by Skye Jones
Thalos has one goal in life – to enjoy his luxurious existence hassle free.
As a Centaur shifter, he is used to being on the outside, rejected by the other equine shifters, and it suits him fine. But then the powerful Seer arrives and asks him to babysit a bereaved female horse shifter. The altogether too gorgeous and innocent Ariadne, soon casts a spell on Thalos. As he struggles to maintain his cool around the young female, things between them heat up.
Ariadne is traumatized, bereaved, and totally lost in the new, opulent world she’s thrust into. Her strict background hasn’t prepared her for the likes of the charismatic but jaded Thalos.
They are the last two people who should be together, but that doesn’t stop them from craving one another.
Events overtake them and suddenly Thalos faces losing the only person he’s cared about in centuries.
Can he win Ariadne’s heart before it’s too late?
Released: Dec. 2, 2017
Excerpt (Adult Content):
She watched as his dripping body emerged from the blue water, the contrast between the ocean and his golden skin glorious. As he climbed up, his lower back emerged and then the twin globes of a muscular behind. His skin was so smooth. On his forearms and legs there was a smattering of golden hairs, but none on his back nor on his chest. He reached the top and glanced over his shoulder, only to catch her watching him like some sort of pervert.
Mortified, she averted her gaze and waited. A few moments later, he reappeared, a towel around his waist and another in his hand. He held it aloft and closed his eyes. “Here. Climb up. I won’t look.”
She did as he said and began to climb the rope ladder, which wasn’t half as easy as he made it look. Once at the top, she stood to step onto the boat and tripped. With a cry, she fell forward, her ankle still on the rope ladder, catching on it and twisting painfully. She sprawled on the deck and looked up to see Thalos staring down at her.
Oh gods. She wasn’t covered. But his gaze didn’t linger on her in desire. Instead, only concern radiated in those green eyes of his. “You’re hurt.” He bent down. “Let me help you.”
With a gentleness that astonished her, he wrapped the towel around her and then pulled her to her feet, taking her weight against him. The fact that he covered her first told her he might not approve of the way her people lived, but he understood how she felt about being seen naked by someone outside of her herd.
It touched her deeply that he’d done that. He could have taken the chance to look at her. Even though she doubted him telling her she was beautiful. But curiosity alone would have most males staring at a naked female from the things she’d been told about the outside world.
“Thank you.” She pulled the towel around herself and held it tightly to her.
“Come and sit.” He led her to the bench running the length of the boat and helped her get comfortable. “Let me look.” He lifted her ankle and placed it on his thigh, his warm hands holding her foot as he twisted it gently one way and then the other.
She gasped as he moved it to the right. He frowned. “I think you’ve sprained it. We need to get you home and put some ice on it. Rest it for a day or two. It should get better soon, but you need to baby it for a while.”
Stupid tears threatened. How would she ever get used to spending most of her time in this body? In her equine form, she was free. Graceful and sure and her true self. In human form, she felt clumsy and oafish. Why did shifters want to spend so much time in this human form? It made no sense to her. She’d never make friends. Never find a mate. Who would want a female who couldn’t even walk without stumbling? A female who until a week ago ate with her fingers and didn’t know how to make a hot drink?
As the first tear fell onto her cheek, Thalos took hold of her chin and tipped her face up, forcing her to look at him. “What’s wrong, beautiful?”
His silly name for her only set her off more, and she began to sob. He let her get it out for a few moments before again asking her what was wrong. He passed her a small towel and motioned for her to wipe her face. “Sorry, no tissues. Come on, sweetheart. Talk to me. Does your foot hurt that bad?”
She laughed a little through her tears. “No, it’s not my foot. It’s me. I don’t know how I’ll ever fit in out there, among some herd that spends most of its time as human beings. I heard a lot of the American shifters live on huge ranches as some sort of big, extended family, and some only change once a month.” Her voice rose in indignation at the idea. “And even if I did want to fit in to such a world, I never would. I can’t walk without stumbling. I’m ungainly. Stupid. I know nothing of the world. I don’t even know how to do basic things like cook, never mind how to make friends, or how to…to p-p-p-p-please a male.”
His eyes flashed, and he rubbed his thumb across her chin, skimming her lower lip and sending lightning coursing through her veins. Why did his simple touch feel so good?
“You don’t have to learn how to please a male. He should please you.”
“That’s not what we are taught. The female should please the male when they meet to procreate.”
“Jesus Christ.” He sounded angry, and she wondered if she’d said something wrong.
“Baby, I don’t know what to say to you. Gods, if I had my way…”
He looked at her differently from how he had before. His eyes were dark, the green almost gone as his pupils expanded. She didn’t know what it meant, but it made her blood quicken. As if some ancient knowledge were awakening, her body reacted even when she didn’t know how or why.
Once more, he brushed his thumb over her. But this time, it passed over her lip, making her gasp. How could such a small part of her be so sensitive?
“I want to kiss you so badly. I shouldn’t. But the Seer knew I wasn’t an honorable male when she brought you to me. May I kiss you, Ariadne?”
She should say no. As he said, he wasn’t an honorable male. He’d been with many women. Committed a lot of sins. But she wanted to know if it would feel as good as the long-ago stolen kiss with the boy from her herd.
So scared that her breath came in little puffs, she nodded. He leaned in close, and the hand on her chin slid up her cheek and beyond to tangle in her hair. His other hand wrapped around her upper arm and pulled her into him. The moment his soft lips touched hers, she forgot to breathe.
At first, he kissed her gently, barely moving his lips, simply applying pressure as she got used to the taste and feel of him. Not wanting the distance that stretched between them, she arched her upper body into his, and he groaned. He pulled her harder into him until her breasts pressed against his chest, and he ran his tongue lightly over the seam of her mouth.
Purely on instinct, she opened her mouth for him and let him in. He swept his tongue inside, and the taste of him exploded within her. He lit a fuse in her, something elemental and so strong she didn’t know how to contain it.