Authors: Lizzie Lynn Lee
Tags: #Romance, #menage, #Paranormal, #Shape Shifter
I involuntarily dug my nails into his waist. The warrior who bore me seemed to know what I was feeling. He caressed my thighs and quickened his pace. The rubbing sensation from his stallion mane on my clit caused me another orgasm. I thought I heard someone screaming, but then I realized it was my own voice. I gasped for air, panting.
The ride continued for another hour and then they slowed down. The centaur carrying me announced that they had reached the heart of their dwelling. They stopped and talked in their native tongue. I heard some enchantments spoken. The sound of something enormous whispered. The warriors galloped again for a short distance until they abruptly stopped.
My blindfold was loosened and I was allowed to see. I blinked and rubbed my eyes. The day was almost dark. Then, I saw them: the warriors. My jaw dropped low.
The warrior who bore me was a palomino centaur. He had vivid, wavy golden hair, like noon sunrays, spilling past his elbows. His eyes were brilliant green, tinted with light amber. His jaw was prominent, manly and strong, amplifying his striking masculine looks. His sculptured body complimented with brawny shoulders, muscular vein-roped arms, golden skin that was a shade lighter than his tresses. I thought I was staring at a golden god, one that only existed in the forbidden land. My eyes darted up, locking gazes with him. He was examining my reaction over his shoulder. His lips curled into a victorious smile for having me as his prized captive.
I turned my gaze to the other warrior. He was a snowy-white centaur with silken platinum hair draped all the way to his waist. His eyes were the lightest shade of blue, enthrallingly beautiful, the kind of eyes that could bewitch a person in one single look. His nose was perfectly curved, complimenting his sensuous lips. His upper body was perfectly muscled with golden, sun-kissed skin, slightly fairer than his friend. His chest was hairless, but his lower hips filled with soft white fur where it joined with his stallion form. The sight of him caused my heart to thunder. I was dying to run my fingers on him, to feel how soft his fur would be. A soft moan escaped my throat. I never had thought the Khimerians were so pleasing to look upon, just like the legends I had heard back in Trelshik.
“Welcome to your new home, sweet thing.” The snowy-white centaur pinched my chin.
“We’re going to bring you to our lord. Tell me your name,” the palomino centaur said.
I quickly closed my mouth. Now, being able to see my surroundings brought an awareness that I was naked. People watched me from the center of the village. Centaurs, women, and their foals. I crossed my arms on my chest and thighs to hide my bare privates. “Could you not at least give me something decent to wear?”
“You did not complain before,” the snowy-white said.
“Besides,” the golden one added, “it is a sin to hide such a luscious body under layers of unworthy garments. We prefer your bare skin.”
“I do not wish to be naked anymore.” I pouted. “Well? Are you not going to bring me to your lord?”
The two of them still flooded me with curious gazes. “Your name,” demanded the golden one.
“Elyra.” My voice was timid.
“Pretty name,” he said, exchanging a mysterious glance with his friend.
“Well? Are you not going to tell me yours?”
“I am called Ronen,” said the golden one. He nodded to his friend, “and he is Callarn, my bond brother.”
Callarn winked playfully. “And you are soon to be our
I flustered even deeper. My suspicions were confirmed. “I think not. I do not wish to be shared.”
Ronen and Callarn exchanged a look. Ronen shook his head languidly. “It does not matter what you think, she-elf. We claim you.”
Despite my protests, Ronen and Callarn denied me clothing. I tightened my grips upon Ronen’s shoulder, pressed my bare breasts against his back, and arranged my legs in such a way to hide my privates from everyone’s eyes. Some centaurs shouted some catcalls at Ronen in their native tongue and he replied back just as good-humoredly. The women giggled, offering their friendly smile, but I was too frightened to return their warm gestures.
Callarn and Ronen stopped at a great hut in the middle of the village. Callarn helped me dismount. The two of them shapeshifted into their human form. I didn’t guess they would retain their clothing when they transformed into humans. Both of them were bare-chested, wearing leather breeches and boots.
It was bright inside the hut, lit by candles that had been enchanted to float in the air. Four men were sitting by a large, roughly chiseled wooden table. I suspected they were the Emagari masters. Three men talked with deep respect to the one who sat at the head of the table. He must be the lord of the Khimerians. Their conversation interrupted, they turned their attention to the door the moment I stepped inside.
“My lord.” Ronen bowed. “We have found a trespasser on the south border.”
The lord was the most beautiful man I had laid my eyes upon. His hair was the color of golden thread. His eyes were icy blue, sparkling like precious jewels. Unlike the others, he was clad in a soft sable jerkin and breeches. His muscles were well-defined. His arms were covered in intricate black ink work.
He motioned me to come closer. I trudged toward him shyly.
“Aren’t you a pretty little one? My name is Veredi. What’s your name?” His voice was deep and enchanting. A voice made to seduce and beguile one to his will.
“Elyra. Elyra of Drorknar.”
“You are from the Drorknar clan?”
I answered him with a quick nod.
“You are a Taerajaj.”
Shadow-elf . “What were you doing in the Mainland? You were far away from home.”
I quickly directed my gaze away. “I went astray.”
Another round of laughter broke out among the men.
“I could see you strayed,” said Veredi, rather impatiently. “And you are not a mere common-folk.” He tugged my chin up again to meet his stare. “You are royalty.”
I wondered how the lord knew I was from nobility. I had no markings upon my person and the only evidence of my highborn was my clothes. But Ronen and Callarn had taken them away.
Veredi’s smile widened. “And you were on the run.”
By now, I was convinced the lord just loved playing games. I bet he already knew everything about me. Rumor said masters of Emagari possessed high magic that only the famous Rhakaran could rival.
“Are you not going to answer me?”
“My business is mine to keep,” I finally said.
“Stubborn wench,” Veredi said with a laugh, “she is a fiery little one.”
I glanced at Ronen and Callarn. They watched me with full lust. Suddenly, I needed more air while I ignored the fluttering urge in my sex.
“My lads have pledged their claim over you,” Veredi continued, “and I find you to be a suitable mate for them.”
? “I think not,” I hastily retorted. “I do not wish to be shared.”
“It is our law. And besides, my lads have taken a fancy to you. I think you should reconsider your decision.”
I turned to look at my warriors again. My heart started thundering. I hated to admit it but I had started taking a fancy toward Ronen and Callarn, but my fear got the best of me. “I cannot be shared between two men. It is forbidden.” I paused for a second, taking a deep breath as I decided to let the lord know of my predicament. “I cannot be their mate, Lord. I’m already taken. I’m married.”
Noise broke out over my statement.
“You are still pure,” Ronen said. “How is it you claim to be married yet untouched.”
I cast my gaze away from them.
“Is that why you were running away? You were afraid of joining with your husband?” Veredi asked me softly.
“My husband died just before our wedding night.”
“Then you are a free woman.”
“My lord does not understand. I am from royalty, and we only take one husband in a lifetime.”
“You loved your husband?”
“I barely knew him. My family had arranged the marriage. When he passed away, I was about to be burned in the funeral pyre with him. I was supposed to follow my husband to Paradise, so I could serve him forever. It was our tradition.”
More shouts of disbelief loomed around me. Everyone seemed outraged with the fate I had to endure.
“Is that the reason you were running?”
I gave a weak nod. “I want to live, sire.”
“I understand.” Veredi lovingly patted my hand. “As for my concerns, you are in our domain; hence you will follow our law. Since your husband has perished, you become a free woman. If you were deeply attached to your husband and were still mourning his sudden departure, I would not force you to change your heart. But since you have no attachment to your late husband, you should consider accepting Ronen and Callarn’s claim. These lads have been searching for a suitable woman as their mate for quite a long time.”
“But I do not wish to be shared.”
Veredi exhaled a deep breath at my defiance. “Do you know why we share our woman, wench?”
I shook my head.
“We Khimerian are unable to bear female offsprings. It was a curse placed upon our people in the ancient age.”
Veredi let out a cynical laugh. “Lord Draeve’s curse that our kin not be given female companions. Since then, our centauresses are no longer bearing female offspring, and our female descendants are declining. Our foals are always male. To preserve our line, we are forced to take ordinary women as brides. As you may have noticed, we are humble folks. Taking woman brides necessitates a big dowry and not all unmated males have the resources. Hence, we share our women to ensure our future offspring.”
“Ensure the future offspring?”
“We are shifters; sometimes our seed is not well-suited to impregnate common women. If there is more than one male coupling with the woman, the bigger the chance of future offspring.”
I went quiet upon hearing his explanation.
“You are afraid?”
I didn’t answer.
“We are not a savage pack as others may say about us. We cherish our women and protect them to our last blood. You will find our women well-taken care off. “
Involuntarily, my gaze strayed to my warriors. The men who would swear to protect me, defend me with their last breath. They would also cherish me, warming my body and soul. My fear and thoughts of the perversion of being shared ceased a little.
“You do not know what you will get yourself into if you harbor me. My family hired the Jakael hunters to bring me back home. My presence here will bring bad luck to your people, my lord.”
Veredi laughed. “Aesterneum is a haven. Our demesne is protected by layers of wards and ancient magic. You shouldn’t worry. Well, will you accept Ronen and Callarn’s claim?”
“What if I do not accept this claim, will you force me?”
Veredi sighed. “We would never force a woman to become our
dhamarani . Although, it has never occurred in our history that a free woman has refused the companionship of our unmated warriors. Many women say our charm is irresistible.”
Raucous laughter broke again.
“What if I do not wish to take…“
“While we will not force you, I’ll warrant that Ronen and Callarn would go to great extents to make you change your mind. You will stay with us, however, until I decide this matter later.”
“What if I still do not wish to take a mate?” I peppered him. “Will you let me free?”
Veredi’s eyes narrowed, slight agitation flashed in his face. “Eventually…yes. We will escort you out from our border, and you are on your own from there. Wouldn’t it be better to have Ronen and Callarn as your protectors instead of you wandering alone into the perils of the wilderness?”
“You cannot share love, sire. A woman should only serve one man in a lifetime.”
“You’ll be surprise what you are capable of loving.” Veredi’s voice turned warm. His annoyance and agitation vaporized. He turned to Ronen and Callarn, “Lads, what do you have to offer as dowry if she changes her mind and decides to accept your claim?”
Both Ronen and Callarn hurriedly rummaged in their pockets, and each one of them produced a small velvet pouch, tipped the contents out on the table. Gold, silver, and precious gems spilled on the rough wooden surface, gleaming inside the hut, sparkling an eerie glow on everyone’s face.
“My lads labored hard for their dowry, precious one,” said Veredi. “You might find what they have to offer is not as much as the way you are accustomed, but they offer you their hearts and souls for your contentment, and this cannot be measured with gold or any precious gems. Should you reconsider your decision…“ He gestured his hand to cast his spell. Seconds later, the dowries leapt back into the pouches and floated in the air above the table. “When you decide to accept their claim, come to me and take these precious gifts, and I shall bless your union.”
I cast him an uncertain look.
Veredi continued, “You will be given your own place, and you will live according to our custom. Since a claim has been bestowed upon you, you are not to be touched by men other than your claimers, Ronen and Callarn. They will show you your new lodgings.”