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Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: What if the most dishonorable and despised of shapeshifters married a princess of the Cities? Donte let the darkmages think they'd claimed his beastspirit and for that treason his people condemned him. When a princess of the Cities, against all sense, accepts his offer to Bond, he joins with her knowing he can add her to his arsenal--a valuable tool in his war against the darkmages. But when the dust clears and he should be able to disappear into his bear, he discovers she's not quite done with him. Moriko is desperate to save her Kingdom from the darkmages' chaotic revolution. The lonely princess discovers a connection with a vengeful loner. He bursts into her dreams, a dominant hunter more willful than anyone she's ever met. The passionate lover who seemed wounded reveals himself to be a stone cold killer willing to endanger her and her City. And still, Moriko will not give him up. He's hers and she'll hold him, even against himself.
eBook Publisher: Atlantic Bridge/Liquid Silver Books, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: November 2011
13 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [469 KB]
Reading time: 301-422 min.
What came before...
The land of Vladaya is a wilderness riddled with six magical elements. The two peoples of the world, humans and shapeshifters known as truxet, have different philosophies on how this magic works, how to use it, and indeed, how to live. To their shame, humans have a seventh element they can wield--darkcraft, powered on pain and death (Alpha Within).
To their frustration, the truxet need to interact with the world of Royals, Guilds, and Walls because they bear no daughters of their own (Wild Within). All their mates come from the Seven Cities, although once Bonded, reside in one of the clanhomes of the eleven beastspirit clans (Beast Within). Despite royals and truxet working as allies for millennia, most humans have mixed feelings toward the secretive, animalistic, three-formed warriors.
Vladaya is at war. Darkmages were able to gain strength through the combination of two events. The Mage Guild created a secrecy potion that masks human emotions from truxet senses (Flame Within) and the darkmages discovered a second set of lost sifting stones (Honor Within) that led to an island fortress (Spirit Within). The truxet have dealt a series of blows (Within Reach) that have lessened the power and momentum of the darkmages. However, the clans are faced with a massive protective spell at the fortress which allows only females and darkmages to survive traveling there (Within Reason). The truxet are determined to attack, loathe to endanger women, but have suffered severe casualties in attempting all possible entrances. The Cities grow increasingly unstable through the work of darkmage acolytes hidden in the Guilds, causing intense human bitterness toward the seemingly ineffective truxet.
Into this fiery mix comes a man of the Bear clan, a captured lone alpha who survived the fortress and returned to his clanhome, River Mountain, with key insider information. The darkmages still own him. His people despise him and call for his death. And the humans have never known a trux not bound by rigid codes of honor...
* * * *
Two months after Flame Within
For thirteen months, three weeks, and five days, he'd stood trapped on rocky shores and stared at the sea. He loathed the ocean. The sticky air, the incessant noise, the stench at low tide. When he escaped the island he'd thought he'd never have to see the bobbing expanse again.
It figured his woman would be back here. The elements had abandoned him early. But now he'd found her. Not with their help. Not by luck. By sheer determination and brute force. Pretty much how the last few years had gone. He'd tracked her down, crashed against her earthcraft until he'd made it inside her psyche, and now nothing could stop him from claiming her.
Donte stood on the gritty white beach where she slept in bliss. He looked around--habit--but of course they were alone inside her dreaming mind. The waves were gentle, sliding up innocently toward her curled curves. The ocean was a lying sneak. He grunted and maneuvered between its frilly white foam edge and her. This was her magescape, so everything in it was her own representation.
Did that mean she was a lying sneak? He grinned. Too bad for her, he'd just spent a year being tutored by professional pusbags. No matter how tricky she thought she might be, she was an amateur.
Inhaling, he let Bear sift out the tingle of salt, the nearby stand of palms, and the terraced gardens of orderly flowers. There. There she was. Woman. Lemons and oiled leather. Astringent and durable. His woman. He pushed her cushiony hip with his hand, rolling her weight onto her back. The fluffy blanket she lay on was another girly color. He didn't know the name for it but it was some cross between sky and purple. The blanket changed colors every time he found her. He thought this color was very peaceful. She was feeling rather pleased with herself. Content.
He was nude, so it was easy to reach for his dick and squeeze. He scratched his balls, stretched, and studied her tits, soft and sagging in this position. Her nipples were faint peaks, the same brown-pink as her lips. He bent to the blanket's edge and pulled her farther from the water's reach. She sighed, her face creasing in irritation.
Donte stood near her feet and toed them apart. Her thighs were generous so he had to stretch her pretty wide before he got a look at her inside skin. As always, the scent of her sex brought Bear. He could count the number of times they'd visited her on two hands. Every moment of every dream was carved into his bones. He swelled with satisfaction, pulling on his dick. He'd found her. They'd found her.
Back in real life, things were wrapping up with the clans. It was time for him to move on. Time to tell her about him, to bind her. But he didn't wake her up. He didn't want to talk. They'd talked a little. She was unnerving. It was best when he had this distance of sleep between them, and could just stand here, so proud. Eventually though, Bear's needs grew and the urge to touch sang like starvation-visions. With Bear's yearning, it was acceptable to skip the talking and move straight to her skin, one of the most precious treasures he'd ever beheld.
He knelt between her legs. The blanket fuzzed on his knees, the sand hard beneath him for all it looked soft. Bear panted and rocked from side to side on Donte's internal landscape. Donte stroked his now stiff dick hard and fast. The feeling was strangely intense. He wanted more, more sensation, even though he ached like he'd just gone five days with Russ and his knife. It hurt, but he'd gone to that place beyond.
If there was one thing he'd learned in his adult life, it was when the six elements blinked and he found some odd little drop of joy, he needed to snatch it. He put one hand on her belly, his own abs seizing in shock at the stunning softness.
His grip tightened and he shook the flesh. "Feel me."
Her thin, firm mouth puckered, then she yawned.
Heat burned the tip of his hole. Someday, his flesh would shove down in there. It would be a kind of pain he wasn't familiar with but still craved. Her lips were very close to the color of his dick. It would be like they blended into one being while he fucked her mouth. Those lashes would sweep up, revealing her brown-on-brown eyes.
"Yeah." The vision tipped his need into action. He put his forearms on either side of her, shunted his tip into her open folds, and pushed into a slick, wet, hot clasp.
She squeaked, tensing, and he chuckled. Everything about her face stretched, her mouth in a long tight O, her bladed nose pulling down with it, her eyes flaring wide, her perfect brows arching high.
With a quick tuck-and-flex, he shafted his tip around inside her. He would happily leap into the depths of her warm eyes, climbing through the layers of stripes and rings and flares, glowing so pretty in this bright beach light.
"We found you, Moriko. We found you."
Her body rocked beneath the strength of his thrust. His flesh in hers took most of his awareness. Life was now perfect. He was inside her and she knew it.
Bear rolled and charged, bashing inside him, mad with desire and hope, but he wouldn't let him out. It was enough they'd snuck their way into her forbidden magescape. She didn't really understand him, but she saw him clearly, and while she voiced protests, he didn't believe for a moment he was unwelcome.
This was pleasure. He'd never thought to know it again. He'd found her when he'd gone questing for a way to get the job done, and now he'd hold her as tight as he could. The elements would fight him, of course. Most times they won. Not that he quit trying.
She stiffened beneath him. "Donte-Bear. I told you before, I expect you to wait and ask for an invitation. You shouldn't just come right in here. This is me."
He growled, pushed one arm under her shoulder to hold her nape in his hand, and kept his strokes steady and deep. So fucking hot, that she saw Bear and knew they were a unit. The wet clamp of her overwhelmed him. It was so... so... there were no words for what she was, after what he'd survived.
Her face eased out of shock, but she still looked dazed. "Sacred Mother, you can't take me like this, in my own magescape."
He was fucking her in her own mind. He shivered with the intensity. "I found you. You're mine. Don't fuss. Just feel it, now, good." He let more of his weight settle on her. She worried, but she'd learn. She'd learn what he was, what he wasn't. She might be strong enough to survive what he was going to do.
She wheezed. Her lashes fluttered. Wet dripped out of her and coated his balls.
"Yeah." He could no longer smell the ocean. Only her, their woman.
"I told you, you need to talk to me. Sit with me." Her hands came up and rested on his triceps. Long fingers, straight and lightly callused. "Stop, Donte-Bear. Wait. You leave when you finish and I want to know you."
In answer, he spread his grip on her spine and reached inside her with his dick, arching his hips to press his fat tip into the smallest place left. "So know me."
She opened that deep gaze of earthen lace. Her pupils spun wide, then small.
"We're right. Together. This isn't wrong." He held her gaze, held his crushed cockhead tight in the depths of her. Bear groaned inside him, needing more.
Still she challenged him. "Just because you've found your way here doesn't mean you can--"
He brushed his thumb into the hollow of her ear, there, above her pulse, and stroked down the line of muscle. Her words strangled off, and then, for her, he paused for a moment when he burned to fuck. He lowered his face and pressed his nose to that spot. The scent of her marked his marrow. He shook, growling, unable to take it all in.
She panted, her body squirming beneath him in a demand. "I think about you all day. Compare all my lovers to you. You're so damned perfect, and crazy." Her thumb coasted down his jugular, petting his pulse in return.
Frozen firmly in place while she humped below, he struggled to hold the violence of his need back and take in the moment. Her body beneath him, her breath, her heart's strong drumbeat, the scalding opening he'd lodged himself in, the way her fingers clawed his shoulders. The way he was ruining her life, and how she'd end up being touched by them.
Then she was arching, moaning, thrashing beneath his breath on her throat, clamping hard on his dick. Satisfaction bloomed from watching her and his balls ached, right on the verge.
He returned to stroking her. Shocking, to be pressed so tightly against her. There was a word, a yearning, a craving he sought. He worked himself faster, faster, grunting with each landing. Bear's teeth filled his mouth, aching to sit around the handle of her collarbone and taste her blood.
Her moan dropped, guttural, and Bear went from riding Donte's spine to filling his flesh.
Bear took control.
Donte sighed, relaxing, drifting in the beauty, the sheer wondering beauty, of their woman. He was the one inside. With nothing to worry about now that Bear rode his skin, he studied the fringe of hair that sat across her forehead, and the mole on her jaw by her ear, and noted the way her nipples felt like rigid little rubbing pebbles trapped between their bodies.
Bear fucked her hard. Their body used its full strength, which was fine, because she was theirs. Donte watched the muscles in her neck strain and draw taut. Bear came on a rib-rattling roar, and the tickling lightness of the moment distracted him. He was lost, dazzled by pleasure when it was so far from what he'd known for so long.
When he saw her again a few breaths later, her face was creased, eyebrows mashing down into her eyes. Her neck still strained, her arms clutching, scrabbling to pull his body down, her heels pushing hard into the backs of his thighs. But Bear rocked on a satisfied sigh, dick zinging from the slight remaining shiver.
"More! Please, don't stop."
Bear wanted to continue. He really did. Donte felt him shimmy their hips, settling anew in her soft cradle, but already the pull was on their spirit, the souldance fractured. She was lighter beneath them and the colors flattened, brightening. He could never gather the force to stay with her magescape after he'd finished. Yet he never mustered the will to stretch out the fuck.
"I'm so close!" She twisted, bucking.
"See me," Bear said. "Bond us."
Then they were gone, returned to the isolation of their own mind. Donte sprawled back in the fern frond-nest, replete. The warm foliage of the southern forest closed tight around his lair. This was his magescape. This clearing was secret, impenetrable to any explorers. The vines, trees, and wall of leaves curled around the very heart of him, small, tattered, so shaded it was nearly dark.
There was no use rousing them to leave this mental location, not when his real body was locked up in River Mountain and his mate was somewhere far off among the human Cities.
Bear hummed, fading into sleep. In this place they were two. Bear was three times his size and brown, with golden fur on his muzzle and belly. Reclining on the massive, furred warmth of Bear's back, Donte reached down to clasp his softening dick. He was sticky, and he raised his damp hand up to his face. His own bitterness was sharp, but there was her lemons and leather, mixed with salt. He huffed. No matter what, he couldn't get away from the fucking salt.
Well, she was worth it.