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.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Tale As Old As Time: Foxfire by Yuki Edo

Welcome to my blog! This month, I'm showcasing lots of retellings of Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite fairy tales. Today's offering takes the premise of "Beauty and the Beast" in another direction, but there is still a mysterious beast, a magic mirror, an enchanted mansion, and a curious captive. Read on to find out more about Foxfire by Yuki Edo.



Hiro didn’t think anything could amaze him more than his brother’s revelation that their family’s prosperity comes from the favor of the kami Inari. Yet Hiro soon learns that Inari’s kitsune, fox spirits who act as messengers, watch over his family in exchange for yearly tribute—and this year, Hiro has been requested as an offering by one of the mysterious fox spirits. Hiro’s brother takes him to a strange mansion one night, and Hiro is left at the mercy of Masaki Kitamura, who has yet to reveal what he has planned for his young visitor…


Excerpt:

Masaki gazed into the mirror and watched Hiro talking with his brother.
“Why on earth would he want such a thing?”
Masaki wished he could pass through the mirror and answer Hiro’s question himself. Akira presented the situation as a purely professional relationship, but Masaki had told Akira the truth. He’d come to trust the current head of the family, and Masaki could see he’d been right to do so. Akira had been surprised to hear Masaki confess his feelings for Hiro, but he had also been pleased. Akira believed Hiro was “closeted” and in denial about his desire for the company of other men. Very delicately, Akira had told Masaki about some sketches he’d found once. Masaki knew all about them. He’d even watched Hiro draw many of them, watched the young man touch himself afterwards.
Masaki refocused away from those thoughts. He wasn’t ashamed of his voyeurism—he spied on humans all the time for Inari—but he wanted to see how Hiro would take these revelations. Akira and Hiro continued to talk. Hiro didn’t become angry, but he refused to believe any of the supernatural parts of the story Akira presented to him. Akira showed patience, and before long Hiro said he would consent to the business arrangement with no hesitation if Akira would tell him the truth. Akira sighed, but he didn’t back down. Hiro gazed at the floor a long time, and more than anything, Masaki wanted to touch him, to push his hair away from his face and caress his cheek.
“Fine. I’ll do it, but only for a month or so. My lease is up in a few days. We’ll go then, but I’ll need time to look for a new place. What kind of hours will I have to work? I have a couple of projects to tie up before I begin anything new.”
Masaki’s heart pounded so loudly he didn’t hear what Akira said in reply. Hiro was coming. It didn’t matter that the young man didn’t believe yet. He would soon enough.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tale As Old As Time: Bargain with the Beast by April Andrews

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, contemporary retelling, Bargain with the Beast by April Andrews.


When Tobias Thorn sees a hooded figure abducting a young girl, he doesn’t think twice before racing to the girl’s rescue. Only he isn’t quite quick enough...because the next thing Tobias knows he’s waking up in a cavernous room, his hands and wrists bound to an equally cavernous bed, with his chances of escape looking pretty damn slim.

But Tobias is not a man to take things lying down. He’s going to find his way back home no matter what it takes! But then he meets his abductor and realizes things aren’t quite that simple. Tobias has entered a world unlike anything he has ever known before. If he wants his freedom, there is only one way he is going to get it, by making a bargain with the Beast...


Excerpt:
“You’ve abducted me,” Tobias said, his tongue suddenly feeling too big for his mouth. “Chained me to the bed. You’re not letting me leave. Why on Earth would I be attracted to you?”

The Beast smiled, and as he did so Tobias couldn’t help but notice the way his yellow eyes seemed to glow. “Because you’re responding to my desires,” he said. “The fact that I want you? You feel it and you’re responding to it.”

His words were so close to what Tobias had thought as they walked the tunnels of this underground town that he shivered. If he didn’t know better, he’d start to think the Beast was a mind reader or something. From the beginning—and it was just a few hours ago—it was like this man knew exactly how Tobias was going to act, how he was going to respond, even what he was going to say. It was too much. Too intense on top of everything that had already happened. Tobias held up his hands. “Stop,” he said. “Just stop.”

The Beast sighed, and then to Tobias’ absolute horror, and intense, unwelcome delight, he took the edges of his tee-shirt…and in one smooth move he pulled it over his head.

Tobias could do nothing but gape at him. Shock fizzling through every cell of his being. The Beast was muscled in all the right places, worse, he was dusted in a light sprinkling of tawny hair, and Tobias had always been a sucker for hairy men. The urge to step forward, to run his hands over those muscles, made Tobias gasp again. He could imagine catching his fingers in the curls…tugging on them…

He swallowed hard. His hands itched, his heart raced, and his cock thickened in an instant. The reaction was so swift, so visceral, that Tobias didn’t know what to think of it. He could only take a deep shuddery breath.

“There is no stopping,” the Beast said, his eyes fixed hard on Tobias. “Not now. Not after you ran. Perhaps if you had done as I asked I would have been able to control myself for longer.” He shrugged. “But you’ve awoken it now, Tobias. I can’t stop it.”

“I—”

“Feel it, Tobias,” the Beast added. “It is pulsing between us. There is only one way to sate it.”

“It?” Tobias asked. “It?”

The Beast smiled. “Desire,” he said. “It’s been there from the very beginning. It has always been just a matter of time until I had you.”

He is not for you…

Those words spoken to Gregovitch, the words spoken now, they brought a million different images to Tobias’ mind, and it was ridiculous but he actually felt weak-kneed. He knew exactly what the Beast was talking about, and he shuddered at the thought of doing those things, not because he didn’t want to, but because he did, so badly…in that moment Tobias realized why he had taken so long to run, why he had let his curiosity override his fear.

He wanted to be fucked by the Beast.

But he didn’t want to want it.

“I just want to go home,” he whispered.

The Beast lowered his hands until they were on the top of his jeans. Tobias gulped at the intent of that movement. “Only I have the power to grant that,” he said.

“Because you rule here,” Tobias breathed.

“Precisely.”

“Then grant it,” Tobias said. “Please.”

The Beast shook his head, and then slowly, like he wanted Tobias to see every movement, he popped the button of his jeans. “That is not how it works,” he said. “Here if you want something you have to give something.”

And so Tobias asked, though he feared he already knew the answer to his question. “What do you want?”

“The same thing I have wanted since I set eyes on you.”

“I prefer to pick my lovers,” Tobias said. “Not have them forced on me.”

The Beast laughed and pulled on his zipper. “You would like nothing better than to have me in your bed, and, I suspect, some force will simply arouse you all the more.”

“No.”

“Yes, Tobias,” he said, almost chidingly. “I see the lust darken your eyes when you look at me. You want this. You want me to bend you over and sink my cock into your pucker.”

Tobias’ dick pulsed and he closed his eyes, as if to block out the images the Beast’s words had created. “No…”

“You want me to force inch after inch of my length into your luscious lips.”

And thickened ever further. “No…”

“And we’re going to do that, Tobias,” the Beast whispered. “There is no choice anymore. Not if you want what only I can give.”

Tobias snapped his eyes open. “To go home.”

“Precisely.”

“So if I do this…”

The Beast removed his hands from his zipper and crossed his arms. “Then I may grant your request.”

“May?”

“If you are as beautiful as I suspect,” the Beast said. “If it is as good as I have been imagining it will be.” He paused, and then he smiled, that same smile that had made Tobias shudder in the very beginning. “If you please me then yes, Tobias Thorn, I will allow you to go home.”

Monday, March 20, 2017

Tale As Old As Time: Under His Beast by Victoria Vallo

Welcome to my blog! This month, I'm showcasing lots of retellings of Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite fairy tales. Today I'm featuring another fantasy version, Under His Beast by Victoria Vallo.


Matthew arrives in the land of the prosperous Faeles—a feline-like race—as an indentured servant, thinking he'll be doing nothing but working for the next two years. But the handsome males all react to him in a way no one ever did back home. He once thought he'd never have a chance to explore the desires he's always had, but it soon becomes clear that he's going to be more than spoiled for choice among the exotic Faeles...




Excerpt:

Matthew helped Petyr load the bags of grain into his cart. A male Faeles with golden fur came up to Petyr, clapping him on the back.
“I see you finally got some help,” the male said.
“Yes.” Petyr beckoned Matthew over. “This is Matthew. Matthew, this is Garren.”
Matthew smiled. “Nice to meet you.”
Garren’s gaze raked over him. “A pleasure. How long will you be with us?”
“Two years.”
Garren smiled. “So I’ll be seeing you often. I live in the house across the pond behind Petyr’s. We share some fields, alternating crops each year.”
“I volunteered to send him to Geraint, so he’ll be there for a month or two.”
“Ah, you should find that exciting. Our sorcerer is … interesting.”
Petyr shook his head and laughed. “You’re trying to scare him because you think he’s cute and want to keep him around.”
Garren shrugged. “Can’t blame me for trying.” He smiled at Matthew. “If either of them work you too hard, I’ll give you sanctuary.”
“I’m sure I’ll be fine,” Matthew said, knowing his face was red.
Garren moved off when someone called his name, and he and Petyr went back to loading bags. Once they were headed back to Petyr’s, Matthew finally found the courage to ask, “Do you really think he found me attractive?”
“Garren?” Petyr glanced at him oddly and gave him a slow smile. “Your clerics weren’t very thorough, were they?”
“What do you mean?”
“Humans are as exotic to us as we are to you. But I’m sure you probably never gave that any thought. Faeles males tend to like that humans are smaller and more fragile. Brings out the machismo, you could say.”
“So, lots of males might find me appealing?”
“Yes, but you can turn them down despite your status here. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, come to me.” He looked at Matthew seriously. “Especially since it would be your first time, I take it?”
Matthew nodded. “Yeah. I’m just surprised. Girls back home were far more impressed by my brothers.”
“Because you’re short and not muscular?”
“Yes.”
“You’d be smaller than most of us even if you were a foot taller and solidly built. Don’t dwell on it.”
Matthew wondered how it would be if he did meet someone special. His family would be disappointed, but they just might understand, in time, if he wanted to stay here as a mate. He could find work and send money home if he did that. One of his brothers had already suggested he take work after the two years were over if the Faeles offered him anything.
“Ask me anything you like. Geraint is wiser than any of us, but he’s hard to pin down sometimes.”
Matthew wanted to ask if Petyr found him attractive, but he didn’t want to seem forward or appear to be fishing for a compliment. “I don’t mean to sound so down on myself. It’s just that you’re all so beautiful.”
Petyr smiled. “All of us?”
Matthew swallowed. “Yes.”
“Then you may have many options if you wish to gain more experience.”
Matthew blushed again. “I think the pheromones are starting to get to me.”
“Probably. I’m seeing my lover tonight, so I’m a bit … on edge. He’s been away for a month.”
“You have a lover but don’t live with him?”
Petyr shook his head. “We typically don’t live together until we select a true mate.” He parked the cart and jumped to the ground, coming around to help Matthew down. “Not to reinforce our reputation as wicked decadents, but if you wish, you could spend the evening with us. My lover’s name is Erik, and he’s a very gentle male. We could do anything you wished.”
Matthew thought he might faint, though he wasn’t sure if it was fright or excitement making his heart race. He swallowed. “I think that would be leaping without looking, as they say. I just got here, and I am a bit overwhelmed.”
“That’s fine,” Petyr said as he threw a bag of grain over his shoulder. “But I wished to make the offer. I think you were afraid to ask, but yes, I find you attractive as well.”
Matthew took up one of the bags as well and followed Petyr through a door that led to the pantry off the kitchen. “Everyone speaks of such things openly here. At home, it’s so different. So many topics are forbidden.”
They went back outside, and Matthew took up a crate of apples. “I make a pretty good apple pie, if you like them.”
Petyr smiled “I do. Thank you.” He grabbed another bag of grain and fell into step with Matthew. “We see no reason not to speak of such things. We try to be understanding of human ways.” He set the bag in the corner and straightened. “But to be honest, you seem curious. I saw you on the ship watching everyone.”
Matthew put the apples on the table where Petyr pointed. “I am. As you said, I’m certainly old enough to have lovers.”
“I was very curious when I was young. Wild, even. I look forward to having a mate one day, just not quite yet.”
“How do you know when you’ve found a good mate?”
They brought in the rest of the bags of grain as Petyr explained. “It’s part instinct and part physical chemistry. Sometimes, a lover’s scent strikes you differently. Or it could be something unconscious. My mother knew she wanted my father as her mate when another female’s scent made her jealous.”
Matthew followed him back outside. “So you can tell if someone you’re standing close to has been with another?”
“Yes. By the time I take you to Geraint, you’ll smell like me a bit. He’ll likely make you bathe first thing. As I said, he’s traditional. Old-fashioned. While you’re attending him, he won’t want to smell another, male or female.” He unhitched the horses while Matthew swept the cart out.
“So I’d need to bathe after coming for supplies and things? Or interacting with others?”
“Yes, but he’ll explain everything when you get there. He’s thorough. And efficient. That can make he seem kind of gruff and curt, but don’t let it get to you. He’s a softy deep down, just rough around the edges.”
“Sounds like you’re setting me up with your cousin or something.”
Petyr laughed. “You won’t have to worry about that much. Geraint is more interested in study than in sex. He gave up on romance after a relationship went bad years ago. It’ll give you some time to get used to things here.”
Matthew helped him lead the horses into the barn. “He’s not interested in finding a mate?”
“Doesn’t seem to be,” Petyr said. Then with a grin, he added, “So my offer still stands. Erik has his own home, but he’ll likely be staying here most nights.”
“I’ll think on it, though it may be best for me to take the time to get used to things here.” He took up a brush and stroked it over the horse, soothing her and picking leaves from her mane. “Do many humans take lovers right away?”
“Yes, though I hear they often deny it when they go back home.”
“They must. I’ve certainly never heard anyone talk about it openly. When I got here, I was intimidated.” He lowered his eyes, knowing he still was. “I was shocked to hear you say the males here would find me appealing.”
“The females will as well. They like the gentleness of humans. Get tired of the strutting and posturing.” He chuckled. “We’re a testosterone-ridden race.”
“You’re open and warm, too, though. I like it. Everyone in the market was friendly.”
“Yes, and many a male eyed you. I had to give them a glare that said you were with me.”
Matthew paused in his brushing. “Sounds like I’ll not be going home with my virtue intact.” He smiled to let Petyr know he wouldn’t mind.
“You won’t miss it,” Petyr said with another chuckle.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Tale As Old As Time: Owen and the Beast

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 retelling set in my fantasy world of Valladora: Owen and the Beast.

Seeking to ease his loneliness, Owen sets out to meet his last remaining relative, someone he never knew because of an old family scandal. He’s trying to find his way in life, his path uncertain and his heart having been broken more than once.

Suffering under a demonic curse that can never be lifted, Edmund hides away in Erimooor Lodge so he doesn’t have to deal with the pity and fear his appearance inspires. Though many in the nearby village accept him as he is, he knows not everyone will have that ability to tolerate his animal-like appearance.

Owen makes his living as a storyteller, enthralling others with fantastical tales. Little does he know that the gods have something amazing planned for him when he meets the real “Beast of Erimoor Lodge” and finds out how wrong all the old legends are.


Excerpt:

Owen hoisted himself up onto the boulder and pulled his boot off, crying out at the unexpectedly sharp pain. He stared down at his rapidly swelling ankle. Cursing, he fumbled for his bag, which had gone flying when he’d caught his foot in a rut in the road and been thrown forward. He’d actually done more damage pulling his foot out of the rut, and that pissed him off. He looked down the road and tried to guess how far away he was from his aunt’s village. He thought it had to be at least five or six more miles, but he didn’t really know. There was supposed to be an inn coming up soon, but he didn’t know its exact location either. What he did know, however, was that he didn’t see anyone coming from either direction on the road.
He barely managed to drag his bag over without falling off the boulder. He dug around in the deep, overstuffed bag, hoping to find something to wrap his ankle with, perhaps even brace it. Even though he’d known he didn’t have anything, he still felt dejected when he cinched up the drawstring and dropped his bag back to the ground. Dirt flew up, making him cough, and he looked up to the sky. It had been so dry lately he’d been praying for rain, but now he hoped it held off since he might get stuck in it. Fluffy clouds floated to his left, but the clouds to his right were darker. He looked around to find some shelter, but he couldn’t see any. Only open fields lined this part of the highway.
Owen sighed and wiggled his ankle, cringing at the pain. He could always rip the hem off one of his shirts to bind it, but walking any distance would only make things worse. His aunt would know just what to do, but she was miles away. Should he keep it still or move it? Should he elevate it? Questions raced through his mind as he heard hooves beating in the distance. He jerked his head up and began waving frantically as soon as the horse became visible over the ridge.
A man about his age rode up on an enormous black stallion. He made the horse stop and jumped down right away. The enormous animal seemed formidable, but it stood calmly and looked on as its master rushed over to Owen. The man actually appeared much younger up close, a huge grin on his face as he pushed his messy brown hair out of his eyes.
“Hi! You look like you need some help!” the man said, still grinning.
Owen had never seen anyone express concern so happily. He shifted on the boulder and said, “Yeah. I sprained my ankle, and I’m still miles from my destination.”
“Where are you heading?” he asked.
“The next village. The small one by the mountains in Lady Christobel’s dominion. My aunt lives there.”
“Oh. That’s many miles away still. You’d never have made it by dark even if you hadn’t hurt yourself. There is a little inn about four miles up, but my home is much closer. I live in the lodge just over this next hill, off in the woods.”
“I’d appreciate it, but I don’t want to impose.” He straightened. “I’m Owen.”
The man laughed. “Sorry. My master would roll his eyes at me and my thoughtlessness. I’m Lane. Nice to meet you, despite the circumstances.”
“Your master? You’re a servant?”
“Yes, sort of.”
“You mentioned a lodge. A hunting lodge?”
“Well, it used to be.” Lane bent down and looked at Owen’s ankle. “Hmmm. I need to see to this, but I don’t have anything for a splint. I’ll tell you whatever you want to know on the way.”
“Thanks. I really appreciate it. I was worried about getting stuck out here in the rain,” Owen said as Lane picked up Owen’s bag and hefted it over this shoulder. Glancing to the stallion, Owen sighed. “I know I can’t walk, but I’m not sure I can get up on him. He’s enormous.” Lane was also half Owen’s size, so he wasn’t sure how much help the man would be in getting him up onto the horse. “Maybe if I can stand on one foot and put all my weight on you, I can make it.”
“Oh, don’t worry. We can get you up there.” Lane made a clicking sound with his tongue, and the stallion came right over to them. Speaking to the horse as if it understood every word, Lane said, “This is Owen. We’re going to take him home with us. He needs our help.” Then he pointed at the ground.
To Owen’s shock, the horse actually lay down and then turned to look at the two men. Lane held his hand out.
“Here. Just swing your injured leg over. I’ll steady you.” He frowned. “No, wait, I’ll move to the other side.”
Lane moved to the other side of the stallion and reached his hand over. Owen grasped his hand and threw his injured leg over, pulling himself into position to sit properly in the saddle. Once Owen was situated, Lane smiled at him and clicked at the horse again. Lane held to the horse’s reins and urged him up slowly. The powerful animal got to its feet easily, and Lane walked around to fetch Owen’s other boot.
As they began their journey, Owen asked, “Your master won’t mind an unexpected visitor? I can pay, of course.”
“Nonsense. You’ll be our guest. It’s just me and Lord Edmund day in and day out.” Lane grinned once more. “I’m so excited! I already know exactly what to make for dinner. And I just aired some of the ground floor rooms, so we can move you right in to one of those.”
The title gave Owen pause, as did Lane’s excitement. “Your master’s a vampire?”
“Yes, but he doesn’t like to be addressed by his title. I slip up now and then, and he forgives me. He’s very gracious. Kind and gentle. Would not harm a fly. The best of masters. Good and generous and understanding.” Lane smiled as he kicked at a few pebbles on the road. “I’ve never been happier in my life.”
Owen wondered why Lane was trying so hard to convince him this Edmund was a good man. “You think a lot of your master.”
“Yes, I do.” Lane beamed up at Owen. “I think you’ll like him. I’m sure he’ll like you.”
“Well, once my ankle is bound, I won’t trouble you too much. If I can just rest and then maybe borrow a horse. I promise to bring it back as soon as I can. Or you can accompany me if you like.”
Lane waved his hand. “Nonsense. You should stay until you’re healed. We’d love to have you.”
“I couldn’t impose like that. It will take days. And even if your master is gracious, you haven’t exactly asked his permission.” Worried he might sound condescending, Owen quickly said, “I mean, you know him best, of course, but I hate to put him out in his own home.”
“It’s nothing! Please, I insist. It’s time we had a bit of life and activity about the place.” 
Owen watched Lane for a long time, wondering how things could be lacking in life and activity with Lane and his enthusiasm to contend with.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Tale As Old As Time: Brute by Georgia Fox

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 historical retelling, Brute by Georgia Fox.


When Lady Isabella is granted a husband she knows there can be no refusing. This is the queen's will, and no one refuses the queen. But the husband she is given turns out to be not just any courtier handpicked by the cruel, tyrannical Queen Ingaret.

He is "Brutus", a wild man recently captured from his isolated tropical island. A naked, long-haired, enormous savage, who knows only a handful of words - all learned from a bunch of lusty sailors and none suitable for the ears of a lady. A brute with a manhood that has made him a prize exhibit in the queen's menagerie of rare animals.

Isabella must find some way to tame the beast who is now her husband, but she must also keep the perverted, spiteful queen entertained, for this is not just her future safety at stake. It is his life.

Can this mismatched couple find a way to bond in bed and out of it? Can they live happily forever - and ever after?


Excerpt:
 He was ravenous. The taste of her pussy— not puzzy, she had taught him— was sweeter than wine and went to his head in just the same way. She liked it when he licked her there, so he discovered, and she encouraged him to keep doing it.

When she let her hands slide up and down his body, and across his shoulders, he found he liked that too. It was soothing, made him feel warm in a way he never had before. Warm on the inside. It was a gesture that seemed admiring, for when he was walked out in the yard and there was a bazaar taking place, he had witnessed other women touch cloth like this, running their hands over it and sighing.

And as she explored him with her small, light, gentle hands, he did the same to her body, wishing his hands were as smooth as hers. The dip in her waist was deep when she lay on her side, her hip a high slope that trembled when he licked the curve with his tongue. Her teats were almost too much for his hands to hold and he sucked on them with delight. When he pulled her close and felt her soft belly against the hard ridges of his muscle it brought him such intense pleasure that he let his head fall back and a low rumble came out of his throat— more of a purr than the howl he expected.

His bride caressed the groin-snake with her hands and then her mouth, tasting timidly at first and then growing bolder. Her little tongue tickled his balls and travelled all the way from sturdy root to the fleshy knob that ached and swelled.

Brutus had never had so much good attention focused upon him and he wanted it to go on forever, so he held back his urge to rut and let it build at a slower pace while she played with his body and petted him with tenderness. 
* * * *

When he turned onto his back, Isabella slowly stretched her body over his and licked his eyebrows, then his eyelids. He made a questioning grunt and she laughed lightly. Suddenly she felt immensely powerful. The queen had, no doubt, expected her to feel helpless and dominated by the wild man in bed, but he was not an ogre, or any sort of monster. He was a man. And she would teach him, lead the way through her own deflowering.

From this position she would have more leverage, be able to make the pace suit her better than she would if he lay above.

He ran a hand down her spine, tracing the curve with his long fingers, making her shiver, and then he cupped her bottom in both hands and lifted her.

Poised straddling his cock, Isabella muttered a hasty prayer and then she pressed downward.

Brutus groaned, staring at the sight of his erect manhood slowly penetrating her body. Still gripping her buttocks, his fingers trembled and dug into her flesh.

Every so often she paused, readjusting her position. She leaned forward.

"Kiss me, Brutus."

"Kizz?"

Her heart quaked to think he had never known a kiss. So she tenderly laid her lips to his, tasting the wine and roast peacock from their wedding feast. Inside her pussy, his cock throbbed, causing an echoing flutter to rush through her, radiating from that one tightly filled place. She gasped, jolting, for it made her skin tingle as if lightning had struck.

He pressed his hand to the back of her head, holding her head still, keeping her lips against his. And then, as she was sinking into that kiss, he flipped her over onto her back.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tale As Old As Time: In the Wolf's Tower

Welcome to my blog! This month, I'm showcasing lots of retellings of Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite fairy tales. We'll start with one of my own, In the Wolf's Tower.

****

This story practically wrote itself, which was a bit of an adventure in the first place. I got the idea when my godson Quentin wanted some help understanding Sir Thomas Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur. In the list of the knights of the round table, we stumbled upon this passage, which I thought would be a great jumping off point for a story:

Sir Marrok, the good knight that was betrayed with his wife, for she made him seven year a werewolf . . . Book XIX

In Mallory's tale, he is only stuck in wolf form for seven years, and when he is freed he gets revenge on his unfaithful wife. Now, despite this little bump in the road, he still has a place of honor at the round table and is part of the honor guard, but the king in my story is not quite so noble as King Arthur.

This story is a twist on Beauty and the Beast, but as you'll see as you read, our beast Marrok didn't do anything to deserve his punishment, which makes him want revenge even more. Of course, Josette is not what he expected at all, so his plans for revenge begin to falter and stray the moment she arrives......





Blurb:

Josette’s father needs gold to fight his war, so she goes from princess to prisoner in an instant when Lord Marrok offers the needed treasure in exchange for her. Once her father’s most honorable knight, Marrok is now shunned and feared. Why? Marrok is a werewolf. Josette goes to help her people, and soon discovers that Marrok blames her father for his curse. He claims he wasn’t looking for a bride, but his gaze screams seduction and she soon questions his reasons for demanding her in exchange for the gold. What sort of revenge does he have planned? And what will happen to her once he has her locked away in his castle?
Excerpt: 
Josette entered the kitchen and found Marrok finishing his dinner. “I thought you would want me to do that.”
“Did you? Can you cook?”
She nodded.
“Rare talent for a princess.”
“Not for a bored and sheltered one. I was under the impression I was going to be slaving away in this castle in one way or another.”
He pushed his plate away and stood. “So you imagined yourself chained either to the stove or to my bed, did you?” he asked as he moved toward her.
“My father was vague. He said I owed it to him but that I should expect the worst. When I said I would go willingly, he actually choked on his wine. He seemed pleased though and dismissed me to pack without another word.”
He stood only an inch away from her now. “And given the choice, which would you prefer?”
She looked up into his eyes and tried to ignore the masculine scent of leather. She turned her head and eyed the stove before stepping back and eyeing him as well. His gaze never wavered from her face. “It’s a very nice stove.”
He roared with laughter. “You must be a changeling. You have more wit and personality in one strand of your hair than your parents had put together.”
“I’m my own person. No one and nothing will ever change that.” She went to the table and gathered his dishes. She walked them to the sink and began looking around at the well-equipped kitchen.
“Not even your present situation?”
She let her breath out in a huff. “Are you determined to have me unhappy? What does it matter? My father will never know! For all he knows I’m locked in the dungeon or on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor in rags.”
He let his gaze shift down her body. “I’d stay in the castle more often if you get the urge to spend much time in that position.”
She turned away so he wouldn’t see the flame of color on her cheeks. She told herself she was very lucky he hadn’t forced himself on her. She shouldn’t be having such sexually charged thoughts. A man like him would surely pick up on them and tease her all the more. Or worse, tempt her to act on them.
“I really can cook. I’ll cook every meal if you like. It’s the least I can do for the expense I’ll be to you.”
“Money is of no concern. You’ll learn that soon enough.” He moved to stand behind her, but he didn’t force her to turn around. The heat from his body made her blush even worse, and something about having him so close behind her sent a thrill up her spine. “I eat at eight, one and six. I’ll unlock your door shortly after sunrise every day.”
He walked toward the door, but then he turned. “And leave food out for the cat starting tomorrow. He prefers chicken twice a day. I kill one for him every morning.”
Despite the flush still on her cheeks, she turned to him. “Cat? You’re a werewolf, but you own a cat?”
“Why is that so very odd?” he asked, though he didn’t stay to hear her answer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Catching His Fox (Year of Suns 3)

Catching His Fox, the conclusion to the Year of Suns trilogy, is here!

To learn more about the world of Valladora, click here.



Seeing both of his brothers find happiness with their fated mates has convinced Byron that he can’t simply go on doing nothing. He found his fated mate five years ago, but a tragedy kept him from confessing the truth to Kit. He decides to go back and take a chance, unable to go on living with nothing but dreams of what he could have with his mate.

Kit has lived a quiet, withdrawn life since his parents and brother were murdered, but he’s beginning to wonder what else is out there for him in the world. He’s stunned to learn he’s a vampire’s fated mate, but Byron wins him over quickly with his kindness and patience. Though he isn’t sure he can accept the mate bond yet, Kit sees his chance to explore the world as he learns more about this gentle vampire who has waited five years just to be with him.

BUY LINKS:


Excerpt from Chapter One:

 
Byron adjusted his bag on his shoulder and hurried toward the stables. As he did so, he glanced around in every direction. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to see his parents, but he had stayed away a long time. Telling Vane he was going to pursue his mate was one thing—his brother would keep it a secret, at least for a time. They understood each other, given how Vane had been forced to be without his mate as well for even longer than Byron had. Byron felt too nervous to go into the subject in depth with anyone. He just wanted to get on the road, to start his journey toward Kit and whatever future lay ahead of them. With his mother close to giving birth, he hadn’t expected them to be traveling at all, let alone to actually be at Vane’s castle. He managed to get his bag secured to his favorite black stallion, Saint, and was just about to mount when he heard a throat being cleared behind him.
“What did you do? Grab a quick bottle of blood and head right back out here?” his mother asked.
Byron turned to look at Evane, noting her crossed arms and the rhythm of her foot tapping in the dirt. “I changed clothes and drank some blood. Cleaned up a bit. I had a brief chat with Arion and Vane, too.”
Evane came closer. “And where are you off to in such a hurry? Not back off with His Majesty, I hope. He’ll wear you out.”
Byron tilted his head to look down into her eyes. “I’m not going back to King Jareth. I only lingered as long as I did because I still had some things to think about.”
“Things, hmmm?” She arched one dark brow at him.
“I daresay you already know, given that look in your eyes.”
She smiled, her expression wistful. “A guess. Seeing Vane and Arion has you thinking about your own mate, I’d wager. If they could work things out, there’s hope for anyone, hmmm?”
Byron nodded, as there was no point in denying the truth. “Yes. I’m going to go tell him he’s my mate. And see what happens.” He shifted his weight and ran one hand through his hair. “I might be back pretty quickly.”
Her smile disappeared. “You fear rejection so much?”
“He’s terrified of vampires. He’s also nineteen and might not like men.”
“That often doesn’t matter with mates. Age or sexual preference are only obstacles if you let them be so. The call of the mate bond is strong, even for humans and shifters.”
“Yeah, but there’s no getting around the other problem.”
“I take it you know why he’s scared of vampires? And you know where he is?” A breeze whipped through the stable, and she tucked a few stands of hair away, her quick movements showing her agitation. “We certainly don’t know any of those things. He might as well live on one of the moons, for all we know about him.”
Guilt stabbed at him. He knew his parents worried out of love. “Maggie’s ward. Kit. Over in Gregor’s dominion.”
Evane hesitated, her brows coming together. “But surely he’s over all of that! That madman wasn’t even a real vampire. Just a lunatic. Gregor has said before that Kit’s friendly with him.”
“He has?” Since Byron had kept his mate’s identity a secret from everyone but Maggie until today, the subject had never come up with Gregor. Byron had avoided it, in fact, as he’d avoided the topic in general with everyone else.
“Yes. I mean, Kit’s not crazy about other vampires, but he’s polite, according to Gregor. At least last I heard.” She fixed him with a stern look, recrossing her arms. “It’s been a while since I asked about him, since I had no clue he was my son’s mate.”
Byron thought about apologizing then, but the gesture seemed empty. “He probably trusts Gregor because he saved him.”
“It’s been several years since that tragedy, Byron. Your chances may be much better than you think at this point. He’s grown up and may feel differently.” She shrugged. “I don’t know. Have you been talking to Maggie? What does she say?”
“We’ve written to each other. She gives me general updates and answers some of my questions.”
“But she doesn’t encourage you? Say anything about your chances?”
Byron shook his head. “No. She’s … I don’t know. Stoic, I guess. She seems to think things will work out if they’re meant to. She says being fated mates is no guarantee of anything. That I shouldn’t force it any more than I should abandon hope.” He tried to smile. “You know, the kind of advice that doesn’t help you at all.”
“What does he look like? Is he a red fox?”
“Yes, he shifts into a red fox. And he has red hair and green eyes. Fair skin. He was tall and thin the last time I saw him. And now he’s nineteen, which is of age for humans.” Vampires were still considered minors until they turned twenty-one, but most humans were considered adults at eighteen, often marrying even earlier than that.
“Was that what you were waiting for, him to turn a certain age? Or are you just telling yourself that?”
Though the comment irritated him, Byron came forward and hugged Evane to him. “Mother, I tell myself a lot of things every day. And it’s driving me crazy.”
Evane wrapped her arms around him, as if sensing his pain and struggle. “I don’t mean to push. I’m just frustrated. Don’t mind my teasing. I didn’t mean to upset you either. I know this must be hard.” She hugged him as close as her swollen stomach would allow. “Tell me what you need. Your father and I will do anything. Your brothers, too. All of us.”
“That’s just it.” He stepped back but kept hold of her hands. “I have to be the one who does this. Not you or Father. Not my brothers or their mates. Or Maggie or Gregor. If I can’t even look Kit in the eye and tell him the truth, how can I hope for anything else?”
“But it’s not always easy. Human or shifter, it doesn’t matter. Anyone who isn’t a vampire might react negatively to being a vampire’s fated mate, especially if he’ll be wary of you biting him. You’ll have to have some plan for approaching him. You can’t just walk up to him and announce it.”
Byron chuckled. “I’ll be so nervous I might not be able to talk at all.”
“Oh, shut up. You’re very charming.”
Byron laughed again. “Did you just tell me to shut up? Been years since you said that to any of us.”
She drew her hands away and reached up to cup his face. “Just go. Quit thinking and start doing. If it doesn’t work out, come home. You’re only thirty-five, and this boy is not your only chance at happiness.”
Byron struggled to believe that, even though he knew many vampires—the king and queen included—were happy with mates they hadn’t been fated to by the gods. He patted his mother’s right hand and turned back to Saint, placing one hand on the saddle horn. “You’ll tell Father?”
“Yes. Once you’ve gotten a bit of a start. Hard to say how he might react.”
“He might be angry.”
“Maybe, but it’s your life. Your mate.” She shrugged one shoulder. “Doesn’t mean everyone isn’t going to have opinions, but that’s all they are. I think he’ll be glad you’re taking action, at least.”
Byron mounted his horse and took the reins. “I’ll write to Vane if there’s anything to report. Will you stay here until the baby comes?”
She braced her back with one hand. “Yes. The very idea of getting on a horse or being tossed around in a carriage makes every inch of me ache. I’m staying here.” She smiled. “Arion’s so sweet. He seems excited about having a little one around.” She blinked, her expression changing a bit. “Did they tell you they set a date for their matehood ceremony? It’s another reason we’re staying. I don’t want to miss it in case the baby is stubborn, the way you were.”
“What?”
She actually rolled her eyes at him, rubbing her stomach. “You were two weeks late. I thought I would burst. So, yes, stubborn.”
“Not at all. I just loved you so much.” He grinned at her.
She seemed to be holding back a biting retort as she screwed her lips up. Relaxing and giving a shrug, she finally said, “Well, you get back here if you can. It’s on the last day of the month.”
“I’ll do my best.” Byron thought about Vane and Arion and all the craziness they’d gone through to get their happy ending. Things weren’t perfect, he knew, but they seemed to truly love each other. He’d never imagined they would ever be together, or even see each other again, after what had happened when they first met. Finally seeing Vane so happy gave Byron strength, in a strange way.
Above all, it gave him hope.
“Bye, Mother. Maybe I’ll send home good news soon.”
She smiled and moved aside as he guided the horse out of the stable. “You better. We have a bear and a lycan in the family. A fox would round things off nicely.” She nodded down at her belly. “Maybe the gods will hitch this little one up with a leopard.”
Byron slowed as people all turned to look. He nodded to his mother, watching her laugh. Knowing she’d called out so loudly on purpose, he simply sighed and made his way out of the castle grounds. Seeing her so happy helped keep his resentment, and embarrassment, under control. He had bigger things to focus on than his mother continuing to intentionally embarrass him at his age.