Last excerpt! I’m back this week so I’ll see you all next Sunday :)
I also wanted to remind everyone that the Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction ends in a few days at the end of the month!
Here’s the two auction baskets I contributed to:
Bandit Creek books and more: http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/Bidding.taf?_function=detail&Auction_uid1=2550042
Jade Buchanan books and more: http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/Bidding.taf?_function=detail&Auction_uid1=2545681
The Pridelands 5: Khalid’s Challenge
Their past haunts them, their future together remains tantalizingly out of reach…
Once upon a time, Khalid Steinsson and Pran Devan were deeply in love. They were planning their future, planning a commitment ceremony to each other. The unthinkable happened and the two were torn apart. Both men have changed. Pran carries his fiery anger as a shield against everything around him. Khalid carries his pain hidden underneath layers of icy cool restraint. It will take something monumental to either bring them back together, or tear them apart forever.
Pran paced the confines of the small room, from one end to the other. He couldn’t get home quickly enough. He wanted his comfortable surroundings, be able to escape into the forest at a moment’s notice. He didn’t want to be stuck on a ship, hearing other people fucking all night — and day — long, forced to smell a blasted Leo and a poor excuse of a human.
Snarling, Pran clenched his fists, breathing deeply. His tail lashing, he paused in his pacing, clenching his muscles to stay in one place. Inhaling, he brought up an image of Himalay in his mind, trying to recall his favorite spot back home.
Thick green vegetation, lush and verdant. The sparkling azure pool tucked neatly to the side, nearly hidden by the canopy that drooped down from above. The trees were piled nearly on top of one another, creating a little paradise nook, hidden from the rest of the world.
“I’ll race you to the trees, Pran. I bet you cannot catch me!” The younger man ran full tilt to the edge of the trees, uncaring of any obstacles that may be in his way.
Pran gasped, his laughter bubbling out and halting his chase. He slowed down, content to watch Khalid. He had been watching him more and more lately. Pran wasn’t sure what it was about Khalid that drew his attention, but he couldn’t help himself. His heart clenched every time he came near and Pran had to hold himself in check so his attraction wasn’t obvious. Maybe it was his scent, spice and sunshine. Intriguing and innocent at the same time. Pran wanted him, badly.
“Pran! You were supposed to catch me!”
“I would have if you hadn’t cheated.”
Khalid gasped in mock outrage. Humor glinted from his amber gaze, he knew exactly what he’d done. “I did not cheat. Take it back!”
“I will not. You cheated. In a fair race, I would have beaten you with minutes to spare.”
“I don’t think so, Tigris.”
“Would you like to bet on it? This time without calling the race when you’re already ahead of me?”
“Hey, I called it with more than enough time for you to capture me. It is not my fault if you are slowing down.”
Pran swiped out his arm, laughing when Khalid jumped back out of reach. “I was talking to your father. I do not believe Vasu would have appreciated it if I had just deserted him to go chasing after his son.”
“It would have been worth it, would it not? I would have rewarded you greatly.” The delectable half-breed had the audacity to smirk, running one palm down his chest. “Unfortunately, you did not win, so you forfeit your prize today.”
Hmm, what was the cub playing at? Pran hid his grin. “I demand a rematch then. If I have lost out on a prize, then I deserve another shot — a fair shot — at it.”
Khalid shrugged, obviously attempting to feign reluctance. “I suppose it would only be fair.”
“Then, catch me if you can!”
The words had barely left his mouth and Khalid was off, running into the brush, jumping over the first felled tree he came to. Pran was seconds behind him, purposely slowing himself so he could watch the poetry of Khalid running, racing the very wind.
Realizing he couldn’t afford to lose, not when he wasn’t certain what the prize was, Pran put on a burst of speed, agilely passing Khalid, pulling the younger man’s tail on the way.
Khalid hissed, swiping out with his claws.
Gasping with laughter, Pran missed spotting the tree branch in his path, tripping over it and stumbling into the brush to his left. Khalid followed him in, pouncing when Pran came to a stop on his back, panting for air. His arms were suddenly full of the lithe beauty.
Turning his head to the side, he tried to figure out where they were. He hadn’t been paying attention. They were in a clearing, a small pool over to the side, nearly shaded by the thick canopy above. Enough light filtered through to pick up the glints in Khalid’s eyes when Pran turned to look at him again.
Khalid lowered his head, brushing his nose against Pran’s. “You okay?”
Out of breath for an entirely different reason now, Pran could only nod. “You?”
“I am. So, does this mean you win?”
“Well, you arrived at our destination first. Are you ready to take your prize.”
“Depends on what it is.”
“Oh no, that’s not how we play this. You must accept first.”
Pran blinked, his vision full of tawny fur and amber eyes. The corners of Khalid’s gemstone gaze were tilted, laughter lurking there.
“I accept,” he whispered.
“Then take your prize.” Khalid’s voice was just as soft, his head lowered, eyes shut.
Pran angled his head, licking at Khalid’s lips. Khalid moaned, a heated burst. Encouraged, Pran pressed his mouth to the other man’s, tasting him for the first time. Spice burst upon his lips, claiming him within a single moment. Time suspended, and it was just the two of them in the quiet clearing, free from everything else, basking in each other.
Licking at the seam of Khalid’s mouth, Pran begged for entrance. It was granted, and he tasted that spice directly from the source, sucking Khalid’s welcoming tongue, his body arching under the younger man’s.
He panted, pulling away, staring in shock up at Khalid. The other man looked just as stunned, his eyes wide with curiosity.
Shaking his head, Pran turned with a grunt, rumbling at the intrusion. “What?” He snapped back, not bothering to open the door to Rabi’a. She could answer him through the door or walk away. Didn’t matter either way to Pran.
“We are coming up on Felid, and need to prepare for landing. All crew must–”
“I know what my duties are. I do not need you to remind me of them!”
Silence greeted his outburst. Rubbing his chest, Pran waited until her footsteps receded down the hall. Probably going to collect the others. Or maybe he was the last. They didn’t seem to want to spend much time with him anyway, so it was quite possible she had only come when she could no longer wait.
It hadn’t always been that way. Since that fateful race into the woods, Khalid and Pran had been nearly inseparable, both wanting to spend every waking moment together. It had been nearly four months before they finally gave in to their mounting attraction and made love in that clearing, hidden from the world. Khalid’s family had practically adopted Pran from that moment, treating him as their son over the next few years in a way his own parent’s never had.
He made his way outside, looking around carefully before he sauntered down the hall. Turning a corner, he started up the stairs to the upper deck. The sound of faint voices reached him from behind before he’d gotten halfway up. Pausing, he stayed where he was, shamelessly eavesdropping.
“What do you expect on Felid?” Khalid’s words were forced out, like rocks crushed against one another. His voice had deepened over the years, although if rumor was true he barely used it anymore. That could account for the tight-jaw, gritted-teeth cadence of his words.
“I do not know what to expect. I wish we were going to Himalay instead.”
“You miss your daughter?”
“Of course. I wish to hold her, introduce her to her two new fathers.”
“Imagine, a child with four fathers and a single mother. One would think you were the Leo, not I, Attika.”
A hard thump reached Pran’s hearing. He knew what that was without even needing to see it. Khalid’s mock outrage followed the sound closely.
“Behave yourself, Khalid. We already have one troublemaker on board, we do not need another.”
Pran frowned, leaning forward, waiting for Khalid’s comment. She was patently referring to Pran.
“What has happened now?” The tone was weary resignation, as if it was such a fucking hardship to look after him.
“It is getting worse. You must deal with him, Khalid. He is out of control. He just snapped at me for telling him to come up on deck. If he tries that with any of the Leo, they are liable to gut him.”
“Pran can take care of himself. He has taken great pains to remind me of that.”
Pran frowned, not expecting that answer, or the thread of disinterest in Khalid’s voice. He rubbed his hand over his chest.
“No, Rabi’a. I do not need his sore ego to screw up anything right now. We have more important things to deal with. Hunter needs all my attention right now, if we are to keep him safe from father wanting revenge for Achan’s abuse. Pran can take care of himself. I will not get involved in his mess.”
Pran gasped, wishing he could take back the betraying sound the minute it left his lips. So, that was how Khalid really felt? He closed his eyes, thumping his head back against the wall.
Written by Jade Buchanan
Jade’s writing is as eclectic as her reading tastes, with over thirty erotic romance tales currently published. She’s also been known to accept writing challenges from friends and family just to see their reactions. She’s a firm believer that love and romance are universal concepts, no matter a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Originally from Northern Ontario, Jade has lived in British Columbia and the Sultanate of Oman in the Middle East. Jade currently lives in Calgary, Alberta, where she’s hard at work on her next story. Jade loves to hear from readers! Send her an email at email@example.com.
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