Throwback Thursday!

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Amazon | B&N | Extasy Books | ARe

Secrets long hidden are brought to the surface on the shiny scales of a dragon.

After thousands of years petrified in stone, Jiang is finally free. The search to find his friends leads him to the doorstep of Aden Gale. Will Jiang’s need for his comrades unravel a family’s hidden secrets?

Meeting pigeon shifter Kurtis changes everything for Jiang. Drawn to the sweet man, Jiang vows to find a way to end Kurtis’ curse. However, dark magic works against them, and it will take the combined strength of many people to keep back the tide of destruction coming their way.

 

Excerpt:

 

“Hey, don’t do that. I don’t care if our connection has done something to change my DNA. I’m fine with that.” Aden rubbed his hands up and down Gallen’s back.

“But what if you start experiencing weird abilities?” Gallen asked.

Aden snorted. “What kind of transformation do you expect? Is my voice going to get deeper? Am I going through magical puberty?”

“Funny man. I’m going to keep an eye on you.” Gallen frowned at him.

Aden kissed him on the nose. “Good plan. You should examine me very closely, daily, perhaps naked in bed.”

Gallen laughed. “That could be arranged.”

Aden grinned. “Don’t worry so much love, there’s not much I can’t handle.”

He hoped the words would turn out to be true. Even with the knowledge of shifters, vampires, and sorcerers, Aden still found himself surprised by the variety of paranormals who were out there in the world without humans being the least aware.

A low roar outside yanked Aden’s attention away Gallen. On the other side of the glass a large blue dragon jumped through the water like a porpoise.

“Can no one else hear that too?” Aden asked.

“Not really. Humans will feel a twitch to vacate the area but they won’t hear or see him.”

Aden watched the dragon continue to play in the surf. Every now and then it gave out a cry as if it were calling to someone. A restless urge had Aden shifting uneasily on the couch.

“What’s wrong?” Gallen patted Aden’s chest.

“I don’t know. I think he’s calling to me.”

Gallen sat up then looked from the dragon to Aden and back again. “If you feel compelled to go to it, there could be dragon shifter blood in your family. It could also explain your tattoo.”

“You think so? Then why haven’t I ever shifted?” The thought of changing into a dragon terrified Aden. He’d watched his boys change into an eagle, a bear or a croc but never had he wished to become one himself.

“Maybe you weren’t ready yet. Not much is known about dragons. There aren’t enough of them to study.”

“You don’t have anything in your book?”

Gallen ran his fingers through his hair. “Not the one I have with me, maybe in the coven library. If they even have a library now. I’m the only one who ever cared about the books.”

From Gallen’s wistful tone, Aden know his mate missed his resources.

“We’ll start a new library, babe. We can put up shelves in the spare room.”

The dragon’s cry cut through the air, reverberating the glass.

“Let’s go see what he wants.” Aden’s stomach swirled with nerves. So far the water dragon hadn’t tried to hurt him, but if the beast decided to spit acid at him Aden had no defense. For the first time, Aden didn’t know how to take down a potential enemy. “On second thought, maybe you should stay here?”

The disgusted noise Gallen made had Aden smiling. “If you think I’m going to let you go talk to an acid spitting dragon by yourself, you’ve lost your mind. Now let’s go.”

Gallen stood up and offered Aden his hand. Aden let his mate help him up. They left the condo then crossed the street. No one else walked around in the cool winter air, so they didn’t have to worry about bystanders. Maybe the dragon had subconsciously run them off.

“Dragons tend to have a large territory. The only thing that could be attracting him here is you,” Gallen said as they approached.

“Or you.” Despite the mark on his chest, they didn’t know for sure the dragon was there for him.

“I’m thinking it’s probably here for you, since you saw that other dragon a few weeks back and I haven’t seen any without you present.”

Aden nodded, even though he hated that Gallen might be right. “True. It killed the guys shooting at me. It was a different type of dragon though, not a water one—it was gold and black and had wings.”

“Two dragon sightings within a few weeks can’t be a coincidence.”

“As long as I have my big, bad mate to protect me, I’ll be fine,” Aden teased.

“Damn right you do.” Gallen grabbed Aden’s arm. “Come on, love. Let’s go.”

Gallen steps slowed the closer they came to the beach steps. The dragon had abandoned the water to crawl up onto the sand. It watched them approach with liquid, brown eyes.

“Shift!” Gallen ordered.

The dragon ignored him. The large beast turned its head toward Aden.

“Tell him to shift,” Gallen whispered to his mate.

“Into what?” Aden didn’t know if he wanted the beast any closer.

“Human.”

“Oh, right. If you could shift please, we’d like to talk to you.” Aden politely addressed the dragon as he would a human. If the dragon were like his shifter friends, then he would understand Aden in either form.

For a moment Aden didn’t think it would work. The dragon snorted, spewing a fine spray of mist from its nostrils. Before Aden could say anything else a flare of blue light encompassed the dragon. The glow transformed from a large blob of icy fire to a smaller shape. When the light show ended, a slim oriental man in a suit of scales stood on the sand. The shimmering scales fluttered for a bit before transforming into a pair of blue jeans and a T-shirt, an exact copy of Aden’s clothing.

“Hello.” Aden bowed his head slightly to the Asian man uncertain of a proper dragon greeting.

The dragon bowed deeply at the waist toward Aden then straightened. He ignored Gallen.

“Greetings Protector, I am Jiang, a river dragon, first of all river dragons named after the river Jiangguo.”

“I am Aden Gale, and this is my mate, Gallen Theos.”

Finally Jiang examined Gallen as if he found an interesting new fish in the waters. “A sorcerer mated to a dragon—how odd.”

Gallen gasped. “I didn’t know any of you were still around.”

A sad smile curved Jiang’s lips. “There are of five of us that I know of. We’ve been imprisoned in stone for centuries. We’ve only recently been freed.”

“The sea water doesn’t bother you?” Aden asked.

Jiang shook his head. “I might have been formed from a river initially, but all water accepts water dragons. I will never travel to a desert again.”

It was a strange vow for a water dragon to make. Aden would’ve thought it was a rather obvious for an aquatic creature to avoid an arid desert.

“What are you doing here?” Gallen asked, interrupting their discussion of water.

Jiang raised an eyebrow at Gallen but remained silent.

“Answer his question.” Aden nodded toward his mate.

The magical power pouring off the dragon scrambled his brain a bit. It was like standing next to a lightning rod and waiting to be struck with a bolt.

“My fellow dragons and I were turned into stone by the emperor and his sorcerers. We had no chance to elude them once they set their trap.”

“What trap?” Aden questioned. He didn’t like this story. If the dragon was bringing danger to his doorstep Aden had to be ready.

“A dark spell that changed us. They placed fenghuangs and foo dogs as our guardians and companions. Sadly, the foo dogs died when the spell shattered and the fenghuangs went mad from their prolonged captivity. I woke up in the water. I’ve been calling for days but so far no one has answered my beacon except you. I need to find my friends.”

The frantic expression on Jiang’s face pulled at Aden’s heartstrings. His need to help out the lost dragon tugged at him.

“You came all the way from China?” Gallen asked.

Jiang shook his head. “We were brought here and put in a musical theater.”

“That was you? I don’t think anyone in Seattle knew those statues were living beings.” Aden frowned as he remembered the many times he’d gone to that theater and never known the decorations could come to life.

Jiang tilted his head to one side. “You didn’t know?”

“Why would I know?” Aden turned to Gallen, knowing his confusion must’ve shown on his face.

“Because you’re part of the reason we’re free.”

Jiang’s answer startled Aden into returning his attention to the dragon shifter.

Aden’s mouth dropped open. “Why would you think that?”

Jiang stared at Aden as if he were trying to see through Aden’s clothing. “Don’t you have a dragon tattoo?”

“I recently acquired one, yes.”

“Then you’ve come into your power?”

“So far I haven’t experienced anything considered power. I have a new tattoo and that’s pretty much my only super ability.”

Jiang laughed, a low rusty sound, as if he wasn’t sure if the noise should leave his throat. “If you are newly connected to your magic then it might take a bit before you gain your skills. It can take centuries for a dragon to get his first ability. I couldn’t spit acid for the first fifty years of my life.”

Aden scowled. “I’m still not certain I’m a dragon, and I won’t have centuries to figure it out.”

If Aden truly was the reason the dragon broke free, he had a responsibility to the lost shifter.

“When the spell shattered, we must’ve been sent to different locations. I can’t even sense my companions any more. I need to find our leader, Zhou. He can tell me what to do next.”

Gallen’s sigh dragged Aden’s attention from the dragon shifter to his mate.

“Are you sure you’re all right, Gallen?” Aden asked.

“Yes, I’m fine. What can we do to help?” Gallen asked the dragon.

Jiang snorted. “I don’t know if you can help at all, sorcerer, but I’ll never turn down extra hands. Like I said, I need to locate Zhou. Even more immediately I need to figure out where the fenghuangs have gone. They were the first ones to escape and they could cause immense damage in their current condition.”

“What are fenghuangs?” Aden asked. “You mentioned them before. Why will they be trouble?”

“They are a Chinese phoenixes,” Gallen said. “They come in times of peace. They are actually male and female pairs, feng is the male and huang is the female. They are known for being good luck, a symbol of prosperity and to represent the yin and yang, the symbol of the lunar cycle.”

The dragon shifter nodded his agreement with Gallen’s definition. “Except our fenghuangs have gone mad. Over two thousand years of being stone has snapped their minds. There are two pairs of them and I doubt they will leave the area without venting their rage. Luckily they are one of the mythological beasts pure humans can’t see. I think one of the males has kept his sanity but I could only hear snatches of their conversation, they mostly only talked to Zhou, but the past few years they kept to themselves.”

“How did the rest of you remain sane?” If the peaceful birds had snapped, why had the dragons remained sane?

Jiang shrugged. “We stuck together and kept our communication open. Our guardians didn’t fair so well.” Jiang’s eyes turned watery. “The foo dogs had grown too brittle to survive.”

Sadly, there wasn’t anything Aden could do to bring back the foo dogs. “I’m sorry for your loss. What do you think the phoenixes will do now?”

“If they aren’t stopped, they could set the city on fire,” Jiang said. “They aren’t like regular phoenixes. They are immortal. They don’t die to be reborn—they will continue to live and burn down the city.”

“They could try, but it wouldn’t get them very far,” Aden argued.

“Why not?”

“After The Great Seattle Fire, they put a lot of extra fire protection downtown.”

“How would you know that?” Gallen asked.

“I took this tour with the boys a few years ago. It takes you underneath Seattle and they tell you all about the history. It’s pretty cool. We should go on it sometime.”

“Well I’m sure that would be great for a normal fire, but a phoenix fire is different. Magical fire is all but impossible to put out,” Jiang argued.

“How do you plan to deal with them? I’m not sure I’ve got the right weapons to kill immortal birds.”

“You have the blood of a dragon king. You will come into your magic when it is needed.”

“I hope you know what you are talking about.” Aden had barely survived his last injury. “If I were immortal, somehow I think my father would still be around.”

“What happened to him?” Gallen asked.

Aden shrugged. “I don’t know.”

His mother had never told him, she’d just said that his father had disappeared after Aden’s birth.

“Are there many dragon king descendants left?” Gallen asked.

Jiang nodded to Aden. “He’s the only one I know of. If another dragon child has awakened, he or she would’ve snapped our spell earlier.”

Gallen bit his lip looking from one man to the other. “Are you sure you have the right person? I’m pretty sure Aden’s mark is just a sign of our mating.”

“May I see your mark?” Jiang narrowed his eyes at Aden.

Aden sighed. With one swift motion he removed his shirt. The dragon pattern shimmered in the sunlight as if it had true scales with iridescent ink.

Jiang dropped to his knees in the sand. “My lord.” He bowed his head low.

“What are you doing?” Aden asked.

“You are truly a descendant of the dragon kings.”

“Kings? How many are there?”

“There were four main dragon kings of the seas but there are others. Once there were too many to count, but time and the emperor have killed most of them off.”

Aden’s heart went out to the displaced dragon. It sounded like he and his friends might be the last of their kind. “What do you need me to do? I can’t kill a mystical bird. Stand up and talk to me.”

He wasn’t comfortable with the dragon kneeling before him.

Jiang got to his feet. “You don’t need to kill them. We need to capture them before they destroy Seattle. Hopefully once contained, we can try to help them. They’ve suffered enough—they need to be rehabilitated, if they can.”

“Do you think Zhou might have gone back to China to hunt down the sorcerers who created your spell?” Aden asked.

Jiang shook his head. “No. He wouldn’t have returned without making sure all of us were safe. Zhou has watched over us for centuries, he’s not going to stop just because he’s been freed.”

“You are so certain he will find you?” Aden wondered if the newly freed leader might have flown the coop. As much as Jiang said Zhou wouldn’t behave that way, who really knew what went on inside the head of another?

“Yes.” Jiang’s conviction left no room for doubt

Throwback Thursday!

Excerpt:

Raven’s muscles ached, but it was a good ache as he stood beneath the stage lights. Sweat poured down his leanly muscled torso as he gasped for breath, desperately trying to refill lungs emptied by his exertion. Still panting, he gave a low bow to the screaming audience and flinched as a rose smacked him in the face.

Fucking thorns.Despite his stinging cheek, he flashed the crowd his megawatt stage smile, the one he’d perfected as a four-year-old dancing sensation. Raven waved a hand to indicate the other dancers and, as the audience continued to clap, made a discreet exit offstage.

“You were amazing.” A starry-eyed ingénue batted her lashes at him. Why she bothered, he didn’t know. It was a universally known fact he liked men. She was probably one of those women who thought they could be the one to convert him to the other side.

“Want to go out for a bite to eat?” she asked, confident now that she’d caught his attention.

Yep, she was one of those.

“Sorry, my sweet, I’m exhausted. I’m going to change and get to bed.”

“Sure.” Her face fell, and Raven had to rein in his instinct to try and make her feel better. Experience proved consoling women at the moment led to awkward situations later.

He still had a restraining order out on the last one.

He patted the girl on her back and all but ran to his dressing room. Once safe behind the locked door, he threw himself down on the couch.

“I need a vacation,” Raven said to the empty room. For the past twenty years, he’d done nothing but dance. He’d spent the first few years of his career as a prodigy fighting to get noticed, then his next few as a young star struggling to get the best roles. Now at the age of twenty-four, he was the most sought after dancer in the galaxy. He could write his own ticket, but right now he was just tired.

Bone tired.

Although this last production had been technically and physically challenging, Raven knew he’d lost some of his fire. The critics and the audience never noticed, but Raven felt something lacking on the inside. In this last performance of the season, he’d frantically tried to recapture his passion, but the spark that had kept him going all these years had left him. Maybe he needed to a new career.

Raven tried to envision a life without dancing but drew a blank.

What would he do if he didn’t dance? Choreograph? Direct? Raven didn’t know what his future held, but he did know he needed a vacation from both dancing and the paparazzi. The media hounds stalked him from planet to planet, hoping to catch a picture of him in questionable situations. It didn’t help that the top three galacticnet agencies had voted him the most eligible bachelor in the galaxy, every year since puberty. Even after all this time, Raven still didn’t understand the amount of fuss made over his appearance. Too much attention went to his genetic makeup instead of to his dancing.

Idiots.

Raven took a quick shower, donned a fresh set of clothes and slipped on a cap and pair of shades to hide his identity. Hopefully, no one would look at an average man on the street. After checking to see if the path was clear, he made his way through the side gate. No one was about. Smiling, Raven walked away from the theater and down the deserted sidewalk. The farther he traveled from the theater, the more stress slid away.

Humming a tune from the show, Raven headed toward the bright lights. Although he should be tired, his body still jittered too much from dancing to settle down for the night. Hopefully he could find some discreet, friendly company to help him wind down. Once his body relaxed, maybe his mind would stop spinning frenetically about his future like a manic toy top.

Raven smiled when bar signs flared into view but quickly lost interest when the sound of someone sobbing grabbed his attention. Curious, Raven followed the noise.

“Hello?” The crying grew louder as he approached the dark alley. He generally wasn’t an idiot who blithely walked into questionable locations in the middle of the night, but it sounded like a child. “Hello?” he called again.

Raven peered into the darkness. The dim streetlights barely reached the mouth of the alley, and he could just make out the shape of a small figure curled up on the ground. Unable to stop himself, he rushed over to the child, stumbling over something as he went.

“Hey, hey, none of that now. What’s wrong?”

A young girl looked up. Raven estimated her age at about seven years old, but it was difficult to tell in the meager light. A dim beam of light reflected shiny tears tracking down a small oval face.

“My nana is gone,” she said in a voice so heartbroken Raven had to blink back the moisture forming in his own eyes. As he crouched down, trying to soothe her, Raven’s vision adjusted to the dark, and he realized the lump he’d stumbled over was a body.

Unmoving.

He had no doubt the dead woman was the nana the girl mentioned.

“Shh, sweetheart, I’m here,” Raven cooed. “I’ll take care of you.” He took off his hat and glasses so the little girl could see him and not be scared by a faceless stranger. He set them on the ground, then rubbed a hand across the girl’s back in a soothing gesture.

“Y-you’re R-raven,” the broken voice whispered in awe.

“You know me?”

The little girl nodded. “Nana and me, we saw your show. You were great!”

“Thank you.” Raven reached for his communicator. “What’s your name?”

“I’m Trisha.”

“Nice to meet you, Trisha,” Raven said. He pushed the emergency button to call the local authorities. After he explained the situation, they assured him someone would be dispatched immediately.

“Someone’s on the way to take care of you,” he told the despondent girl.

The next few minutes were the most nerve-racking of Raven’s life. He’d never had anyone rely on him before. It felt strange to take care of someone else, strange but good. He was glad he had come along to help the little girl. The thought of her left alone in a dirty alley with her dead nana broke his heart. He didn’t know what had happened to the woman on the ground, but it wasn’t his job to figure that out. In fact, his part of this whole ordeal was going to end as soon as planetary security came to pick her up.

“Security,” a deep voice boomed into the darkness.

“Over here,” Raven shouted.

Raven was momentarily blinded as a high-beamed light flashed across his eyes. He held up a hand to block the glare.

“Stand up and put your hands where I can see them,” a voice said behind the light.

Raven slowly raised both his hands but turned his head to keep from being blinded.

When the light finally pointed downward, Raven sighed. His relief was short-lived as the security officer came over to search him.

Efficient hands patted him down, the touch impersonal. The officer removed Raven’s wallet before stepping back. He pulled out Raven’s identicard. “I’m gonna run your ID. Then I want you to come back to the station and answer some questions.”
There went his dream of having a night of hot sex.

“I’ll be here.” Raven nodded his intention to cooperate and allowed the man to lead him to one of their vehicles. As he ducked his head to get into the back of the hovercar, a scream ripped through the air.

“I want Raven! No. No. No.” Her hysterical screams got louder and louder until a security officer raced over to Raven, pulling the little girl by her wrist behind him. “I’m going to have her ride back here with you.”

Raven slid onto the backseat and scooted over for the little girl. For the first time, Raven got to see what a pretty thing she was even with her blond ringlets flattened against her head and her face blotchy from tears. Cleaned up and smiling, she probably shattered little boys’ hearts all over the place.

Surprise overtook him when she scooted closer, rested her head on his chest, and wrapped her thin arms around him. Silent sobs shook her slender body while two security agents slid into the front seat of the hovercar. The driver flashed them a brief look before taking off.

Raven muttered nonsense words as he stroked the golden head, trying to figure out where along the way his night of debauchery had turned into a babysitting assignment.

Throwback Thursday!

lessons

Amazon | Amber Kell Books | ARe | B&N

 

Lewis Larson had always thought he’d have female mate. His goal to eventually settle down with a woman and have a bunch of children hits a snag when a sexy vampire crosses his path.

 

John Lesley knew he wanted the sexy werekin as soon as he saw him. Unfortunately convincing a commitment shy wolf to bond with a vampire hits a snag when family, enemies and a trio of babies get involved.

 

Excerpt:

The memory of his last encounter with John made him shiver. One kiss and a small grope shouldn’t have turned his inner wolf into a wimpy, needy bitch who wanted to roll over and expose his belly. He readjusted the backpack on his right shoulder and tried to calm his animal half.

The pretty receptionist gave him a bright smile she’d polished like a new penny.

“Can I help you?” she asked.

“I’m here to pick up some paperwork for Tam Larson,” Lewis explained.

Her professional smile warmed at his words. “You must be Lewis. Tam told me you’d be stopping by. I’ll let Mr Lesley know you’re here.”

“No! I mean, you don’t need to disturb him. Can’t you just sneak inside and grab it for me?” He gave her his best, charming smile, hoping desperately she’d take the hint and not ask any probing questions.

Please don’t make me see John. Lewis chanted in his head.

She leaned forward and asked with a conspiratorial air. “Are you afraid of him because he’s a vampire?”

“Yes,” he lied easily, giving a not completely fake shudder.

She didn’t have to know his unease stemmed from the surge of lust he got whenever he remembered a certain vampire nibbling on his neck. He feared John’s bite but for an entirely different reason than she suspected. The hunger surging through him at the mere thought of the John Lesley meant Lewis, more than anything, needed to stay away.

He didn’t receive the help he’d hoped for.

“It’ll be okay. I’ve been with Mr Lesley for three years now, and I’ve never known him to attack anyone,” she said in a reassuring tone.

Crap.

She picked up the phone, no doubt to tell John that Lewis had arrived. Before she could dial any numbers, the door to the vampire’s office opened, and a stunning man with blond hair and icy, blue eyes walked out. His annoyed scowl changed to one of pleasure when he caught sight of Lewis.

“Who do we have here?” the man asked.

A sniff revealed the stranger to be a vampire, who did nothing to Lewis’ libido and still placed John Lesley as the only male capable of triggering Lewis’ hormones.

“You may go in now, Mr Larson.” The receptionist’s cold tone chilled the room. She didn’t approve of the vampire.

“Oh, you don’t have to rush away on my account.” The blue-eyed stranger remarked with a frown. “Larson? You don’t go by Tam also, do you? I’ve been trying to get an appointment for months. I’m Allard Brown.”

“No. Sorry. I’m his brother, and I don’t get involved in Tam’s business dealings.”

Some days, Lewis didn’t envy his genius brother. Everyone wanted something from Tam.

Lewis would hate all the attention. Some people were just born to shine brighter than others.

Lewis’ brother Tam glowed with the ferocity of a supernova.

“Go on into my office, Lewis,” John Lesley stood in doorway and waved a hand to beckon Lewis closer. Damn, Lewis hadn’t even heard him approach; the vampire had softer steps than a sneaky werewolf.

Instinct had Lewis walking away from the stranger who screamed predator without saying a word. Lewis might not be the strongest or smartest wolf on the block. Hell, he didn’t even have the most power in his own family, but he had excellent instincts.

As soon as he reached John, the vampire wrapped an arm around Lewis’ waist. Lewis almost jumped from the unexpected contact, but he didn’t want to give the wrong impression to Mr Brown. If John putting an arm around his waist kept the strange vampire away from Lewis, he’d allow the touch. Besides, John smelled delicious. Instinctively, Lewis tilted his head back to get a better whiff. Wallowing in the vampire’s natural aroma, Lewis almost missed John’s growled warning to Mr Brown.

“The Larsons are under my protection, Allard. Don’t forget that,” John ordered.

“What makes you think I want your mangy wolf?” Allard sneered.

John gave a snort, an inelegant sound from the always proper vampire. “If you drooled any more, you’d be in danger of soaking through my carpet. Get going and remember to keep your fangs to yourself.”

Allard growled. “Don’t be so stingy. I wouldn’t hurt him. I’d only take a tiny taste.”

“We’ll talk about your proposal later,” John said in a dismissive tone, not bothering to address the other vampires request.

Allard gave a low snarl and glared at John before turning and stomping off toward the elevator. No one moved or spoke until the doors closed behind him.

Lewis stepped away from John’s touch, ignoring his inner wolf whimpering at the loss of contact.

Clearing his throat, Lewis addressed the vamp. “You have some papers for me?”

John’s blue eyes sparkled. “Sure, and maybe some etchings you’d like to see.”

Lewis choked on his laughter but refused to be pulled into the vampire’s teasing mood. It would be easy enough to ignore a full-out seduction, but his wolf could never resist a chance to be playful.

Shaking his head at John’s nonsense, Lewis followed the vampire to his desk.

Lewis’ phone rang, the lyrics to Born to be Wild spurring him to rummage through his cargo pants’ pockets until he finally closed his fingers around the device.

Lewis pressed the connect button. “Hello, Tam.”

“Hey, Lew, did you get my paperwork?” Tam asked on the other end of the line.

“I’m at the office right now. I’ll have it to you in a bit,” Lewis replied.

His brother’s timely phone call saved Lewis from having to make eye contact with the delicious looking vampire before him.

“Is that Tam?” John snatched the phone out of Lewis’ hand.

He growled at the action.

“Easy, pup,” John murmured, the vampire’s attention already back on the phone.

Lewis half-heartedly listened to the vampire berate Tam over something he did to a client. Lewis shook his head. The sooner John learned that Tam knew best, the better off he’d be. Tam never did anything without a good reason. Not always a decipherable one, but in the end, he always had a purpose behind any action.

Spying a packet of papers with his brother’s name on them, Lewis snatched them off John’s desk. With a quick wave, he scooted out of the plush office as fast as he could go without actually running. He could retrieve his phone later. Lewis didn’t like the electronic leash anyway and only carried it to appease his family. His absentmindedness and disregard for time often caused his mother to call him and remind him to eat or sometimes to come home. He could live without it. No doubt Tam would track down his phone or give him a new one. Lewis shrugged off concern like a duck shedding water.

Smiling, Lewis skirted around the receptionist desk at high speed. The elevator opened as he approached. Pleased at his unusual luck, Lewis slid into the car and pressed the door shut button.

He didn’t want to take the chance John might catch him at the last minute.

Once the doors closed, Lewis leaned against the far wall with a sigh.

“I made it,” he said, smiling.

Dragon Men 5 Available

Mate Call jpeg Large

Amazon | Amber Kell Books | ARe

For those of you who haven’t gotten a chance to purchase Mate Call yet. I thought I’d help you choose your weekend read🙂

Chapter One

Colton Lanx clenched his fingers around the console, clinging for his life as the starship shuddered through a meteor field. The large planet quickly growing closer on their right sent tendrils of fear through him. This wasn’t the course he’d set. Somehow they’d strayed far from his original coordinates.

“We’re too close!”

“Don’t be an idiot!” Captain Jael snarled. “I did those calculations myself.”

Colt’s short temper spiked. “What do you mean you did them?” Anger pushed down Colt’s fear. He’d spent hours making sure they had the proper trajectory to make it safely through the narrow slice of space between Dragait and the planets, moons, and meteors surrounding it. The slightest error could result in being pulled into a planet’s gravitational field. Any change in Colt’s numbers could be catastrophic.

“I didn’t trust your calculations, so I entered my own.”

Jael’s smug tone had Colt biting the inside of his cheek until he tasted blood. His self-control, never strong on a good day, broke under the pressure. “Do you have a degree in starship navigation, Captain?”

He didn’t bother to keep the sharp edge out of his voice. As far as he knew, the captain only had degrees in starship management and tooth whitening. Neither skill gave Captain Jael the ability to properly compute the correct passage around any spot in space.

The captain bristled. “Watch your tone, Lanx. Any idiot can type in a few numbers. The ship does all the real work. I don’t need any fancy papers to do your job.”

Colt had suspected the captain’s stupidity before, but it had never been so clearly exhibited as then. He brushed off Jael’s slights on his training. After two months on board, he was no longer surprised over the captain’s opinion of navigators.

Colt was careful not to look at his hands as he discreetly slid his right index finger beneath the console to press the record button. Despite changing the coordinates, Jael would blame him if they crashed. Jaw clenched, he made a quick examination of Jael’s numbers… he’d need dental surgery after this flight, if the crash didn’t kill him first. “You entered the wrong trajectory!”

“Then fix it! What the fuck do we have you for?” Captain Jael’s shout reached ear-splitting levels.

Colt winced and frantically tried to input new coordinates. Before he could tap more than a few keys, however, warning lights lit the panel brighter than the fire planet Freil.

The proximity siren blared, alerting the crew of their dangerous closeness to the planet Dragait.

If the captain had listened to Colt yesterday, they wouldn’t be in this situation. He’d told Jael over and over that they were too close to the planet’s gravitational field, but as usual, Jael had ignored his advice. Colt should’ve jumped ship at the last port. Instead he’d ignored his instincts for the chance to see Dragait, the planet where his father had grown up but never returned to. Now, instead of a nice flyby with a few memorable photos, they would all be crushed by the ship’s kiss with Dragait’s gravity. Maybe his father had been right when he called it a dangerous planet.

Colt’s father, Seltin Lanx, had left Dragait as a young man and always claimed he’d gone because of a compulsive need to explore the stars. Maybe Colt would’ve believed him if his father didn’t always change the subject when Colt asked why he never returned.

Colt’s parents had been planetary travelers since before his birth and had continued their journeys after Colt left them to pursue his own schooling. He’d never met any couple as in love as his mother and father. Dragon-bonded, his father had declared them. Maybe one day Colt would find a bondmate of his own. Even if he couldn’t shift into a dragon like his father, he longed for the same connection his parents shared. But none of the men or women he’d dated came near to inspiring any kind of devotion.

Colt joined the Exploration Guild fresh out of training, eager to continue his space study. The Guild’s stated mission was to act as mediators between worlds in order to smooth out shipping lanes and political differences. Unfortunately, Captain Jael didn’t have the sense of a Mecrofilian mud bunny. How Jael had reached the rank of captain baffled Colt on a good day and irritated him on the other ones. Jael must be related to someone influential, otherwise his crew would’ve stripped him of his duties years ago, or beaten him to death.

“Bear left,” Lieutenant Phelps, Jael’s right-hand man, ordered.

Colt privately believed the lieutenant had his lips surgically attached to the captain’s ass. Not once had Phelps contradicted any of Jael’s orders, no matter how idiotic they were.

“I’ve got it!” Colt snapped. Typing madly, he tried to counteract Jael’s coordinates. Now wasn’t the time for Phelps to try to learn how to navigate.

“You’re going to crash us, you fool,” Jael shouted.

“I’m trying to countermand your ridiculous orders!” Colt banged on the console when the computer beeped its disdain over his input.

“Address me with respect, Navigator!” Jael’s blustering demand rolled off Colt’s emotional shield of indifference.

“I will when you earn it.” Colt typed in another set of coordinates, barely holding back a scream when it had little impact. Nothing he entered appeared to make too much difference. “Right now I’m trying to save us from crashing and dying.”

“Phelps, take over. Ensign Talword, go lock Navigator Lanx in the brig for his insubordination,” Jael ordered.

“Are you fucking crazy? We’re about to crash, and you’re worried about protocol!” Colt shouted.

Jael’s blotchy face turned redder in his fury. “Remove him!”

Colt glared at Phelps, then Jael. “If you get us killed, I will haunt you both into the afterlife!”

Phelps paled.

Talword grabbed Colt’s arm and dragged him away.

“When I’m done reporting you, you’ll be lucky if they put you in charge of a barge!” Colt shouted as Talword pulled him off the bridge.

Guild Admiral Killan Stanforth would demote Jael to scrubbing ship floors after he heard the recording. Uncle Killan had been the reason Colt joined the Guild instead of going independent.

“You should’ve kept that threat to yourself,” Talword warned. “You don’t want to have an accident while in the brig.”

“If I’m killed, my uncle, Admiral Stanforth, will destroy everyone on this ship. You don’t want to know what happened to the pirates who attacked my parents’ vessel. They were begging to die in the end.” Colt didn’t usually like to name-drop, but he’d reached the end of his patience with this crew. A bunch of sheep, led by an idiot, who would be Colt’s downfall.

Talword opened the door to the brig, then pushed Colt inside, making him stumble and topple onto the only bunk.

“Brace yourself, Tal, we’re going to crash. You’d best go find an escape pod instead of going back to the bridge,” Colt warned.

Talword made a scoffing noise in the back of his throat. “We’ll be fine. Captain Jael will get us out of this. You’re just trying to scare everyone.” But Talword’s worried expression didn’t match his words.

Colt snorted. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“I won’t.”

Talword’s scornful glare didn’t reassure Colt. People who depended on others to think for them were dangerous. But even with his blind belief in the captain, Talword didn’t deserve to die—none of them did.

Talword programmed the door shut before walking away; his stomping steps echoed against the metal floor. Colt hoped Talword would pass the news of their imminent demise to the rest of the crew. The sooner people headed for the crash pods, the better their chances of escape before the ship collided with Dragait. The crew’s survival rate would plummet if the pods were sucked into Dragait’s atmosphere.

It wasn’t ego that had Colt declaring he was the only one who could fix the navigation problem. He had been running his father’s ship long before the legal age to fly. Colt’s flying skills saved more than one mission. Navigation school had been an easy pass, and he had graduated with honors with little effort.

But now it was time to abandon ship and use the survival instincts instilled in him by his father.

“Computer, release lock.” Colt could almost hear Seltin’s calm voice in his head: Expect nothing, but anticipate everything. After meeting Captain Jael, Colt reprogrammed the ship’s computer to accept his orders. He hadn’t anticipated this exact event, but he’d suspected Jael’s ego would eventually put them in a situation where Colt would need to escape.

A shudder shook the ship.

Fuck!

“Command acknowledged.” A loud click reverberated through the small cell before the door slid open.

Colt peeked through the doorway, but no one stood outside his prison cell. No doubt Talword expected him to stay put and had gone to save his own ass instead. Colt couldn’t blame him. The culture on the ship was to save yourself first; there was little honor among the crew. They all wanted to be the one to discover a new species or planet, or to bring back a new alien contract to the higher-ups. They might claim to be a pacifist company formed to spread interplanetary peace, but underneath all the hype lived a soulless corporation that wanted to reap whatever it could from other civilizations.

Since all the people who knew of Colt’s incarceration were on the bridge, he didn’t bother hiding. He nodded to other crewmembers as he passed, but he didn’t speak. He couldn’t risk them putting him back in the brig.

Colt wished there was another way he could warn the others, but he hadn’t grown close to any of them during his time as a crewmember. As far as he could see, they all thought the captain knew what he was doing. None of them listened when Colt tried to tell them otherwise. After enough scornful looks and whispers that he was trying to start a mutiny, he stopped cautioning the rest of the crew and left them to their self-inflicted blindness.

The corridor split before him. Colt headed right. He might be court-martialed for this, but he refused to go down with the ship. Emergency pods were at the end of the corridor, and Colt planned to be on one when the ship broke apart. He’d just reached the first stairwell when the ship-wide emergency announcements began.

“Prepare for impact. Prepare for impact,” the ship’s computer blared.

Colt ran back to the computer panel he’d just passed, and activated the preparation of the pods. He doubted the captain would think of emergency procedures during an actual emergency. Jael had no common sense, and Phelps didn’t seem to have any either.

Pods prepared for evacuation.” The computer’s voice echoed through the hallway, repeating the phrase over and over, accompanied by flashing arrows lighting the way to the transports.

The escape pods would drop from the ship as soon as they reached capacity. Colt’s conscience assuaged, he continued to the stairs and toward the hatchway. He would bet good money that Jael had already abandoned the ship. The captain kept a small shuttle to fly to other planets and scout before the official parties landed. It was an open secret, but Jael thought his sly maneuverings went undetected. Colt didn’t trust him not to flee and leave the crew to deal with the aftermath.

The starship tilted again. Colt’s foot slid on the metal stair, sending him tumbling to the bottom. His face slammed against the steel floor, his ears rang, and liquid trickled down his right cheek. In shock, he grabbed the railing to pull himself upright. He wavered for a moment before stiffening his spine and releasing his grip from the support.

He didn’t have time to deal with minor injuries or possible head trauma; he could worry about the damage after he got off the ship and avoided imminent death.

The thunder of footsteps above propelled Colt farther down the corridor. If he didn’t hurry, all the pods would be taken. No one cared about courtesy during an evacuation.

Proximity alarms blared louder. They were getting closer to Dragait.

“Fuck!” Colt’s ankle throbbed, and a stabbing pain speared his head with the agony of a thousand fiery knives. Sucking in a breath, he hobbled to the pods. With his luck, he’d be the one who missed out on escaping because he’d tried to alert everyone else to danger.

Dragait’s gravitational field must have completely taken control of the ship’s trajectory despite Jael’s bravado. Sweat trickled down Colt’s spine as he limped as fast as he could toward the escape hatches. Blood dripped from his cut and slid down his face. Each siren burst added to the brutal pounding inside his skull. Only his survival instinct kept him moving instead of giving up. His parents hadn’t raised a quitter, and he wouldn’t shame them now.

Even with a pod, the odds of surviving weren’t great. Colt was counting on his half-dragon-shifter genetics to help him through his injuries. He’d always been quicker to heal than ordinary humans had. Now, it might be the only thing keeping him alive—if he avoided Dragait’s pull.

He purposely headed to the last section of escape ships. The other bays would empty first, and he didn’t want anyone seeing him before he escaped. If Jael and Phelps hadn’t already abandoned the vessel, he didn’t trust them to prevent him from leaving.

A door slid open as he approached. Colt stumbled through the opening, collapsed against the wall, and didn’t move again until he caught his breath. A few minutes and a couple of siren alerts later, he gathered enough energy to slide along the wall and reach the keypad. He activated the external camera, looking for stragglers, but didn’t see anyone else heading his way.

Evacuate ship. Collision imminent,” the computer warned once again.

“Computer, is anyone entering the hallway?” Colt wouldn’t release the pod if someone remained behind.

“No other life forms remain on board.”

As he’d expected, no one had gone looking for him.

He strapped in. With the crew evacuated, his conscience was clear. “Release the pod.”

“Command acknowledged.”

A loud snapping noise had Colt gripping the handrails mounted on either side of the seat. The tiny ship must have broken free from the main vessel. The pod’s jets activated to push away from the larger ship. Colt focused his attention on trying not to hurl as his headache caused his stomach to swirl uneasily.

Heartsick with dread, he lifted the window flap, revealing a sea of stars. Abruptly the pod spun, and before Colt’s horrified gaze, the main ship crashed into Dragait’s atmosphere. The explosion wasn’t any less terrible for the lack of sound.

A lump of terror grew in his chest as he watched a string of pods sucked into the planet afterward. Flares of bright red around the emergency shuttles weren’t reassuring.

“I hope someone finds me before I join them.” The pod had limited jet capacity. Unless he floated closer to the atmosphere, he wouldn’t waste the little craft’s energy.

Colt leaned against the headrest, trying to breathe through the pounding in his head.

Would anyone come looking for him and the rest of the crew when the ship didn’t make contact? Had Jael pressed the emergency tracking button and ejected the beacon? Captains were responsible for alerting the authorities if a ship was going down so rescuers would know where to look for survivors. Colt couldn’t depend on Jael to be that responsible.

He pulled open the small cabinet beside him, revealing dozens of energy bars and rows of bottled water. “At least someone did their job.”

His fear of being in an unstocked pod faded. If he rationed his supplies, and barring a collision, he could survive for a few weeks.

Coordinates?” the computer asked.

“I don’t know,” Colt whispered.

What the hell did he do now? Pods weren’t meant for long-range travel. The most he could hope for was to make it to the next space outpost, but without the larger ship’s computer, he had no way of knowing which direction to travel.

Colt gripped the safety harness, clinging to his sense of security. His gaze kept drifting back to the other pods. Dozens of orbs floated in space around him. How many of them were going to survive?

A large eyeball appeared outside the window, and all his thoughts derailed.

Whoa!” Colt jerked back, only to be held tight by the safety harness. The belt allowed him a mere few inches of movement, and he’d used them all when he tried to scoot away. He resisted the urge to unbuckle and flee to the other side of the pod. It wouldn’t do him any good if the creature decided to attack.

“What are you doing so far from home, little dragon? You should be down below.”

The words whispered in his head like a warm, calming breeze and vanished his panic.

“Who are you?” The beast outside must have sensed Colt’s dragon-shifter blood. The fine scales around the visible eye reminded him of a dragon, but he’d never seen one so large before, and how could it survive without oxygen?

“I am Baroy, Duke Tor’s bonded space dragon. You must go down and find your mate. Shifters shouldn’t be alone.”

“I don’t think I have a mate, and I’m only a half shifter.” Colt didn’t have enough dragon DNA to transform into a dragon. “Besides, entry into the atmosphere may kill me.”

Escape pods were meant to remain in space and keep you safe until help arrived. According to the studies he’d read, pods had a 50 percent chance of survival when crashing through a planet’s atmosphere. Colt didn’t like those odds. He preferred a 100 percent survival rate.

“I will keep you safe.”

Colt didn’t know what to say to Baroy. What limited information he knew about space dragons rattled about inside his head with less content than a particle of space dust. He’d never met anyone who’d seen one before, not even his parents, and they’d traveled across several galaxies. “Thanks. I’d appreciate your help.”

Any other response could get him crushed in his tiny space pod, like a walnut in a nutcracker. He didn’t know why the large dragon wished to save him, but he was short of options or a proper plan at the moment. He would take any help offered.

A low rumble rolled through Colt’s head. It took him a second to recognize the sound as Baroy’s laughter.

“Be safe, little dragon.”

Colt didn’t know how he was a little dragon, since he’d never transformed, but he didn’t plan on arguing. If Baroy wanted to call him a little dragon, he’d take it. Most creatures in the universe were little compared to a space dragon.

The pod jerked and shook like a boat on rough waters. Colt tightened his grip on the handles on either side of his seat and swallowed back a scream. It wouldn’t matter if he made it to the surface if the descent killed him. The pod’s sensors blared a proximity siren as he plummeted toward Dragait. Colt’s stomach roiled, his knuckles turned white from the force of his grip, and his hands went numb.

“Please don’t let me die, please don’t let me die,” he whispered to any higher power that might be listening.

Fear chilled him, twisting him up inside. He’d never known true terror until right then, and he barely remembered to breathe. For countless minutes there was nothing but spinning and falling, and his fear only grew as he kept tumbling. He stayed focused on the window, but all he could see was clouds and more clouds. Was he passing through a storm, or did the planet generally have clouds around it? Just as he got used to nothing but clouds and blue sky, areas of green came into view. Lush vegetation passed by the window and caught Colt’s imagination as he pictured all the animals that could be living there.

He didn’t get much time to wonder before the pod slammed into the ground.

Colt’s teeth rattled in his head, and his body shook as the pod slid across the ground then rolled over and over until the lunch Colt had eaten earlier threatened to decorate the inside of the ship.

Finally the pod crashed against something hard. Colt smashed his head against the metal wall.

Then everything went black.

Out Now – Mate Call!

Mate Call jpeg Large

Amazon | Amber Kell Books | ARe

 

King Zeir had it all, a prosperous kingdom, a fated mate and the love of his people. But when his mate dies he goes half mad with grief and transforms into his dragon form. Unable to get past his sorrow, he pines for the love he never fully knew.

Colton Lanx has known nothing but travel. His parents flew from planet to planet, never settling down. Becoming a navigator was an easy choice to make until an error by his captain forced him down to the planet Dragait.

Two men joined by destiny have to overcome their past if they wish to build a future together.

Out Now!

Keeping Kylen It 400

ARe  Amazon.it Amazon.com Smashwords

A volte, innamorarsi è la parte più facile.

Kylen è diventato sovrano del popolo fatato, ma sente la mancanza del suo compagno. Il dubbio se i fatati siano o meno capaci di legarsi ad altri è risolto quando Kylen scopre di non riuscire più a mangiare o a dormire. Il suo popolo teme che non sia un buon re e, a onor del vero, Kylen non vuole esserlo. I suoi unici desideri sarebbero coccolare Farro, giocare col loro figlio e vivere per sempre felice e contento. Ma a volte la vita non dà quello di cui si ha bisogno.

 

* * *

“Papà, dov’è il papi?”

Sammy era fermo sulla soglia della camera di Farro, l’orsacchiotto che gli penzolava dalla manina. Il pigiama blu lo copriva dalla testa ai piedi. Farro scacciò via le lacrime che gli inumidirono gli occhi al ricordo di come Kylen avesse insistito per comprare a Sammy una coppia di pigiama di ciascun colore. Lui si era opposto solo quando il suo compagno aveva indicato quelli con le orecchie da coniglio. Nemmeno il sorriso colmo di speranza di Kylen era riuscito a persuaderlo a vestire suo figlio, per metà mutaforma, come una preda.

Allontanando il ricordo, Farro andò da suo figlio e si inginocchiò per portarsi al suo livello. Prese tra le mani quelle, più piccole, di Sammy.

Il groppo che aveva alla gola rendeva difficile parlare, ma ce la fece. “Il papi non tornerà a casa. Ne abbiamo già parlato. Ha trovato un lavoro che lo ha obbligato a trasferirsi. Ti vuole ancora bene, ma non tornerà mai più.”

Nonostante fosse furioso per il modo in cui Kylen li aveva lasciati, Farro non dubitava che il suo compagno volesse ancora bene al loro figlio. Aveva solo bisogno di un bel calcio nel sedere. Negli ultimi quattro mesi, Farro aveva offerto a Sammy diverse variazioni sul tema ‘il papi non tornerà più’, e ogni volta le parole gli avevano lasciato l’amaro in bocca. Sammy, dal canto suo, rifiutava di credere che l’uomo che lo aveva adorato follemente lo avesse abbandonato con una breve lettera e senza guardarsi indietro.

Farro non poteva farne una colpa a suo figlio. A volte, lui stesso aveva difficoltà a crederci. Sfortunatamente, aveva dovuto accettare la verità: Kylen non sarebbe tornato. Mai più. Il lupo interiore di Farro guaì infelice.

“Perché non può tornare?” Sammy, con l’innocenza di un bambino, si aspettava una spiegazione semplice.

Prima che potesse trattenersi, a Farro sfuggì un sospiro. “Ora è il capo del popolo fatato. Loro hanno bisogno che li governi.”

“Noi abbiamo più bisogno di lui. Dovresti andare a prenderlo.” Sammy inclinò la testa e fissò il padre con severità. Nel suo mondo, non c’era nulla che il papà non potesse fare. E Farro odiava deluderlo.

“Non è così semplice.” Si alzò e incrociò le braccia. Aveva bisogno di ogni genere di vantaggio. Diversamente dalle altre occasioni in cui aveva spiegato la scomparsa di Kylen, questa volta Sammy non pareva incline a lasciar cadere il discorso. Beh, lui non intendeva essere da meno. Non aveva la minima intenzione di andare a riprendersi quello stronzo che aveva abbandonato la sua famiglia con delle parole scritte su lettera. Non gli importava quanto l’idea di andarsene avesse fatto soffrire Kylen, almeno secondo Anthony. Kylen se n’era andato – fine della storia. Il lupo di Farro poteva anche struggersi per la perdita dell’altra sua metà, ma la sua parte umana era più tenace e non intendeva sottomettersi ai bisogni della bestia.

“Ma si è perso!” strillò Sammy – un suono stridente, acuto, che fece sussultare Farro.

“Cosa te lo fa pensare?” Quello era un approccio diverso dagli altri usati in precedenza da Sammy, e lui doveva ammettere di essere curioso al riguardo. Suo figlio diventava sempre più creativo quando si trattava di invocare il ritorno a casa di Kylen.

“Me lo hai detto tu che se non sono dove dovrei essere, vuol dire che mi sono perso. Il papi dovrebbe essere qui, dunque si è perso anche lui. Devi andare a cercarlo.” Gli occhioni di Sammy erano colmi di lacrime.

Farro non aveva alcun bisogno di andare a cercare Kylen – sapeva benissimo dove si trovava. Glielo diceva il suo spirito. La presenza di Kylen permaneva nella sua mente come una ferita infetta, procurandogli un dolore costante. Era connesso per l’eternità a un uomo che aveva abbandonato la sua famiglia, ma che non avrebbe mai potuto lasciarlo del tutto. Ora si spiegava l’aria afflitta di Silver dopo la scomparsa di Anthony. Farro aveva già scritto una lettera in cui affidava a Dare e Steven la custodia di Sammy nel caso in cui lui avesse perso il senno per lo stress dovuto all’abbandono del compagno. Dare adorava Sammy come se fosse figlio suo e Steven gli avrebbe impedito di viziarlo troppo.

Farro riportò l’attenzione sul figlio. Gli occhi di Sammy luccicavano per le lacrime e la stretta sul peluche gli aveva sbiancato le nocche. Mordendosi il labbro inferiore, Farro annuì.

“Andrò a parlare con lui,” acconsentì. Il suo lupo ululò di gioia al pensiero di rivedere il loro compagno. Quell’impresa avrebbe guarito Farro, oppure lo avrebbe distrutto.

Ma doveva tentare, se non altro per poter dire a Sammy che aveva fatto del suo meglio per recuperare l’altro genitore. Il posto di Kylen non era presso il popolo fatato; era con lui e Sammy. Farro si era trattenuto dal fare alcunché perché pensava che Kylen preferisse essere re piuttosto che il suo compagno. La lettera che aveva scritto era servita a chiarire la situazione, ma almeno quel bastardo avrebbe potuto recarsi di persona a spezzare il cuoricino di Sammy. Dopo aver decantato l’importanza dei bambini presso il suo popolo, aveva fatto presto ad abbandonarne uno che aveva dichiarato di considerare come proprio.

“Andrò a cercarlo domani,” promise Farro, il cuore che pulsava in preda all’ansia. Non sapeva cosa sarebbe accaduto, ma non poteva deludere Sammy. Doveva almeno provare.

“Portalo a casa. Nessuno racconta le storie bene come il papi.” L’espressione di Sammy non mostrava il minimo dubbio: il bambino era certo che Farro gli avrebbe riportato il suo papi.

“Farò del mio meglio.” Farro non aveva grandi speranze di tornare a casa con Kylen. Quella non era una storia romantica dove una singola occhiata al suo compagno avrebbe spinto Kylen a rinunciare a un regno per amor suo. Se fosse stato quello il caso, Kylen avrebbe già fatto ritorno.

Ma Farro avrebbe fatto qualunque cosa pur di rendere felice suo figlio, e se questo significava rapire il sovrano del popolo fatato e dare inizio a una guerra tra specie… beh, a volte alcuni sacrifici si rendevano davvero necessari – inclusi quelli di esseri viventi. Aveva rivendicato il possesso di Kylen con tutti i crismi; era ora di riprenderselo.

 

Farro attese fino al mattino per recarsi dai capibranco. Anthony venne ad aprirgli con indosso solo i pantaloni del pigiama e in braccio il suo adorabile figlio. Farro lanciò cautamente un’occhiata al bambino. Trin posò su di lui uno sguardo fisso che, proveniente da un bambino così piccolo, risultava molto snervante.

“Cosa posso fare per te?” Anthony voltò la testa. Una zampa di lupo argentata brillava in alto sulla sua guancia come un tatuaggio magico. Zeus gli aveva lasciato il suo marchio; non solo il dio era il nonno di Anthony, ma lo considerava anche uno dei suoi pochi discendenti favoriti. Farro si sentiva ancora in colpa per ciò che Anthony aveva dovuto soffrire a causa della sua ostilità.

“Posso entrare?” Non voleva chiedere quello che doveva chiedere in corridoio.

“Ma certo.” Anthony si fece da parte. “Ti chiedo scusa, ma questo qui ha deciso di voler giocare di mattina presto.”

Farro annuì. “Sammy ha avuto una fase durante la quale mi svegliava tutte le mattine.”

“Davvero? E lo faceva generando una tempesta in salotto?” Anthony aggrottò la fronte all’indirizzo di suo figlio, il quale rispose sorridendo e dandogli una pacchetta sulla guancia con la manina paffuta.

“Ehm, no.” Forse le loro esperienze non erano poi tanto simili.

Anthony sospirò. Agitò una mano e il salotto si rimise a posto da solo. L’acqua svanì e il divano si asciugò.

“Comodo.”

Silver entrò nella stanza annusando l’aria. Diversamente da Anthony, indossava una maglietta e un paio di pantaloni della tuta. “Solo io sento odore di pioggia?”

“Lasciamo perdere,” rispose Anthony.

Lo sguardo di Silver si posò sul figlio. “Come non detto.”

Prese in braccio Trin e lo cullò. “Buongiorno, Farro. Vuoi del caffè?”

“No, grazie. Speravo che Anthony potesse portarmi nella dimensione del popolo fatato. Sammy insiste nel dire che devo riportare a casa Kylen. Speravo di poterlo convincere a scrivergli una lettera o qualcosa del genere. Una prova concreta del fatto che il suo papi non tornerà.” Farro sapeva di suonare amareggiato, ma non poteva farci nulla.

Anthony si accigliò. “Non puoi attraversare il portale senza avere con te un membro del popolo fatato.”

“Tu non vai da nessuna parte,” intimò Silver al compagno. “Io non tornerò mai più in quel regno e non lo farai nemmeno tu.”

Il tono dell’alfa era talmente autoritario da spingere Farro a pensare che persino Anthony non avrebbe osato contraddirlo. Vide il semidio aprire bocca e chiuderla senza parlare. “Già, di sicuro non tornerò da quelle parti per un bel pezzo.”

“O mai,” aggiunse corrucciato Silver.

Farro seguì con lo sguardo l’alfa andare in cucina per preparare il caffè. Anthony mise a terra Trin. Il bambino si mise a gattonare, senza dubbio in cerca di altri guai.

“Come faccio ad andare di là, allora?”

Dopo un attimo di riflessione, Anthony rispose: “Potrei mandarti assieme ai gemelli. L’ultimo re dei fatati oscuri è morto; dovresti essere al sicuro anche se a scortarti saranno solo loro.”

“Credi che sarebbero disposti a farlo? Non amano lasciare solo Gabe.” I gemelli fatati, Viell e Vien, era notoriamente ossessionati dal loro compagno mutaforma. Farro si stupiva del fatto che gli avessero permesso di continuare a lavorare nello studio di Anthony; probabilmente confidavano nel fatto che il compagno dell’alfa lo avrebbe tenuto d’occhio al posto loro.

Anthony si strinse nelle spalle. “Non possono portarlo con loro. Come ti ho detto, non dovrebbero esserci problemi. Posso darti un braccialetto del ritorno automatico in modo che tu possa rientrare alla conclusione del viaggio, nel caso dovessi rimanere bloccato. Oggi chiederò loro di farmi questo favore.”

“Grazie.” Farro si sentì travolto dal sollievo. Perlomeno stava facendo qualcosa. Avrebbe potuto dire a Sammy che avrebbe parlato con Kylen. Non poteva promettergli il suo ritorno, ma se non altro avrebbe potuto dirgli di averlo visto. “Credi che Dare potrebbe occuparsi di Sammy mentre sono via?”

“Alleggerirò il suo carico di lavoro come barista, se dovesse servire,” si offrì Silver.

Era quello il motivo per cui Farro era felice di far parte di un branco: in caso di necessità, tutti si facevano avanti per aiutare chi ne aveva bisogno. Silver sembrava non aver nemmeno pensato di dirgli di trovarsi un babysitter meno impegnato o di cavarsela da solo. Entrambi i membri della coppia alfa si erano subito offerti di fare del loro meglio per aiutarlo a risolvere i suoi problemi. E nessuno di loro aveva cercato di convincerlo a cambiare idea.

“Grazie. Vi sono grato per il vostro aiuto,” disse in tono formale. Un groppo alla gola lo costrinse a ricacciare indietro le lacrime.

Anthony gli strinse una spalla. “Ehi, andrà tutto bene. Vai a trovarlo. Se non altro potrà scrivere una lettera a Sammy.”

“Il minimo che quel bastardo possa fare,” ringhiò lui.

“Chiamo i gemelli per chiedere quando potrebbero partire,” si offrì Silver.

Farro annuì. “Va bene.”

Trascorse il tempo a camminare in cerchio mentre Silver telefonava. L’alfa tornò qualche minuto dopo. “Se vuoi andare a casa e fare le valigie, loro saranno pronti tra qualche ora.”

Farro scosse la testa. “Grazie.” Si chiese se Gabe fosse consapevole del fatto che c’era un viaggio in programma.

Throwback Thursday – Dragon Edition

Today’s Throwback Thursday is a look back at the Dragon Men Series.

Dragon men_280-700x700

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Also Available in Italian on Amazon!

Joriah Eprion didn’t know what sort of trouble he could get into when his father sends him to another planet to find a mate. Barely making it into the spaceport he tumbles into a sizzling attraction to a man sitting at the spaceport then falls equally for another man at a bar. Unable to resist either man he sets up a confrontation between two of the most powerful men in the kingdom both who are vying for his hand. Will Jory survive their courtship or will he become a pawn between two men used to getting their own way.

Some m/m/m scenes.

 

matetest

 

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Also Available in Italian on Amazon!

When High Duke Torrance Zelan is sent to negotiate mineral rights he didn’t know that his uncle had already offered Tor’s hand in marriage. Still broken-hearted from losing his lover two years before, Tor isn’t prepared for his attraction to the dragon king.

King Naron knows it’s wrong to trick the handsome duke, but the temptation to test Tor for compatibility is too much to resist. Out of all the candidates Naron knows which sexy lord he wants warming his bed.

 

matedance

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Heading to a bar after a dance performance, intergalactically famous dancer, Raven, ran into a little girl beside the dead body of her grandmother. His one good deed iIn helping out the little girl, his one good deed would leads him into the arms of a dragon prince. Raven soon learns that once a dragon claims its mate, it will keep him closer than gold.

matehealer

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Lian Blythorpe avoids entanglements. Scared by his parents’ violent ending he vows to keep things light between himself and any partner. His plans are abandoned when we meets Nevair Dragonfang, the religious leader for an entire planet. One glance into Nevair’s intense gaze and Lian melts. It only takes one time before Lian finds himself captured by his sexy mate and can’t imagine life without him. Unfortunately not everyone is pleased with their mating and one man’s jealousy leads Lian to a trial by fire he might be able to survive.