Authors: Sheri Fredricks
The Centaur Series
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places, businesses, and incidents are from the author’s imagination, or they are used fictitiously and are definitely fictionalized. Any trademarks or pictures herein are not authorized by the trademark owners and do not in any way mean the work is sponsored by or associated with the trademark owners. Any trademarks or pictures used are specifically in a descriptive capacity.
No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form (electronic or print) without permission from the author, except in the embodiment of reviews.
Copyright 2013 by Temple Publishing
Editor: Leanore Elliott
Cover Art provided
©May, 2013; Sheri Fredricks
The Centaur Series
Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers' Choice Award for 2012.
Man by day, Centaur by night, Rhycious is a remedy maker who needs his own healing.
He's the royal physician, famous for his cures. War and posttraumatic stress disorder has broken his spirit, preventing him from finding true happiness. Then a direct order from the queen to investigate an uprising forces him out of his secluded cabin at the edge of the forest.
Patience is an optimistic, good-natured Wood Nymph who works as a mediator to ensure harmony within the Nymph sector.
When Rhycious loses his grip on reality, he believes his inability to control his disorder will drive Patience away. Nevertheless, desire flares, and Patience draws him close. Kidnapping and betrayal turn their mythic joint venture into a deadly bout.
Will their love endure when survival hinges on trusting each other?
To my creative, talented, and awesome CPs who challenged me to bang it out better: Mel from Hell and D’Ann Linscott-Dunham.
And to the Wicked Women—you keep me sane.
empor Aleksander pounded his hips against the hottest female Centaur in all Boronda—and he was bored.
Up and down…Up and down.
Beneath him, Adelpha in her human form cried out, “Faster—Faster, Alek. I’m almost there.”
In and out…In and out.
I was hoping you’d been there, thirty minutes ago!
would soon become
if the blasted woman didn’t hurry it up. He slipped his hand between their slick bodies to encourage her to a speedy ending. After all, as a Centaur himself, he was very experienced in the art of pleasuring females.
Adelpha’s moans grew louder and she wriggled about, so he rolled her taut nipple between his fingers.
Same routine, different female. He clenched his jaw to stifle a yawn. Good thing Adelpha’s tight body felt wonderful wrapped around him.
The bottom of his left foot developed an itch, and as he moved up and down, in and out, he wondered how he’d scratch without breaking his pounding rhythm. He tweaked her other nipple, drawing more cries. Her eyes rolled back in her head.
Aleksander thought about the half-eaten plate of enchiladas in his icebox, leftovers from last night’s dinner. Oh yeah . . . a few forkfuls, washed down with an icy oat-soda, would be nice right about now. But Pan’s hooves, he had to finish this monotonous mattress work first.
For a moment, he mulled if anything over one hundred years was old for a Centaur, and if that were the reason for his bedtime boredom.
Doubtful. As long as my heart keeps beating, I’ll never be too old for this.
Maybe bored, but never too old.
So, why did life lose its luster for him? Moreover, when?
As he pounded into Adelpha, Aleksander reminded himself he’d been raised to be a warrior. He prided himself at having worked into his position of Head Palace Guard.
If not a soldier for Queen Savella, then what? Gigolo?
Last year, his best friend Rhycious, the Royal Remedy Maker, married Patience, a Wood Nymph. While Alek had been restless for a time, prior to the unorthodox wedding, he’d never before given thought to staying tied to one female. Rhy seemed crazy in love, spouting all sorts of besotted crap these days.
Perhaps it was possible. Maybe it’d fill the gaping hole in his heart.
Tied to one female? Ha! Ridiculous.
I’d rather have Minotaur fingers curled around my throat, pinching off the air.
“Oh! Don’t stop.”
Startled, he snapped back to the present and plastered a grin to his unsmiling lips.
Adelpha’s heavy-lidded eyes peered back, slightly irritated, wholly aroused. Her long legs wrapped his hips and squeezed tight, refusing to allow him escape.
As if he could. While his mind could care less,
—the name he called his buried cock—twitched happily
Adelphia pouted her kiss-swollen lips.
Surreptitiously, he glanced at his watch. One hour before the boys met for a beer. Lifting her leg over his shoulder, he hammered her in earnest.
Short pounding strokes tipped her over the edge and scattered her wits to the ecstasy beyond. Adelpha screamed her delight.
A few more pumps and he abruptly pulled out, releasing himself outside of her body with a loud grunt of weariness.
Another satisfied female.
Too bad satisfaction skipped his stop.
“Mmm, Aleksander.” Her sharp-tipped fingernails scratched lightly across his back. “When will you admit I’m the only one for you?”
When I decide to geld myself.
He timed his escape from between her scissoring thighs and made to roll off the low floorbed.
Quicker than a tail snap, Adelpha snatched his gold neck chain and pulled him back to her.
Pain from the strangling was scant, compared to the irritation building inside. “Adelpha, let me up.”
“No,” she whined. “I want to cuddle, and—I’m horny again.”
The only thing horny-like about Adelpha were her crescent-shaped ruby earbobs and the BDSM hobbles she intended on attaching to him—
Half-reclined on the bed, head held immobile by the small fist twisting his chain, Aleksander weighed his options like any seasoned warrior.
He gathered his arsenal of weapons: an uncommonly sharp intelligence. He reviewed his knowledge of her weaknesses: Adelpha’s fear of losing her beauty.
Aleksander turned to face her, stopping when the gold links’ pulling on his throat brought him to a halt. Lastly, he studied his opponent: blonde hair spread in frothy display, her narrowed eyes calculating as a cat’s.
One side of his mouth turned up in feigned surrender. “My transition is in less than thirty minutes. I doubt getting squashed by my true form is what you had in mind. Imagine your delicious body
Not to mention coupling between equine Centaur and those in human form was against the orders of society.
She relaxed her hold, and his chain slid from her fingers.
He laid it on thick, but she wouldn’t know the difference. “I report to duty in a short while—”
nine hours from now
“—and if I’m late . . . ? You wouldn’t want me demoted, would you?”
Adelpha fell back with a harrumph. Millions of air beads crackled inside the mattress as she stretched her arms overhead. “Course not. I thought we had time for another quickie, is all.” Her sleek body rolled away and she rose to her feet.
He eyed her, seeing through the deceptively shrewd demeanor.
For Adelpha, it was all about marrying into a notable station, which was why he’d taken no chances on impregnating the cunning filly. His military position within the Centaur kingdom was as high up as they came—below Queen Savella, of course.
Aleksander flicked his gaze over her nude body, then climbed out of bed. The sooner he kicked her heart-shaped ass out his stallroom door, the better.
“Get dressed, Adelpha. I’ll walk you to the Atrium.”
Ella made a grab for the loose sheets of colorful paper she’d nearly dropped on the busy walkway of the Centaur inner mall. Last spring, she’d made up her mind to start her own business in the kingdom’s recently opened free market. She’d wasted no time in applying for a permit at the palace and was granted permission a month ago.
Two weeks prior, contriving the opening night for Boronda Forest’s first ever speed-dating service sounded like an exciting adventure—a way to get out of the house and away from her overbearing Troll mother.
Opening night nerves from the overwhelming response heated her face, which she knew would highlight every freckle on her ivory skin. For herself, she could care less about meeting a male. It was all about making enough money to get out from under her parents’ rock and moving far, far away.
She could do without relationships and all the headaches that came with them.
Ella’s hair caught in the dangling strap of her book bag, and she yanked the reddish strands free. Long curls fluttered from the chrome buckle. Before she could step aside, a Minotaur walking backwards and talking to friends ran into her.
And the fliers made their getaway.
“Crap.” Ella knelt carefully on her long skirt and gathered the sheets nearest her. “Do you suppose you can help me?”
Transfixed by the strewn multi-hued papers, the female Minotaur stared at the rock floor.
The girl shrugged, then leaned down and lifted a yellow sheet closer to her squinty vision.
“Are you going to this?” She handed the sheet to Ella.
“I’m the one putting it on.”
“So, are you going?”
Raising her chin, Ella peered up. “Yes. I’m going.”
Was this heifer for real? No sense explaining to moo-child that the owner of the speed-dating service ought to be there for her clients.
“I’m going, too. I signed up last week. Did you sign up?”
Ella bit the inside of her cheek, suppressing a desire to take the fliers in her hand and wallop the girl between her bovine eyes. Professional attitude won out. “What name did you register under?”
“Carryyn. And that’s spelled with an r-r-y-y.” Thick fingers, matching an equally thick brain, brandished another sheet plucked from the cold floor. She waved it inches from Ella’s face.
“You’re in the second session.” Leaning away from potential paper cuts to her nose, Ella remembered the female’s uniquely spelled name . . . then gathered ten fallen fliers for every one of the Minotaur’s.
Maybe her horns keep her off balance.
“Thanks, Carryyn.” She stuffed the papers inside the book bag and rose to her feet. “See you later.”
“You will? Where?” Her great bovine head tilted. Metal rings around her horns spun while her skinny tail drew lazy circles as if it were swimming the air like a one-finned fish.
Across the centuries old palace tunnel, two speed-dating announcements hung on either side of the Neigh Café door. Patrons, mainly female, eyed the posters and giggled. Ella dashed to tear the fliers down.
Three rotations were already scheduled, and the waiting list exceeded a hundred names. The café’s maximum capacity held twenty-five—legally. Apprehension skittered along her spine. Turnout was better than expected and she hoped she could pull it off.
Bawdy male laughter erupted from a group of male Centaurs who whistled and flirted with females passing by.
Ella shook her head. Did the studs really think women were attracted to asinine behavior? She turned back to the task of removing her advertisements.
The café door opened wide. Ella quickly stepped from the swinging path of the oncoming wood . . . and slammed into a hard object with an
Roped with heavy muscle, a thick arm wrapped around her ribs and kept her from toppling over. Just when the intoxicating scent of rich Patchouli did more than register in her brain, a herd of boisterous males swept past, pursuing their female quests. Ella and the owner of the sinewy limb stumbled forward after a shove from behind.
An immediate sense of sexual desire emanated from the connection at her waist. It flashed heated strobes of red and orange in her aura-reading mind.
Unexpectedly, while Ella got face-to-face with the accumulated dust on the mall’s rock wall, a very large hand became personally acquainted with her left breast.