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[Siren Classic ManLove: Alternative, Paranormal, Vampires/Werewolves, MM, HEA]
A few hundred years ago, Nexus, the last free kingdom of humans, fell under a terrible curse. Its prince, Lotus, still slumbers, trapped in an icy prison of his own creation, in a cold and lonely realm.
After being exiled from his pride, lion-shifter Kasar stumbles onto the secret of Lotus's existence. When he dreams of the mysterious sleeping beauty, he is immediately drawn to him. Guided by his instincts, he embarks on a journey to find and free Lotus.
For Kasar, Lotus is his mate, his other half, the one person who can be his refuge in a world that is suddenly his enemy. But Lotus is still burdened by guilt, by the consequences of the harm his terrifying power has done. He fears the curse's effect on Kasar and tries to turn him away.
Will one lion's determination be enough to shatter the enchantment or will Lotus wither away and die, along with his entire, lost land?
NOTE: This book was previously published as Lion of the Lost Snow Lotus by Anya Byrne with a different publisher.
Seeming completely unfazed by Kasar’s aggressive stance, the man retrieved something from his pocket. It was a silver mirror, studded with white gems, unlike anything Kasar had ever seen before. The man offered it to Kasar, and Kasar couldn’t have said why he took it. “What.... What is this?”
The stranger smiled at him. There was no sign of the injury that had almost felled him. Even Kasar’s bandages were gone, now lying abandoned on the ground. “Consider it a gift.”
Kasar had every intention of throwing the item away, but it was apparent that none of his plans would work out today. He made the mistake of looking into the mirror—only to realize it wasn’t his reflection he saw. A beautiful young man lay on what seemed to be a slab of ice. He was asleep, but occasionally, his fingers twitched, as if he was in pain.
Kasar’s rational side screamed he shouldn’t pursue this, but his heart wouldn’t let it go. “Who is he?” he asked, disregarding every other question and doubt in favor of learning the identity of the mysterious sleeping beauty. “What is wrong with him?”
“He is a human plagued by great power,” the stranger replied. “He is the prince of Nexus.”
“Nexus?” Kasar repeated in disbelief. “That land is a mere legend. Who are you? What game are you playing? What do you want with me?”
The young man’s eyes glowed silver with hidden knowledge when he replied, “I want you to find your destiny, and I am merely a herald and a guide. The gift is just that, a gift. You can follow it, or you can ignore it. The choice is yours. But before you make it, know that Nexus is very real, and its prince is trapped there, within its magic and within himself.”
“I don’t understand.” Kasar took a deep breath, struggling to control the lion that was threatening to roar out of him. “What little I know of this land dates back from before the Pride Houses even existed.”
“Indeed. He is lost, the prince—a flower lost within the snow, in the drifts of time. The spell he is under froze his entire land, in more than one way. But you can find him.”
Kasar looked away from the peculiar stranger and back at the sleeping prince of Nexus. He should have asked countless things—like what the mirror did, how it could help him, why he should even do anything with the information he’d been given. Better yet, he should have returned the item to the man who was obviously not a human. Instead, he heard himself inquire, “What is his name?”
“Lotus,” came the reply.
“Lotus,” Kasar repeated. It suited the young prince, since his skin was pale like the petals of the fragrant flower and his lips rosy, the promise of a bloom. His white-blond hair fell in cascades, framing his face, and Kasar’s heart did an odd little flip again. “Lotus.”
In his sleep, the prince shifted and twitched, his eyelashes flickering agitatedly over his cheeks, as if he was dreaming. He didn’t say anything, but he didn’t have to, because Kasar had already made up his mind.
“All right then,” he said, looking up from the mirror. “I’ll go. Where...?”
He trailed off when he realized he was completely alone. There was no sign of the strange man he had supposedly rescued. Kasar should have probably been more taken aback, and to a certain extent, he was, but his irritation surpassed his shock.
“Some guide you are,” he snapped. “Thanks for nothing.”
How was he supposed to find a mythical land with nothing but a mirror for help? Was this really just a game to some sort of mystical creature that had decided to have fun with an exiled shifter lord?
One look at the mirror erased his incipient doubts. No. That wasn’t right. Whatever else the strange not-human might have wanted, he hadn’t lied about Lotus. Lotus was real, and Kasar would find him. Now, if only he could figure out how.
He scanned the beautiful, enthralling face of the mysterious prince and something seemed to sweep over the smooth surface of the mirror. Just like that, Kasar had a flash of insight. Lotus was sleeping. Perhaps... Perhaps Kasar should be sleeping too?
He didn’t know where the idea had come from—his experience with magic was limited, if not non-existent. Whatever instinct had birthed the plan, Kasar decided to follow it. After all, what did he have to lose?
Lotus was torn between lust, pleasure, and frustration. The mix of it was so intense that he ended up biting Kasar’s lower lip.
Kasar didn’t seem to mind. He growled slightly under his breath, but it didn’t deter him from his quest to get Lotus naked as soon as possible. If anything, it encouraged him. He tore his mouth away from Lotus’s, but only because he’d caught onto what Lotus had in mind. Or maybe their desires were just completely in synch, because he pulled back long enough to tear his own shirt off, exposing his powerful chest and all that bronze naked skin that Lotus couldn’t get enough of.
To make things even better, Kasar removed what little clothing Lotus had left on. The material of the garments still maintained traces of the magic that had kept everything around them intact, but Kasar’s sharp claws still sliced through it like a knife through butter. It reminded Lotus of the strength and danger Kasar embodied. It didn’t scare him. Instead, it excited him, and he threw his head back, wishing he knew how to ask for more, but completely incapable of speech.
Kasar wasn’t much better off. His hands grew frantic on Lotus’s skin, and while his claws never drew blood, his hold and grip turned a little rougher, harsher. He released Lotus’s dick from his fist, but that didn’t really give Lotus any quarter, not when Kasar had decided to busy himself with licking and nibbling every inch of him. He started with the hollow of Lotus’s throat and swirled his tongue around Lotus’s Adam’s apple, while his clawed fingers naughtily zeroed in on Lotus’s nipples. They tweaked, caressed, and teased, and for Lotus, it was a lesson. He’d never realized his nipples were so sensitive. The tender buds seemed to have a direct connection to his cock, and every twitch of Kasar’s digits made the aching shaft pulse with sensual distress. It was almost too much, and Lotus was impossibly close to coming, even if what they had done so far shouldn’t have affected him quite to this extent.
Kasar was merciless with him. He nipped slightly on the juncture between Lotus’s neck and shoulder before forcibly tearing himself away with an almost savage growl. Lotus didn’t get the chance to ask what was wrong, because Kasar was already traveling down his body, licking over his chest and abdomen. He thrust his tongue into Lotus’s belly button, once more triggering an unexpected shock of pleasure. And then he zeroed in on the spot where Lotus wanted him most and took Lotus’s dick into his mouth.
Even if Lotus had never been with anyone before, he had a pretty good imagination and he was aware of the intimacies two men could share. Nothing he’d imagined or learned could have prepared him for that moment. His thighs and hips jerked convulsively as he writhed in the fires of an all-consuming blaze.
He would have loved to ride that moment for a whole lifetime if it had been possible, but his own body thwarted him. Kasar didn’t even have to do anything in specific. When Lotus thrust up into his mouth, the shifter just squeezed his hip, and the power, domination and reassurance in that one gesture propelled Lotus over the edge.
Crying out his lover’s name, Lotus found his peak, convulsing through wave after wave of pleasure. But Kasar wasn’t done with him just yet. Lotus was thankful that he managed to keep hold of his consciousness, because he got to see Kasar pull back at the last moment and receive the last pulses of spunk over his face. The sight of Kasar’s cheeks decorated with his cream miraculously made something process in Lotus’s mind. It was something Kasar had said earlier, but hadn’t fully registered until now. They were mates. They belonged to one another.
He must have said that out loud, because Kasar replied a few moments later. “Yes. We are mates. You’re my other half.”
Kasar’s voice was husky and low, sweeping over Lotus like a physical caress. His magic responded, and for once, Lotus was thankful for it.
Humans didn’t have mates, not like shifters did, at least. The inhabitants of Nexus had their own ways of experiencing and sharing affection. But the bond between Lotus and Kasar went beyond that. It was a connection at the deepest, most intimate level, and possibly the reason Kasar had been immune to Lotus’s curse. It had allowed their minds to link despite Lotus’s fear. It was a gift, precious and unique, one that Lotus appreciated more than he could ever say.
Because of that gift, he also realized one other thing. Kasar needed to claim him through the ways of his people. It was right there, in the tension of his stance, in the heat emanating from his skin, from his eyes.
Lotus lay back down and spread his legs, unafraid, embracing the natural consequence of their relationship. “Show me then.”