Abducting the Princess

Abducting the Princess

Mel Teshco

 

 

 

Book 2 in the Nightmix series.

 

Princess Mira is everything Mahaya wants in a woman and a shape shifter, but he’s a nobody brought up by mortals who trained him as a thief. Even worse, he’s a
nightmix
, a human and
larakyte
panther offspring whose inner darkness keeps those around him in fear.

So what’s a
nightmix
to do but abduct the princess and save her from those who would do anything to kill her. Their lust burns bright, but Mira can’t trust her captor. Only time will tell if Mahaya can seize her heart forever.

 

 

A Romantica®
fantasy erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave

 

 

 

 

Abducting the Princess

Mel Teshco

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

The desert mist of an early dawn had not long evaporated when Mahaya Ishman pushed through the crowd jostling to view their
larakyte
princess. He understood all too well the peoples’ need to get close to her, though he had no choice but to stay back.

He tugged the hood of his
rakkia
shirt farther forward, shielding his face before he nodded at his men, communicating that they also keep their distance. No reason to summon the attention of the royal soldiers, who formed a semicircle around the slightly elevated dais of the princess and guarded her with zealous eyes and ever-ready battle stances.

Good. Their king had trained them well. No doubt the royal soldiers had heard rumors of the ever growing knot of human rebels who secretly gathered to vent their hatred of the silver panther
larakytes
and all other shape shifters. A hatred that was festering into something far more serious.

His hands curled into fists even as his eyes narrowed into cat slits. He’d die defending his people. His princess.

He was commander of a group of men, both human and shifter, who’d banded together to disperse the
larakyte
dissenters and keep peace to the
Zaneean
kingdom. And yet despite his loyalty he remained an outcast of the highest order.

He was a nobody, a nothing. Even without the
nightmix
curse—a one-in-a-million child born from a human and rogue
larakyte
—growing up in poverty had secured his position on the bottom of the social rung.

Living on the fringes had given him a survivalist instinct that had at times blackened his soul and toughened his heart. It’d never bothered him more than when he looked upon the proclaimed princess, whose own birth had astonished the desert nation and realms further afield. Each and every time he saw the princess he wanted her with an increasing, driving need that caused him to seek her out at every opportunity, if nothing more than to ensure her safety.

At least, from a distance.

Today was no exception.

She’d reached twenty-one and of a marriageable age. She would announce her mate intentions, or lack thereof, ensuring that her people knew this important facet of her life.

No more secrets and subterfuge to cause the humans to doubt and mistrust.

A scowl pulled at his mouth and creased his brow. It was in a human’s nature to question and defy. Besides, didn’t the royals realize that allowing the princess to be open about her personal life wouldn’t stop anarchy?

With desert fever sweeping the land and claiming the lives of mostly the poor and undernourished humans, rebellion was only a matter of time. The once-peaceful folks who had lost the most were easily influenced by the dissenters.

The princess was about as safe right then as a fish in a net.

All thought ceased as she opened her lush mouth and spoke to her rapt audience. He, for one, didn’t hear a word, although he imagined for a moment that she spoke only to him.

Bloody hell.

He really had it bad. He’d never been more aware of a woman, more blinded by her radiance. It was all he could do not to surrender to the panther within and claim the princess as his own.

Sooner rather than later.

He dragged his eyes away from her exquisite body in the traditional sheer loose pants and bra top, which many of the modern
Zaneean
women preferred. And why wouldn’t they? The
rakkia
cloth was the optimum in both comfort and fashion, cool in the desert heat and revealing as much as it concealed.

Her silver-blonde hair, a distinct sign of her
larakyte
heritage, shone under the relentless sun. A circlet of rare yellow jewels glinted at her brow, the royal trinket unnecessary to highlight her royal status, or her stunning beauty.

She was a born princess through and through.

His muscles tensed with a want that defied logic. Though he was far from ignorant of his own virility, it meant little. Nothing. Everything within him ached for what he couldn’t have, a yearning that seemed far more acute than the inherent need of a shape shifter seeking its mate. She was royalty to his peasantry. She was light to his darkness. She was soft warmth to his hardened cold.

And right then he’d never been more aware of their differences.

An inborn sixth sense alerted him of trouble even before the glint of a sword snared his attention. A blade barely sheathed on a man’s hip. His stare swiveled to the rest of the staggered line of humans progressing through the crowd with deadly intent.

Shit.

Though none wore their customary red-turbaned headgear, he recognized them for what they were.
Larakyte
dissenters.

No time to consider, to weigh the pros and cons, he acted on impulse alone. Bringing the strength and speed of his inner cat to the fore, he crouched low and pushed to the front of the crowd. Pulling free his own blade from its scabbard, he leaped onto the dais before the royal soldiers had even drawn their swords.

Wrapping an arm around the princess’s waist and touching the blade to her throat, he asked the soldiers harshly, “You’d risk your princess’s life?”

The royal guards stilled, muscles bulging with their repressed need to fight and slay. He smiled grimly. He was safe…for now.

He turned to the people. A hush had fallen upon the crowd, expectant faces looking up with horror and betraying excitement. His inner beast snarled. Humans, at their core, were as bloodthirsty as any
nightmix.

The dissenters had already melted back into the crowd even as his own men stood slack mouthed. This had not been part of their plans—his plans—at least not yet. He only hoped his men would realize that what had just transpired hadn’t been premeditated. He’d need their trust and belief in him more than ever now.

The princess’ scent drifted into his nostrils, a bouquet of inner panther and something elusive, exotic. Erotic.

His cock jerked.

She gasped, stiffening in his hold.

He repressed another deep growl. Gods, her near-naked body pressed against his crotch and chest was its own form of torture. Blood rushed to his cock, filling his balls and thickening his shaft with an almost painful intensity. He leaned forward. His cock pressed into the small of her back while his breath fanned her ear. “Tell your soldiers to back away, Mira.”

Her name was something to be savored. Much like her scent, her fearless poise.

“Or what?” she hissed.

“Or your blood will be on their hands.” A lie, but it was the one thing he knew would keep the soldiers willingly immobile. At least for a short time.

She expelled a horrified breath, her slender body rigid with distaste.

Every part of him hated that she believed his threat. Worse, that he had to cultivate it. “Tell them to keep to their stations,” he said softly, using iron will to pacify the beast; the hunger within, “or suffer the consequences.”

 

Mira knew with soul-deep certainty she would kill the sick madman holding her hostage. She’d heard whispers about humans who were once again turning on the innocent shape shifters. But there’d been no action or violence, until now…

She squirmed, testing her captor’s intent. When the movement instead caused her to brush against the already insistent bulge pressing into her lower back, she froze. Her heart galloped even as her nipples tightened, her pussy tingling with heat. She expelled a disbelieving breath. That this abhorrent male called to her inner panther in some way—any way—left her inwardly reeling with shock.

She’d just declared her intention to marry another
larakyte
to safeguard the royal lineage.

This man was her enemy.

A
larakyte
dissenter. But for the moment she had to do as he asked.

She eyed her soldiers, each one of them ready to defend her with their life. Her voice cracked. “If you value my well-being, please, stand down and stay at your post.”

The soldiers nodded and reluctantly sheathed their swords before taking a backward step. She swallowed a sudden urge to retract the order even before the madman dragged her with galling ease from the dais and through the crowd who made a wide, silent path.

Not one human or shifter tried to help.

Hurt lanced sharp and deep. She’d devoted her life to these people. Was this all she deserved in return?

Her breath shuddered. Was this how her life would end?

She stumbled. His stride didn’t falter, the hand that was clamped around her forearm righting her with effortless and seemingly inborn strength.

Mira shivered. Under far different circumstances a man of his caliber might well make her feel safe. Secure.

She glanced up. His hood had shifted fractionally, giving her a glimpse of a beautifully sculpted face pressed into hard, formidable lines. The way he carried himself suggested a body toughened by hardship or perhaps relentless training. Both, if the way he wielded his blade was any indication.

She twisted her head and looked behind. The crowd had pushed back, blocking the path they’d made for the bastard who’d abducted their princess, blocking any view the soldiers would’ve had to track her whereabouts.

A current of fear moved up and down her spine, along with not more than a little envy. What influence did this man wield to keep her people seemingly in the palm of his hand? Did they know something she didn’t? “Who are you?” she whispered.

He abruptly pulled her into a side street, out of everyone’s vision. A few minutes later he took a left turn and then a right, followed by another left in a maze of alleys. She gasped when he spun her to face him before pushing her against a wall, his hood sliding fully free and revealing his face. His full lips. The brilliant, rare green of his eyes and his wide, intelligent brow.

“I’m Mahaya. I’m the man who just saved your life.”

The name niggled her memory. She shut it down as emotions, raw and intense, filled her mind as if a thunderstorm about to let loose. “
Saved
my life?” she repeated scathingly, drawing on every last scrap of her regal heritage.

He held her arms together with one hand, before he sheathed his sword and pulled free the colored
darfe
knotted around his waistband. “Yes, that’s right.” His big body pushed against hers, keeping her still while he tugged the material over her mouth.

What the hell?

Normally put to use wrapped around the nose and mouth in a sandstorm, the
darfe
also proved stunningly effective in silencing a kidnap victim.

She squirmed, enraged not just by her own helplessness, but at the hot restlessness growing within. She gritted her teeth. No. She’d die before allowing any
larakyte
dissenter and kidnapper to become aware of her body’s betrayal.

He loosened his hold on her the couple of seconds needed to tie the gag behind her head. It was all the time and space she needed to lash out with a foot. But with an elegance that was almost unseemly for a man of his height, he skipped back, avoiding a sharp kick to his balls.

“Nice try, Princess,” he said, before leaning his body flush against hers once more and adding in a drawl, “but do try to remember I’m on your side, hmm?”

Oh, don’t you dare lie to me!

Except rational thought was soon forgotten withpheromones clinging to the air and his cock perceptibly thickening. The
nightmix
brought out needs inside her she had long imagined didn’t exist. She sucked in an unsteady breath.

Never before had her body reacted this way to another man. Not even a
larakyte
.

She wouldn’t succumb.

He was sick and twisted and no doubt enjoyed overpowering women.

Bastard
.

She glared. “Mmpfth.”

“Much better,” he said with a lazily amused smile that was totally at odds to the flare of lust in his stare.

Lowlife scum.

She didn’t bother trying to say the words aloud. He already perceived her hatred.

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