Authors: Mandy M. Roth
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“Wait until your bride starts hiding your favorite throwing knives,” Alek said. “I wish Kendall would merely reorganize reports.”
A King’s Ransom by Reagan Hawk
(pen name of Mandy M. Roth)
Book One in the Masters of Pleasure Series
On a quest to find his brother, King Kritan of Katarius on the planet of Panucia finds himself ambushed, beaten, tortured and then sold to fight in the arena games. The people of Tamonius—his rival kingdom—condone slavery, take public sex to new lows and try to turn a profit off anything they can. Nothing can change his hatred for everything Tamonius… That is, until he meets the most breathtakingly beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes upon. Surina of the House of Argyros, daughter to a powerful senator, stirs the beast within him, making it want to lay claim to her as badly as the man does.
Free or not, Kritan is a master of seduction, and has selected Surina as his newest prey. But this virginal beauty has secrets of her own—ones that change everything. And destiny just might have the last laugh.
Excerpt from A King’s Ransom (Masters of Pleasure)
City of Vesta in the Kingdom of Tamonius on the Planet Panucia…
Kritan of Katarius walked through the streets of Vesta, a city known across the planet for its corruption and wickedness. He drew his black cloak around him more—to hide the sword at his side and the dagger in the top of his left boot. The clothing he wore was appropriate for the area, though nothing he’d normally want upon his body—the material was something a commoner would wear and not to his liking. He preferred trews to the tunic with a roped belt. He liked his boots, not the ones he wore now that were more of a sandal, leaving some of his foot exposed. He disliked, too, the ring that held his sword, preferring his sheath. He had not dared to bring his personal sword and shield. They were things that would give his origins—and his role—away.
It was important to blend. At least for now.
Cool wind from the north, from across the Ice Seas, blew past him. It was welcome against the heat of Tamonius’s summer. Kritan preferred slightly cooler weather. While he could warm his body naturally by allowing his beast to rise, he could not cool it as easily.
His lip curled at the sight of three women standing, their breasts hanging out of the tops of their tunics. They were whores. His homeland, Katarius, was not without pleasures of the flesh, but they did not openly display their sexuality as the people of Tamonius did. While Katarius had whores, the guards there policed the streets better, making sure the women who charged were corralled into taverns or brothels, not left to wander the streets aimlessly for any and all to see. So far Kritan had lost count of the number of women he’d seen since entering the walls of Vesta who were selling their bodies for a few measly coins or even stale bread.
Such a state of things. And the Tamoni thought they were so superior to the six occupied countries on their home planet.
Kritan walked with his head up, moving with purpose, though he was not yet sure of where he needed to be. His informant had spoken of a tavern four roads within the gates of Vesta. As Kritan walked the length of the fourth row, he could count at least five taverns directly around him, each filthier than the last.
Unease settled over him. He had known this would be a fool’s mission. One he should not have undertaken himself, but he’d had no choice. He had to find his brother. He had to make amends, and he would walk through the cesspool called Vesta a thousand times over if he thought it would give him a chance to make things right. Banishing Jaelyn all those years ago had been a mistake. One he’d lived with for nearly two decades. Lies and a woman—a woman Kritan had believed meant more to him than she did—had fostered an environment that left him speaking words he could not take back, and sending his brother far from home. So long had gone by with no word on his brother’s whereabouts, that when a missive arrived telling a tall tale—one that spoke of Jaelyn not only being alive but in grave danger, so much so that his brother was suddenly on borrowed time, Kritan could not stop himself. He’d mounted a steed and set forth on a quest to find the man—to hell with the cost. Regardless that he had men to do such things for him. That, as King of Katarius, rushing alone into the kingdom of Tamonius was not simply reckless, it was suicide. This was his brother and he would right the wrong he’d committed long ago.
“You look like you like it rough,” a whore said, cupping her unimpressive breasts as she wiggled for him. It was clear to see the woman had serviced many cocks in her days and life had not been kind to her.
Her friend and fellow whore slinked her arms over the woman’s shoulders and flicked her tongue, as if being offered a threesome would create a more appealing sight for him to behold. Kritan was no stranger to threesomes, foursomes and more. But he would never soil himself with the likes of these women. All the face paint in the kingdom could not hide the signs of disease on their skin, and the reek of strong spirits they’d been drinking could not mask the fact they had not bathed in months. Maybe more. Both looked heavily used and past their prime. Neither motivated his cock.
He had been too long between fucks and should have felt his beast stirring, wanting release. As a Katarian male shifter he was immune to the diseases that plagued the non-shifters—sexual or not. Though dirty whores never tempted him. He had certain standards, ones belonging to a king. There were many women who begged to be at his service within his castle, ready to ease his cock should he but click his fingers. All were screened by him before being granted such a coveted position. And sometimes, when he felt randy, he would sneak away to the buttery with a serving wench or two.
Regardless how long it had been since he’d fucked, his focus remained firm—find his brother.
Nothing else mattered.
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