ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: Sharing of this story is suggested, encouraged and applauded, but the author’s name IS NOT to be removed from it for any reason whatsoever. Please do not offer it for sale; it is a free read story for CJ England’s fans and designed only for those who are 18 and OLDER.
All characters in this story have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention.
“I do not believe the dark one is human,” Calion offered. “He carries a different magick in him.”
“Good eyes, Prince Calion.” Lara nodded in agreement. “The big guy is the Sovereign Lord of the Maji, Kobrai Tyrdae, from the planet, Majiea. The other man is human. He is Devin Collier, who used to be part of the Planetary Space League. He mapped out other planets for exploration until his ship crashed on Majiea and he almost died.”
“He was hurt in the crash?” Bunny gazed curiously at the two men. The blond, Devin, took the muscular Kobrai’s hand and led him to the large windows to show him the view.
“Some.” Lara shrugged. “But mostly it was because he couldn’t breathe the air. Devin has some sort of genetic defect that won’t let him adapt to other planet’s atmosphere, even if it is like our own. But then Kobrai rescued him and gave him something that helped ease his breathing. They got to know each other and since the Maji enjoy the affections of their own gender, Kobrai and Devin fell for each other.”
“But you haven’t told us what he is,” Amy reminded her friend. “You said he wasn’t human, so what is he?”
“Oh, sorry.” Lara blushed. “Kobrai is a shapeshifter. All his people can shift into something quite unique. The scientific term is Ophidia.” When they all looked blankly at her, she grinned. “Snakes. Kobrai is the Serpent King of the Maji. He can shift into the form of a king cobra.”
“Ohhh.” Talia gazed curiously at the two men who were enjoying a quick kiss at the window. “I don’t think I’ve read much about snake shapeshifters.”
“Not very many books out there,” Amy remarked. “More people like the warm and fuzzy heroes. Like wolves or big cats.”
“Or rabbits,” Peter quipped. “Don’t forget about us.”
They all laughed, but their humor was cut off when the salon doors flew open with a resounding crash. Everyone in the room again fell silent as several men and two women paused in the doorway. One of them, the obvious leader of the group, took a single step forward and arrogantly surveyed the room.
“I think the riders of the Skyhawlks have arrived,” Talia murmured.
“And here’s a shocker,” whispered Lara in response. “Another tall, dark and handsome.”
“Look at his eyes.” Bunny patted her heart. “I’ve never seen anything like them before.”
They all stared at the newcomers. The leader’s powerful body was dressed in worn leather pants with a long sleeved silver tunic that went to his knees. His blue-black hair was woven back in a thick braid that reached his waist. His face was fierce, that of a warrior, but most remarkable of all were the slanted solid silver eyes. They gave the man an otherworldly predatory look, one that immediately sent a shiver down your spine.
As they watched, he spoke to another man, this one also handsome and strongly built with blond hair and sparkling brown eyes. Only when the two of them came to some sort of an agreement, did the darker man reach behind him and gently pull one of the women forward to stand next to him. The other man quickly followed suit with the second female.
“Who are they?” Amy wondered, awe in her voice.
“The male with the brown hair is Prince Dyas of the kingdom of Kylia,” Calion stated. “The other is Jhoral, Crown Prince of the Farsaeans. They come from a planet light years away. The men with them are known as Skyriders. They guard both princes.”
“And the women?” Bunny admired the brightly colored dresses and intricate hair styles.
“The younger one with the auburn hair and green eyes is Princess Jhara. The sister of Prince Jhoral. She is to be Dyas’ queen if all goes well. And the other…”
Talia pulled on her mate’s arm, fascinated by the other group. “Who is she?”
Calion gazed at the small silver haired woman with eyes like a rainbow. She was watching the Farsaean prince with obvious adoration. “She is Lanai. Jhoral’s mind-mate.”
“Mind-mate?” Amy questioned. “What’s a mind-mate?”
“Why don’t they come in?” Peter asked, not waiting for Calion to answer. “We’re all CJ’s characters. It’s not like we going to get into a fight or anything.”
“They are waiting,” Calion answered. “Watch. You see how careful Jhoral is with Lania? How he stands so protectively close to her?”
“Yeah.” Peter shrugged. “So?”
“Lanai is an empath and Jhoral her receptor. They cannot come in until he has examined the room and properly shielded her from anything that might overwhelm her. They learned the hard way that without her mind-mate to protect her, Lanai could die.”
“Die?” Lara said, horrified. “She could die by coming in here?”
The elven prince shook his head. “Not just by entering, but when there are as many people in a room as there are here in this salon, the emotions she encounters can be overwhelming. When they were first mind-mated, Jhoral did not understand this and almost lost Lanai because of it.”
Amy glanced at Talia. “I thought you were an empath, too. Does Calion have to protect you that way?”
Talia shook her head. “No. My giftings are separate from his, and I can easily work on my own. I am a human who learned to use my empathic gift in the faerie world. Lanai was born an empath and while she is strong enough to do some things without her receptor, her gift is designed to work in tandem with another. Apparently, the need to find that special person is tantamount to anything else. They look for it with everything they are.”
“She was not even allowed to touch another human before she and Jhoral melded. And that was unexpected,” Calion added.
“Unexpected?” Peter queried, glancing across the room at the fierce looking warrior. He wouldn’t want to meet that guy in the Enchanted Forest after dark.
“While visiting Dylas, Jhoral was invited to a Melding Ceremony, where empaths and receptors are brought together. Instead of picking one of the women receptors in the circle, Lanai knew Jhoral was the one she was destined for. She chose him, and they melded, even though those around them tried to prevent it. It caused quite an international incident and almost took their two peoples to the brink of war.”
“And because Jhoral hadn’t been trained how to be a receptor, he made a lot of mistakes,” Talia continued. “It took an attack by rebels and a horrible tragedy before he finally understood everything.”
“Yes.” Calion dipped his head respectfully when the Crown Prince looked his way. Jhoral answered with a courteous nod of his own. “Jhoral realized Lanai was his destiny. She’d been chosen for him and he for her before the beginning of time.”
“They’re soulmates, too,” whispered Talia. “Just like we are.”
Calion nodded. “This is true, Tia maer. And like all soulmates, the road to discovering that love can be difficult. But it is worth it, is it not?”
“Oh yes.” Amy thought of her own rocky path to love. “It’s a kind of magic in itself.”
“Well said.” Calion flashed an approving smile. “Now, I think it would be good form for Talia and I to greet them personally. Since Jhoral and I are both from noble houses. If you will excuse us?”
The royal couple and their retinue strode away, leaving Bunny, Peter, Amy and Lara staring after them. Lara shook her head. “It must be tough not to be able to go where you want, when you want. Poor Lanai.”
“Are you nuts?” Bunny shook her head. “Did you see Prince Jhoral? I don’t think Lanai is poor anything.”
“Hey!” Peter pulled Bunny into his arms. “You’re my sweet Bunny tail. Don’t be looking at any alien prince.”
Bunny giggled and kissed his hard mouth. “You know I love you. Fuzzy big feet and all.”
Peter waggled his dark eyebrows. “Well you know what they say about rabbits with big feet.”
They all laughed. Then as Peter treated Bunny to another, deeper kiss, Lara murmured her farewells and pulled Amy away.
“Where are we going now?” Amy glanced back at the bar door. Givré had disappeared again. “I need to go find my sexy snowman.”
“Oh, let him have his fun, before he does melt away. Justin will take care of him.” Lara grabbed another flute of champagne from a hovering waiter. “Do you like country music?”
Amy rolled her eyes. “Of course I do. CJ wrote us all that way.”
“Then I want you to meet some of the best in the business. Let’s see if you get a little star struck.”
“Don’t tell me you got them to come, too?” Amy spotted where they were headed and gasped aloud. “I thought they’d be too famous to come to a party.”
Lara shrugged. “They’re CJ’s characters, too. They wanted to be here. And as you can see, they’re happy to do a little singing as well.”
“I have all their albums,” Amy whispered. “Do you think they’ll give me an autograph?”
“Of course. But they’re not the only celebrities in the house. If we’re lucky, Chantal Montgomery will even dance for us.”
Amy pressed her hand to her heart. “Oh, my God. I love her shows. Givré took me to one in Denver. She’s got such talent. But aren’t she and Mace part of CJ’s free reads?”
“Free reads or published books, we all belong to CJ and she wanted us to enjoy a party. They’re in the one she’s writing now, so Chantal and Mace came all the way from Macau just to be with us.”
“That’s amazing.” Amy shook her head. “They’re just getting to know each other and they still came together?”
“You know the rules.” Lara smiled. “No matter how they might start out…no matter what obstacles they have to maneuver, there is always a happy ending in sight somewhere.”
“Makes it very safe to be one of CJ’s characters, doesn’t it.”
“Except that you never know what she’s going to put us through to get it.” Lara motioned to another couple who were standing by the buffet table sipping tall fruity drinks. “See those two. That’s Matt Sinclair and his wife, Sharra. They went through so much to get to their happy ending.”
Amy gazed at the tall blond man with the devil-may-care grin. “He’s got a great smile.”
Lara giggled. “And an excellent ass if you read the free story. But he, like so many guys, wasn’t upfront with Sharra and almost lost her because of it.”
“What happened to them?”
“Poor Sharra.” Lara glanced over at the diminutive redhead and sighed. “She was pulled into everything through no fault of her own. See, Matt was on the trail of a stolen formula and when he found it, he had to get it out of Mexico safely. Then Sharra literally fell right into his lap when he saved her from getting drugged and raped in a bar. He figured she’d make a good cover to get out of the country.”
“He used her?”
Nodding, Lara pushed through the crowd. She smiled at another Free Read couple, Eran and Michelle who stood off to the side of the room watching the crowd. It was difficult for those two to join in the fun, since they were in the middle of training. The copper-haired Eran was teaching Michelle to become a warrior like him. But up until last month it had not been going well.
As a Watcher Angel for the Lord Jehovah, Eran would not give up. Even though the sultry blue-eyed Michelle—the first female Nephilim in millennium—had succeeded in distracting him into falling in love with her, he finally figured out how to keep her safe from the evil that sought her demise.
But Asmodeous, the demon who wanted Michelle to join with him and fight for Satan’s evil horde was always turning up in the most unexpected places. It was for that reason the two could never let their guard down. Their story was another one still ongoing.
“Lara!” Amy snapped her fingers in front of her friend’s face. “You were telling me about Sharra and Matt?”
“Oh, yeah. Sorry.” Lara shook herself. “So Matt convinced Sharra that in a moment of holiday craziness they’d gotten married. He figured he could get them out of the country and then tell her the truth. But then something happened.”
“What?” Amy listened raptly.
“He fell in love with her.” Lara grinned. “And that screwed everything up. Suddenly he wanted everything to be real. But then the drug lord who was after the formula got involved, Matt got shot and Sharra nearly died.”
“Oh, my God.”
“And worse yet,” Lara went on, “the drug lord, Aguilar, told Sharra the truth about their so-called marriage, and everything that Matt had done. So of course, she left him flat.”
“Of course,” Amy agreed loyally. “What woman wouldn’t?”
“So, you add in an ex-fiancé who was a really bully, a horse with no teeth, and a stand off with the biggest drug lord in Mexico, and you have a set of obstacles even CJ had trouble getting them through.”
“I think I need to go read it.”
“It’s on CJ’s website, just like all the other Free Reads she has available.” Lara suddenly grinned and waved. “Oh, there they are. Come on. I think you’ll really like Callie Jacobs. I met her earlier when they arrived to set up.”
See you next week!
Follow Your Dreams