid-afternoon. Sebastian checked the bathroom as well, and the hostess looked at him when he came out.
“Everything all right, sir?” she asked.
“Fine. I was just looking for the man from the patio. Very tall with black hair. He was sitting right by the parking lot, in the corner.”
She shook her head. “He didn’t come in, sir. I’m sorry.”
“Thanks.” Sebastian looked around as he returned to his car, not sure why he cared. He laughed at himself. Should’ve said yes when I had the chance. He hopped in his car and went home, feeling cheered by the sight of his new place. The white-columned antebellum house had been split into apartments, but many of its unique details had still been beautifully restored. Right now, there was only one other resident, and she was very quiet. It had proven a wonderful retreat from the chaos of dorm life. He thought of the last couple of parties he’d been to and how he’d made no progress with any of the guys he’d met either time.
“Nothing wrong with a night in,” he said to himself as he mounted the thirty-two steps that wound up the hill and took him to the beautiful porch that stretched along the entire front of the house. He put his backpack on the porch swing and pulled out his book again, trying to get lost in the French Revolution and forget about the handsome man he could’ve been spending this evening with.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

New Series Coming Soon: The Veiled Court

I haven't posted in a while and wanted to let everyone know a new series would be coming this summer.

His Prince Submits is the first in a new gay fantasy series set in the land of the fey. More details will be coming soon. Watch my blog for updates on the new series.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tale As Old As Time: Given to the Beast by Adam Charles

Welcome to my blog! This month, I'm showcasing lots of retellings of Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite fairy tales. Today we have a dark fantasy version, Given to the Beast by Adam Charles.


Michael has never been afraid of any challenge. When the tyrannical beast that rules his land demands a mate—a strong, virile man—Michael volunteers. He does so to save his village from the creature’s wrath and prevent the beast from following through with his threat and coming in the night to steal a mate. He goes to the castle certain he knows exactly what he’s in store for, but what he actually finds changes his life forever.




Excerpt:

Michael stepped out of the tub and watched the rivulets of water flowing down his body and wetting the ground. He dried himself carefully. The strong sage soap he’d washed in smelled too strong for his own taste, but it was traditional. Beyond the high fence, he could hear people whispering. Small groups had been gathering near his home all day. What were they all thinking? He had volunteered, of course, but he imagined everyone had a different idea as to why.
Turning his gaze toward the castle, he sighed. He knew many probably thought he was heartbroken over his wife’s death, but they had never been in love. It had saddened him to lose the woman who had been his companion for two years, but Daria had only been a friend. She’d been in love with another man, one who had abandoned her. She and Michael had only lain together a dozen or so times. They had cared for each other, but never truly loved each other.
Michael began to dress in the leather breeches and tunic he’d been instructed to put on. He would go to the castle with nothing else. All would be provided there, he’d been told. It had only been a week since the last girl had come back. Two months ago, the tyrannical beast that ruled their land had demanded a mate. He’d sent every single girl away, but this time, the girl had come back to her people with a message.
The beast didn’t want another timid maiden. He wanted a strong, muscular male.
Everyone had been shocked and insisted the girl’s brain was addled. She’d produced a handwritten note, which had been put on display in the square. Michael had ruminated for two days before going to the village elders and volunteering. Then they’d all thought he was the one who was addled. But by the end of the night, they’d agreed, finally understanding that no one else would go willingly. The creature that dwelled in the shadows of the castle would come down at sunset and steal a mate for himself if one was not given to him today. The last time they’d defied the beast, there had been bloodshed. Michael had been too young to understand what had happened, and no one liked talking about it. The creature had also once used his sorcery to block out the sun for three days. Michael had always respected the beast’s power but never feared him.
Michael thought about the beast as he straightened his tunic, which had no laces in front and fit him snugly to show off his chest and abs. He ran his hand down his body and wondered how it would feel to be touched by a clawed hand. The mysterious beast that had ruled over them since before Michael’s birth was taller and more broad shouldered than Michael. He never wore anything more than boots and leather breeches. His body was covered in short black fur, yet he was muscular just like ordinary humans. The strength of those muscles could be seen any time he exerted himself. His face was like a lion’s, his yellow eyes piercing and his hair a dark, wild mane. His rounded, cat-like ears swiveled to take in sound, and people often stayed quiet when he was near, out of fear. He was like something out of a fairy story, as if a man had killed a beast and then clothed himself in the pelt. He had fangs and could roar when provoked. The sound was not as loud or bold as a true beast’s, but it scared everyone nonetheless. One-inch claws tipped his fingers. Some of the girls had come back with faint scratches on their bodies.
“Michael?”
Michael turned to see Joshua, one of the elders, looking at him. “It’s time?”
Joshua nodded. “Yes, the carriage is ready.”
Michael felt the people watching him, and even as they whispered their concerns, he knew they were all relieved.
They set off, and Joshua gazed out the window as they wound up the hill to the castle. “It’s a brave thing you’re doing.”
“We can’t fight the beast. It might kill again if we don’t do what it asks. It’s better that I go willingly than that some youth is dragged from his bed tonight. Or a father taken from his family.”
“Yes, it is better.” He sighed and then added, “It harmed none of the girls at least.”
“But it frightened them all half to death. I don’t frighten so easily.”
“You might when that thing tries to mount you.”
Michael took a deep breath and pushed it out slowly. “I’ve lain with men before. I won’t break.”
Joshua finally made eye contact. “If you say so.” He pointed to the castle. “There’ll be no escape. Those gates will close, and you won’t get out again unless the thing opens them for you.”
“I know that.”
Joshua shifted and lowered his voice. “Do you mean to kill it?”
Michael shook his head. “Do you go into the dark cave and lose yourself in its twists and turns to kill the bear?”
Joshua gave a shrug. “Perhaps while it sleeps.”
“And then our kingdom would be vulnerable. The conquering hordes only stay away for fear of the beast’s enchantments and strength.”
The carriage stopped, and Joshua stiffened a moment before getting out and holding the door open. The horses grew restless and tried to back up, and the driver had to jump down to hold them steady. Michael descended and looked at the castle gates.
“Go on, lad, and may the gods have mercy on you.”
“The gods allowed this creature to exist. I’m not sure I want their mercy.” He straightened his back. “I won’t be harmed, Joshua. Perhaps he’ll let me out on a leash when he comes to the village next time.”
“Don’t joke.”
Michael laughed without humor. “Who’s joking? I’ll not have my liberty if he likes me.” The gates opened as the driver got into position again.
Joshua scrambled back into the carriage, and the driver turned the horses around and took off. Michael gazed back at them a moment before entering the garden. A kind of orderly chaos greeted him. Flowers and bushes and vines of every kind wound together in great masses, multi-colored blossoms all around him. He followed the winding path to the castle door and waited. There was no knocker of any kind, only the blood-red wood before him. The beast had to know he was here, since the gates had opened and closed for him.
Michael heard footsteps on the stones behind him, and a large shadow fell over him as the door opened. Michael held his head up high and waited, staring into the castle instead of turning to look at the beast.
“Turn around so that I might have a look at you,” the beast said.
The deep voice boomed directly behind Michael, and he turned slowly. The beast was over a foot taller than him and a good bit wider as well, far more imposing than Michael had remembered. Heat poured off the creature, and Michael watched his muscular chest rise and fall.
A rumble came from the beast’s chest. “At least they listened this time. What is your name?”
“Michael.” He looked up into the beast’s eyes. “Am I permitted to know yours?”
Those yellow eyes looked amused, and the beast licked his lips, his fangs showing. “If I tell you my name, you can never leave.”
“Do you think to send me back? If I don’t please you?” Michael clasped his hands behind his back to keep his restless hands still.
The beast pressed closer. “You please me. And I will please you, if you let me.”
“I’m here to save my village and my people. I came here to stay, so you might as well tell me.”
“My name is Kyros.”
Michael shifted his stance as he turned the name over in his mind. “Is that what I’m allowed to call you?”
Kyros nodded. “How did they persuade you? Are you always so brave?”
“I volunteered.”
Kyros stood perfectly still, and then a smile curved his lips. “You came willingly to be my mate? To writhe beneath me as I sate my lust within your body?”
Michael lowered his eyes. “I didn’t think of it that way, but yes.” He lifted his gaze. “I know I’m here to be fucked.”
Kyros gestured to the door. “Then come in. You’ll need a bath.”
“I bathed before I came.”
“Yes, in that horrid sage concoction the villagers believe wards off evil.” The doors closed behind them, the candles in the hallway lighting as they walked. “I’ve had to wash every one of you. Do they not understand how keen my sense of smell is?”
“You could’ve told them not to.”
“No matter. It will give me a chance to touch you before dinner.”
Michael’s steps faltered a bit. “Touch me?”
A laugh rumbled from the beast. “Yes. I shall bathe you myself.” He leaned close. “You shall get to examine me as well. See what you’re in for.”
“You will only touch me?” Michael asked, very aware of how near Kyros was.
“Are you so eager?”
Michael flicked his glance up. “Merely curious.”
“You look at least thirty. You’re no virgin.”
“No. I’ve lain with four women and two men. One was my wife.”
“Your wife?”
“Daria. She passed away.”
“Did you leave a lover to come to me?” Kyros opened the door to a huge bathing chamber of blue and white marble. “I’m very jealous, you see. I must know.”
“No. Daria has not been dead a year yet. I have no lover.”
Kyros smiled again, his eyes raking up and down Michael. “From this night on you will.” He waved his hand, and steaming water poured from several mounted, silver lion’s heads. A sunken tub lined with blue marble took up half the room. It filled quickly, and Kyros fixed his gaze on Michael.
“Undress. Let me see you.”
Michael obeyed, feeling warm under the scrutiny. He made himself keep his hands at his sides when he was done. Kyros approached and walked around him, not touching yet.
“You look strong. You must work outside.”
“I was a woodcutter. I also worked the farms when I was needed.”
One clawed hand slid gently down his back and then cupped his ass. The claws weren’t sharp, but they were hard, and Michael knew they could cause pain if Kyros wanted to do so.
“Get in the water,” Kyros said, giving Michael a little pat on the ass.