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Authors: Amber Kell

Tags: #Fantasy, #m/m romance

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live with it either.

The next man was Sir Bertam Cant, a green-eyed

baron from the northern province. His kiss was pleasant,

yet brief. The nervous look in the man's eyes told the story.

He gave the man a nod and received a heart-warming smile

in return.

Tor stood quietly by Naron's side. The heat pouring

off Tor's body heated up an entirely different region than

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his heart.

"You're next, Your Grace." Dragons were flying

about in his stomach, big flaming dragons.

"You'll have to call me Tor or at least Torrance. I

never kiss people who call me by my title."

A nervous laugh burst out of Naron. That silky,

smooth baritone voice sent shivers down his spine.

He sucked in his breath.

"It's your turn, Tor."

A slight smile curved those perfectly formed lips.

With a delicate flare, the duke handed off his staff to one of

his servants and stepped towards Naron. There was no sign

of hesitation when Tor slid his hands around the Naron's

back, pulled him against that strong lean body of his, and

took Naron's lips in a no hold barred kiss that weakened his

knees.

There was no measure for this kiss. How could he

compare a soul-touching experience to the almost rough

tumblings of his lovers before? All other kisses had been a

watery prelude to this main course.

With lips, tongue, and teeth, Tor dominated Naron's

mouth, consuming him in a willing bonfire. The kiss had

such a resounding echo in his soul that it took a moment to

realize that Tor's lips had left his. Blinking and slightly

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confused, Naron's vision came back into focus. There was a

silence in the room as he forced himself to step back.

"Please join the others." If his voice cracked a little,

it was beyond his ability to stop it. It was barely within his

ability not to drag Tor back to his quarters. He licked his

lips, savoring the flavor of Tor's mouth. He jumped slightly

when he felt his dragon half shift restlessly under his skin

as if wanting to grab the golden man and hide him in a pile

of treasure so no one could gaze on what was his.

"Mine,"
it whispered insistently in Naron's head.

One of Tor's men stepped forward and led him to

stand near the others. Naron noticed that the others gave

Tor a wide berth as if afraid he would do something, or

maybe it was his gigantic bodyguard that caused the

problem.

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Chapter Three

"Gentlemen, we will begin the day with a tour of

the mines," a light tenor announced.

Crillon whispered in his ear, "That's Sparrow, the

king's page."

A low growl echoed in the cave.

"Is there a problem, Your Highness?" Tor asked the

king. What the hell was his problem now? He couldn't step

a foot forward without upsetting Naron. Since the

announcement that morning, the king had been in a touchy

mood.

"This tour doesn't need to include your entire

entourage."

Oh. Damn.

Tor felt his cheeks heat, but he didn't let it show

how much Naron's criticism hurt. "I need Crillon. If I don't

have a guide, I can become disoriented."

Yeah, that was sexy. He was sure to be picked as

consort. Tor firmly reminded himself that being a consort

wasn't his goal. He didn't want to be trapped on this

backwards planet no matter how sexy he found the king.

He just had to keep reminding himself of that each time

Naron came too close and Tor's body tightened with need.

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He also had to remember not to inhale around Naron,

because the king's scent tempted him to do naughty things

to the sexy royal.

"I will act as your guide," Naron announced, as if

that settled the matter.

"Thank you, Your Highness. I appreciate the offer,

but Crillon is used to accompanying me and knows my

needs, and I don't want to take attention away from the

others."

He didn't need the other contestants to see him as

competition, but more importantly, he didn't want Naron to

think of him as the poor blind guy who needed assistance.

It was pride, pure and simple, but Tor couldn't set it aside.

It was one of the few things he had left.

Right now, he just wanted to seal the mining

agreement and head the hell out. However, since his uncle

had signed him up for the consort contest, it would be a

while before he saw the back of this planet. He would

definitely have some strong words with the high king when

he saw him next.

"As you will," Naron said in response to Tor's

refusal. He could hear the coldness creeping back into the

king's tone. His usual diplomatic grace was really deserting

him this time.

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Fuck
.

Just as he was thinking of ways to get on the king's

good side again, Baroy's voice shouted into his mind.

"
Earthquake coming. Get out! I'll hold it as long as I can."

* * * *

Naron hid his despair behind a cold façade that he'd

perfected over years of court life. Was it so wrong to yearn

for the touch of his soul mate?

Determined not to let Tor's rejection hurt him,

Naron spent the next few minutes discussing mining and

the kingdom's use of the various minerals. Looking over, he

saw Tor talking to his guard, their two heads intimately

together. Naron's beast growled at the sight.

"Is there something I can help you with, Tor?" he

snapped.

"We need to leave."

Disappointed, the king nodded, thinking Tor's man

must've received a message that forced him to go. Then

realizing Tor couldn't see him, he said, "I understand. Let

my steward know when you want to reschedule." He knew

Tor's uncle would want him to tour the mines so he could

make a solid trade agreement. However, since he'd now

met Tor, Naron thought the high king would have to get

used to missing the duke since Naron wasn't giving Tor

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clearance to leave, ever.

To Naron's surprise, Tor reached over, grabbed his

arm, and pulled him along. "You don't understand. We all

need to go."

Not giving Naron a chance to object, Tor wrapped

his hand around his guard's bicep, still holding onto Naron.

"Let's go, Crillon."

"Yes, Your Grace."

Naron dug in his heels. A surprisingly powerful grip

yanked him along, causing him to stumble after Tor and his

guard. "Don't turn stubborn. We're leaving now!" Naron

glanced back, pleased to see the others were following.

He'd hate to leave anyone behind.

"Where are we going?" Since digging in his heels

wasn't working, and Tor was much stronger than Naron had

suspected, he hoped conversation would work in calming

the other man down. The guard took it all in stride, as if his

master acted this way every day. One of his own guards

tried to intercede, but Naron shook his head. He'd go

anywhere the duke wanted to drag him.

"Someplace safe. Less talking, more walking. We

need out of here, now."

Tor pulled them both into the elevator and tapped

his foot impatiently as the others boarded.

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"Why are we leaving?" Naron asked.

"What's wrong with the duke?" Gallywyn asked

once they were all in the elevator.

"Has he gone insane?" Lord Mell sneered, glaring at

Tor.

Tor ignored the questions.

Naron admired how the gorgeous man stood

straight and proud, not letting anything bother him. Despite

his ire at Tor's highhanded way, he felt a burst of desire for

the commanding man. "What's going on?" He kept his

voice calm. Now that they were in the elevator he wanted

some answers.

"Would you like to explain to us why we're

leaving?" Lord Mell interrupted in a scornful voice. "Last I

checked, you weren't in charge of this trip."

Tor's shifter guard snarled and pulled back his coat

to show the other man his weapon and his willingness to

use it.

"Stand down, Crillon," Tor's ordered in his calm

voice. "Baroy told me an earthquake is coming."

There were a few mutters, but no one said anything

else.

The door opened. As they stepped out of the

elevator, an ominous roar shook the earth.

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Tor wrapped an arm around Naron's waist and

pulled him along in a fast run. Naron dared to look back. A

hole appeared in the earth, swallowing the mine's entrance

and the elevator shaft they had left seconds ago.

Sir Cant exhaled, "Holy dragon mother!"

The group stopped several yards from the scene of

destruction.

"You saved us," Lord Gallywyn said, looking at Tor

with stars in his eyes.

Naron growled, instinctively moving in front of

Tor. He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see Tor

was rubbing his shoulder with one hand and holding onto

his guard with the other.

The beast inside the king hated that Tor wanted

anyone else to guide him, but his human side understood

Tor needed to have the familiar to be at ease. The inner

conflict disoriented Naron. Unused to having such internal

conflict, he vowed to talk to the royal advisor when he got

back to the castle. Maybe there was an easier way to deal

with his inner dragon than he knew about.

"Baroy felt a disturbance coming and warned me to

get out," Tor said calmly.

"Who's Baroy?" Lord Mell scowled at the duke.

"My dragon."

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"For those who don't know, his grace is dragon

struck," the king said. He realized he'd been unconsciously

stroking Tor's arm. "His bondmate is a space dragon who, I

believe, is circling this planet as we speak."

"What's a bondmate?" Sir Cant asked. "Is that the

same as bonding with dragonkin?"

Tor shook his head. "No, it's like being really close

to your pet except mine can get into my head and take over

my vision. Space dragons need a biological partner in order

to thrive. I don't know why, and Baroy is so rare he can't

ask another of his kind about it."

"Can you communicate telepathically?" Naron

asked. Curiosity about the duke ate away at him.

"Yes, Baroy is above, and he can tell what happens

on any planet I'm on. He's very powerful." Tor released his

guard and patted Naron's hand, unaware of how they were

creating a look of unity before the others.

"Why didn't you tell us what was going on?"

Gallywyn asked, his eyes lit with curiosity.

"I didn't want to panic anyone." Tor said, idly

stroking Naron's arm, an unconscious gesture that made his

cock harden in his pants.

Unable to help himself, Naron leaned over and

kissed Tor on the lips. "Thank you for my life and everyone

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else's. If you hadn't listened to your dragon, we would all

be dead."

Tor shrugged. "I always listen to my dragon."

"Always." That thought chilled him. "What if he

tells you to leave the planet?"

"Then I leave the planet," Tor said as if following

his dragon's orders was the most natural thing in the world.

"Do you have any control over him at all?" The

thought of a space dragon running wild above them made

Naron uneasy. Space dragons weren't known for their even

temper, especially when dealing with their bondmates.

"I don't control him. We don't have that kind of

relationship. We're partners of a sort. He flies through the

galaxies and explores new planets, and I work for my

uncle. We don't have to be in the same area to work

together. He can see through my eyes, and I usually see

through his. That's why my eyes look so strange. They

reflect whatever Baroy is seeing."

"How far can you communicate?" Lord Gallywyn

asked.

Tor frowned. "What do you mean?"

Naron patted the duke's hand as he tightened his

grip.

"I mean if he can go through galaxies, at what point

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do you lose communication?"

Naron remembered that Gallywyn had a

background in the natural sciences and probably found Tor

fascinating. Naron also found the man fascinating, but for

far different reasons.

"There is no limit. It's like talking in your own

mind. You can't leave your own mind, so Baroy can't leave

mine."

Gallywyn stroked his chin thoughtfully. "I'd love to

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