[Siren Epic Romance, ManLove: Erotic Alternative Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, M/M, shape-shifters, HEA]
Draechen prince Rachen Tersain is desperately in love with sprite Alwyn Cyraltin, and is aware they share a bond. However, he still has trouble separating his identity from that of his twin brother. Thinking he doesn’t deserve a mate, he maintains an almost platonic relationship with Alwyn.
That changes when Alwyn comes to him, revealing his greatest fears and doubts. Rachen attempts to help his mate, but a vision from his brother-in-law, Sari, throws the Tersain into chaos. Now, Rachen has to fight to prove Alwyn’s innocence in front of his loved ones.
As the sexual tension between Alwyn and Rachen increases, so does the apprehension of the imperial family. With Alwyn’s powers growing and the Tersain struggling between their affection toward Rachen and their fears of the unknown, Rachen is the only one who can find a solution. Can he give his mate the love they both need, or will the fire of their passion be extinguished by Alwyn’s secrets?
NOTE! You are purchasing Siren's newest imprint, the Siren Epic Romance collection. This is Book 6 of 7 in the Chronicles of the Shifter Directive series. The series shares an overall story arc with many crossover characters playing major roles in each book. These books are not stand-alone and should be read in their numbered order.
A Siren Erotic Romance
Scarlet Hyacinth is a Siren-exclusive author.
"Thank you, Ms. Hyacinth, for starting this book exactly where the previous one ended. I didn't want to lose my good time mojo I had happening. *grins* I'm thrilled that I'm at book six, but I'm sad that I'm at book six. It's a curse when you're a fast reader. I devour the books in my path and then I'm super sad when I get to the end of a great series. And the 'Chronicles of the Shifter Directive' has proven itself, beyond a shadow of doubt, to be an incredible series. The action, the passion, the political intrigue, and the love have all been over the top and wonderful. 'Fire's Embrace' is Prince Rachen's and Alwyn's story. But, is it really Alwyn? Rachen is Karein's twin whom Karein's black dragon energy actually consumed while they were in their egg. Rachen spent two hundred years living inside Karein, their souls together. When Karein pressed his hand to the obelisk, Kael took Rachen out of Karein, allowing Karein to be free for the first time. Then Rachen lived within Kael for awhile until the obelisk exploded releasing all three men. Rachen still struggles with the fact that so many of his memories aren't really his, they belong to either Karein or Kael. This is why Rachen has held back from claiming Alwyn, even though he's fairly certain Alwyn is his mate. Rachen holds his kin's memories of their mates, Sari and Talrasar respectively, so Rachen has been hesitant to trust his instincts. But now, with Alwyn's revelation to him that he doesn't think he's a sprite or even Alwyn, Rachen must protect his mate and love him. After confronting the sprite leaders, Rachen discovers that the prince of the sprite who had come to live at Draechenburg, Alwyn, is just an illusion. Rachen's Alwyn is a phoenix, summoned into creation centuries before by the avian shifters in hopes of defeating the draechen. At the time Phoenix was created, it was just pure energy with incredible powers. But, now, having been trapped in a box for hundreds of years, and then trapped within the illusion, Phoenix has gained a consciousness and his soul has been awakened. And he is, truly, Rachen's mate. What does all of this mean, however, for the paranormal world and Rachen's family? How can Phoenix discover how to return Eanara's (Sari's mother) powers to her? He inadvertently took all of the High Priestess of Jennara's powers and now she is dying. There is so much unrest and confusion. "Alwyn felt it when the spell collapsed under the weight of the mate bond. Suddenly, the phoenix could no longer be contained. Empowered by the new link with Rachen, it screeched and burst out. In a flash, Alwyn pushed Rachen off him. Just in time, too, because a few instants later, he exploded into a hot, bright flame. And then, he stopped existing, or rather, he wasn't Alwyn anymore. He was just…Phoenix." What follows in the story is almost more incredible than anything else I've witnessed, except it's all been so fascinating. All I can say is that I thought the author left me on a cliffhanger in the previous book, but now, I know she did. What an ending! I've got to jump directly into the next book because I can't wait to find out what's going to happen. I loved this book just as much as the five before it." -- Christy Duke, Rainbow Book Reviews
Rachen liked Eanera Myrthylar. Perhaps it was a leftover emotion since the time his soul had been inside Karein. She was Sari’s mother, and her affection toward Sari had always been clear to him. Resenting her was an unpleasant feeling, but one he couldn’t help.
She sat down, smoothing her fae robes as she made herself more comfortable. Clearly, she’d been honest in saying that she hadn’t meant to intrude on their private moment. Nevertheless, she didn’t linger too much on that. She directed her attention toward Alwyn. “Sari tells me that you’re confused regarding your real identity.”
Alwyn nodded, now looking apprehensive. “On certain occasions, I’ve caught glimpses of something else beyond… my normal self.”
“I see,” Eanera answered. “Well, I’ve been thinking, and I might be able to help you with that.”
Alwyn immediately leaned toward her, obviously very interested. “Truly? How?”
“Since I’m a healer, my abilities allow me to slip into the bodies of other people. I might be able to push back the illusion—if that’s what it is—and find what’s hiding beneath.”
Rachen wasn’t very sure that would be a good idea. He trusted Alwyn with his life, but taking into account the volatility of the situation and the way Alwyn’s abilities had manifested so far, there could be a chance that this could end in a disaster. It occurred to Rachen that he might find an answer to their dilemma if he claimed Alwyn. There was no point to try Eanera’s suggestion now taking into account that far better alternative.
“Maybe we shouldn’t risk it,” he suggested. “I could find out who Alwyn really is.”
Alwyn gaped at him, while Eanera arched a brow. “You haven’t done so by now.”
“Well, yes…” Rachen cleared his throat. “I was hoping that something would happen today that would fix that.”
Alwyn’s expression immediately shut off, and Rachen realized how that must have sounded to his mate. “Not that it was my sole intention in pursuing you,” he hastened to clarify. “It would just be an additional consequence.”
His mate clenched his jaw. “I don’t want you mating someone you don’t really desire just to help your family.”
Rachen rushed to the couch and took Alwyn’s hand. “Baby… I would never do that to you. You have to believe me.”
Alwyn freed his hand from Rachen’s grip, then proceeded to ignore him. As the young man turned toward Eanera, Rachen’s dragon roared in protest. “Please listen,” he insisted. “I love you.”
Eanera got up, having apparently noticed the tension, not that it was very hard. “Perhaps I should go. It feels I’m doing more harm than good.”
Alwyn shook his head resolutely. “On the contrary,” he said, “you really put things into perspective. I’m open to going through with your suggestion, as long as there’s no risk involved for you.”
The High Priestess chuckled. “Worry not. It’s not the first time I’m doing this. I will be very careful and retreat at any sign that things aren’t going right.”
Alwyn was beginning to look a little apprehensive now, but then, he glanced toward Rachen and his shoulders went rigid. He nodded and offered Eanera an obviously fake smile.
“Okay,” he said. “I’m ready.”
Eanera sat back down and took Alwyn’s hand. “Close your eyes and relax.” Alwyn complied, and she continued to speak, keeping her voice soothing. “Relax. Open your mind to me. I’m your friend. Jenarra is with us here, watching us. Feel Her touch.”
At first, it seemed to go well. Alwyn was breathing steadily, and Eanera kept caressing his wrist, droning on comforting words. She appeared to be working her way around whatever enchantment surrounded Alwyn. Rachen almost thought that it would work, but then something happened. For about one second, Alwyn’s figure blurred and Rachen could see something beyond it, but he didn’t get the chance to distinguish what it was.
The gem in the center of Eanera’s forehead burst in a flash of blue sparks. Rachen shielded his gaze, the flash so bright it threatened to blind him. A strange force struck him and he was propelled back, hitting the floor with a thud.
He was on his feet in seconds, ready to rush to his mate’s assistance. By this point, though, the power that had struck him was gone. Alwyn lay on the couch, very still, blinking dazedly, with Eanera across from him exactly where she’d been.
Rachen ran to them, hoping against all hope they were both all right. Just as Rachen reached the couch, Eanera opened her eyes. She took one look at Alwyn and screamed.
Alwyn released a gasp. “Oh, no. Jenarra help me. What did I do? Rachen, get help. Get help quickly.”
Rachen’s first impulse was to say fuck it, leave Eanera where she was, grab his mate, and flee Draechenburg. He could already anticipate the shitstorm this would stir.
Sadly, as he looked at Alwyn, Rachen knew his mate would never agree to leave. He could only comply and run out of the room in hope of finding of healer. In his heart, though, he suspected that nothing could undo the consequences of this accident. Somehow, he knew that at this point, it was far too late for him or anyone else to assist Eanera.
Arousal and need swelled inside him, bright, hot, more intense than the doubt that consumed him. He pounced on Rachen and pressed his mouth to that of the draechen.
This time, his lover seemed to have expected Alwyn’s assault. Perhaps he was getting used to reading Alwyn’s cues. Either way, he immediately took control of the kiss, thrusting his tongue into Alwyn’s mouth.
The dragon’s hands tore at Alwyn’s clothing, and the sound of ripping material fueled Alwyn’s increasing lust. Rachen’s tongue invaded his mouth, tasting him, awakening the real him, making the boundaries between reality and deception blur. When he touched and kissed his lover, their identities ceased to matter. They were simply two mates, two men who desired each other more than anything.
Alwyn couldn’t help it. He clawed at Rachen’s garments savagely, his need for the dragon so intense it seemed to stop his breath. When they were both naked, they were finally forced to pull away to breathe.
They stared at each other, panting, their bodies trembling with unsatisfied lust. In that moment, Alwyn knew exactly what Rachen had meant when he’d spoken about seeing truth in Alwyn’s eyes. The same thing was happening to him. In a world filled with uncertainties, when Alwyn didn’t even know who he was anymore, he could trust Rachen to always be there for him. He could believe that Rachen would love him, no matter what.
In his heart, Alwyn knew that it was unfair to make promises he couldn’t keep. He knew that he shouldn’t be pursuing a relationship with Rachen when he could very easily be dangerous for Rachen’s family. But Alwyn was tired of being rational. He wanted to follow his heart for once. And his heart, his instincts, and of course, his body told him to get a move on and mate Rachen.
“Yes,” he gasped out. “Yes, I’ll be yours.”
It was an answer to the offer Rachen had made just the day before, and Alwyn got the reply he’d been hoping for. Rachen kissed him again, this time with so much ferocity that the word kiss simply didn’t seem to fit the action. It was a claiming, not at such a profound level as the one both of them craved, but a promise of it, a hint of what would soon come.
Alwyn kissed Rachen back, and their tongues dueled in a dance of passion as they explored each other’s bodies. Soon, the touches grew bolder. Unable to keep himself in check, Alwyn reached for Rachen’s dick, and as his fist enclosed the other man’s prick, Rachen groaned into the kiss. Alwyn had tasted Rachen, and he remembered all too well how much he’d enjoyed that, how right it had felt to pleasure Rachen. Now, though, he needed more. He craved to feel Rachen inside him, to have his mate claim him in every way.
Rachen was obviously of the same mind. Between kisses, he gasped out, “Lube. Where’s the lube?”
Alwyn didn’t have any lube. He’d never thought he would need some when he’d come here, and the last thing on his mind had been to procure it. In hindsight, that hadn’t been very smart of him, given the attraction between him and Rachen. Too late to fix that mistake now. Perhaps he had some hand cream or something… but he couldn’t for the life of him remember where he’d put it.
His frustration must have shown, because Rachen said, “It doesn’t matter. We can think of something.”
Judging by Rachen’s smirk, the draechen had already come up with an idea, one that foretold future pleasures for Alwyn. That expression was Alwyn’s only warning as the draechen pushed him down and took Alwyn’s dick in his mouth.
Pleasure exploded over Alwyn, impossibly beautiful, impossibly intense. Wet heat engulfed Alwyn’s swollen cock, plunging him in an abyss of lava. Alwyn clenched his fingers in the blanket, trying to anchor himself, to contain it and not allow it to get the better of him. But he simply couldn’t control it, couldn’t control the rising passion, the overwhelming urge to move, love, fuck, take, and be taken. Groaning, he started to shove his dick into Rachen’s mouth, desperate for more. He spread his legs, offering everything he was and had ever been to his mate.
His true self, the one Rachen identified as his mate, rose up out of him, ready to be one with the dragon. It was the perfect moment for Alwyn to identify it, but right then and there, he couldn’t bring himself to care. As Rachen bobbed his head up and down his dick, Alwyn moved with him, fucking the draechen’s mouth. Rachen didn’t seem to mind. If anything, he appeared to be enjoying this as much as Alwyn was. He groaned around Alwyn’s dick, and the vibrations awoke every nerve ending in Alwyn’s body, even ones Alwyn hadn’t been aware of. He writhed under Rachen, lost in the sensual torture, not even knowing which way was up anymore.
Rachen’s hand landed on his hip, holding him in place as the dragon continued his ministrations on Alwyn. Flames licked over his skin where Rachen touched, and Alwyn knew it must have been Rachen’s magic, but when they came together like this, it felt like his, too. The fire of Rachen’s caresses purged Alwyn of every doubt and fear, leaving only need behind.
He didn’t know how long Rachen tormented him, alternating hard suction with teasing licks. Finally, the draechen took Alwyn’s prick all the way into his throat, and swallowed. Alwyn’s vision blurred, and he exploded in a mind-numbing climax. For a few moments, reality blurred, and he almost thought he would lose his hold on his consciousness. Perhaps he would have, but he stubbornly refused to lose any moment of his time with Rachen. It allowed him to watch the sinfully beautiful sight of Rachen swallowing his cum and pulling back before Alwyn could fully spend himself.