Rise of the King by Mandy M Roth
Paranormal Bird Shifter Romance
Warrior, bastard, outcast, traitor to his kind, these are all labels Lazar has worn for the past several years, since he took a stand against the actions of a mad king. He’s defended the Kingdom of the Hawks even though the blood of the Falcons runs through his veins. He’s bedded their women, drank their mead and protected their king. None of that makes him one of them. An empty pit has been in his stomach for years, believing his true mate perished long ago. When he learns she’s alive, he has to not only win her over, but also make her understand men who can shift into birds aren’t the things of nightmares. They’re real, and he’s one of them.
Sabrina lives a relatively sheltered life. Her overprotective uncle means well but can sometimes go too far. When he shows up with a sexy hunk she’s dreamed about, it’s all Sabrina can do to control her emotions. As old lies are uncovered, she has to decide if she should open her heart to a man who has made using women an art form and who also happens to have wings. Plus, he’s more than just any old shifter male. He’s the rightful king of the Falco, and it’s time he rose to his position and accepted his destiny, even if that destiny includes her.
WARNING: This book contains hot, explicit sex and violence, a dominant, alpha, bird-shifting male who has the rules of seduction memorized and who finally understands he has to take a stand for what he wants. It has a heroine who, while young, knows she won’t settle for anything less than she deserves and who finds herself being taught things that make her blush.
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Lazar drew the beauty below him closer. He knew the minute he woke she would be gone. Her deep brown eyes stared up at him. Her full rosy lips beckoned to him. He kissed them again, having long since memorized the feel of them. He didn’t want to ever wake. Here, in his dreams, he had her.
In waking hours he had only emptiness in his chest. In reality his mate had perished long ago, never able to grow into the beauty below him. Her life had been cut short.
He held tighter to her, his tongue moving around hers. Their naked forms slid against one another, and his cock hardened once more. It wanted in her as much as he wanted to be in her. She was paradise. His salvation. She was what the women in his reality weren’t.
She made the slightest sound of pleasure as he lined up with her wet core. “Open for me,” he said.
Lazar snapped awake, alone in his bedchamber. He stared up at the red material draped around the four-post wooden bed. With a huge, exasperated breath, he closed his eyes, his cock hard with lust. He tossed aside the remaining covers and lay there, totally exposed and totally nude.
He thumped his head on his pillow. He wanted to fall back asleep. He wanted to return to his dreams of her—of his mate. At least the mate his mind dreamed up for him.
His cock was too full of need to allow him to drift off again. With a sigh, Lazar sat up and grabbed a dark green loincloth. He wrapped it and secured it with a broach indicating his rank among the guards, as was customary to his kind. He eyed his chamber door and stood. With a heavy heart he moved toward it, knowing he’d search out a serving wench in the castle to satisfy his needs. He hated that weakness. What he hated more was dreaming of a woman he could never have.
The sun, near setting, edged over the crenels of the castle walls. Each gap let the sun’s rays shine through directly into Lazar’s eyes. He took a moment to adjust to the change in light levels. The pattern the rays cast onto the training yards was captivating.
Lazar pushed his hair from his face and spun, bringing his sword up to block his opponent’s strike. The shock reverberated through his arms. His muscular, trained body absorbed it with relative ease. The blow was hard and no practice weapons were used, so steel-on-steel sounds echoed throughout the training yard.
Since they were but fledglings, the bird shifters’ males practiced with real weapons. No sense learning if what you were learning with could no more hurt an insect, let alone protect you. As they’d grown into fierce adult males, they’d only perfected the art of battle and swordplay. They conditioned many hours, never allowing their skills to waver. One never knew when one would require them.
The man coming at him had oddly become something of a friend over the course of Lazar’s last several years within the Kingdom of the Hawks. Sachin, once someone Lazar would have seized the moment to kill rather than train alongside, turned lightly on his feet, moving with the grace of a true warrior. Lazar drew upon his abilities as a seasoned fighter and twisted, going at his opponent. He nicked Sachin’s arm. Something that didn’t happen often.
Sachin raised a brow, and a mischievous grin slipped over his face. His amused silver gaze locked on Lazar. “Good one.”
“Are you bleeding?” a shrill, feminine voice demanded from the sidelines, interrupting the sparring.
Wisely, both men lowered their weapons as Sachin’s mate, Paige, approached the training yard. She eyed her husband and pointed to his upper arm. The tiniest trickle of blood was evident.
It was only a scratch, but from her expression it was life-threatening. “You’re hurt.”
Sachin scoffed. No man worth his salt would cry foul over a nick such as the one Lazar had given him. It was easy to see the warrior was insulted anyone would attempt to do so on his behalf. That being said, the person doing it was his wife, his mate and a fine balance had to be maintained. “’Tis a scratch, my love.”
Paige put a hand on her hip and glared at him, her brown eyes going hard. Her auburn hair spilled over her creamy, pale shoulders. She looked both lovely and slightly like a witch about to cast a thousand poxes upon them all. Lazar guessed the latter, for her temper knew no bounds.
“A scratch, my ass,” she sputtered. “You were supposed to be back home for dinner nearly two hours ago, and here I find you horsing around with your buddy and bleeding all over the place?”
It took a moment for Lazar to wrap his mind around all Paige had said. Her human slang often left most of the men of the realm blinking in confusion until they surmised her meaning. Sachin cast Lazar an apologetic look. “It would appear our training has ended for the day.”
“You’re damn right it’s ended,” his wife snapped. She was feisty to say the least.
Lazar failed to hide his laughter as the head of the guards took a verbal lashing from a woman nearly half his size. Paige rounded on Lazar. “Think this is funny? Wait until you’re mated and we women gang up on you. You won’t be snickering then, bucko.”
Sachin laughed deeply. “That would be a sight.”
Huffing, Lazar puffed out his chest. He had no desire to be stuck with one woman and one woman only. “No offense, but I’d much rather sample many women than tie myself to one.”
“Watch what you say in front of my wife,” Sachin said sternly. “You will not speak of women with ill reputations before her.”
Rolling her eyes, Paige snorted and waved her hand in the air. “Oh please. We all know Lazar’s reputation with the ladies—if you can call them that. And I’m hardly a blushing virgin anymore.”
Lazar wagged his brows, feeling victorious and oddly proud of his reputation.