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Emperorís Desire (Aspectians)

Author(s): Kate Hill

"Dance for me."

Emperor Zavier, an Aspectian shapeshifter, knows the dancer Vida is the only woman he'll ever desire. From the shadows he's watched her dance, wanting her for himself. But all his power cannot command a heart. How can he expect a human woman to return his love?

When Vida joins the supplicants vying for the role of Heir Mother to his future sons, Zavier lays his heart on the line. He knows he wants far more from her than he's bargained for -- he wants nothing less than for Vida to be his mate for life.

Vida may be only a village dancer, but she knows there's more to royal politics than Zavier wishes to see. She dares to want more than just to be the bearer of his children. But can their frail bond survive Zavier's meddling mother and the arranged marriage his family has waiting for him?


Praise for Emperor's Desire

 


"This is the short story to try for fantasy romance aficionados. It has unique aspects, interesting twists and a sexy hero and heroine that truly deserve a happy ever after."
-- Xeranthemum, Long and Short Reviews

"Kate Hill takes the genre of shapeshifter and just blows all expectations out of the water."
-- Serena, Fallen Angel Reviews

"Emperor's Desire is an enjoyable story any fantasy lover can enjoy."
-- from Kirra Pierce at Just Erotic Romance Reviews

Excerpt


Emperor's Desire
Kate Hill
Second Edition
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2014 Kate Hill

This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

Black Palace thrust straight and high as a thousand houses above the kingdom of Windfarv, darkening the valley for miles with its shadow. Vida reined in her borrowed mount as soon as she and the royal party emerged from the forest.

"God," she breathed, staring at the palace, awed and unnerved by the height of the structure. "I've never seen anything so tall."

"It is said hundreds of workers died building it," said the Captain of the Guard. "That was in ancient times. Don't worry, miss. From the inside it doesn't seem as imposing -- except on very windy days."

Vida swallowed, praying she wouldn't vomit. She'd never liked heights and if she'd known about Black Palace, she might not have offered herself to the emperor.

No, I would have anyway. I had no choice.

She urged her horse onward, following the guards clad in black armor toward her new home. Her family desperately needed the money that accompanied her position as Heir Mother of Emperor Zavier. She would be the mother of his firstborn child, the heir of Black Palace and its lands. Everyone knew Emperor Zavier was an Aspectian, and such creatures usually mated with their own kind. For her to have been chosen meant Emperor Zavier himself had studied her carefully and personally selected her.

She wasn't certain what the emperor looked like, since he never publicly appeared in his true form. Even when potential mothers had been interviewed, he'd been disguised among five representatives from Black Palace.

As they neared the palace, its width astounded Vida. From a distance, the rectangular building had appeared narrow, due to its height, but up close it seemed to span miles.

She and the guards dismounted at the drawbridge and gave their horses to waiting stable boys.

"Ready, are you?" The Captain of the Guard's lips twisted into a nasty grin and Vida realized she must have appeared as nervous as she felt.

She nodded, glancing at a slender green vine hanging down the palace wall, just beside the entrance. As they approached, the vine seemed to curl upward. Vida shivered, wishing she were home in her village across the gorge.

"Is there somewhere I can wash and dress before meeting the emperor?" she asked.

"No point until you arrive," said the guard. "It will take you all morning to climb the steps and you'll most likely be a mess by then. Clothing and a bath await you at the top."

"The top?" Vida swallowed. "You mean all the way to the top of the palace?"

"Emperor Zavier prefers it up there."

"He would," she muttered.

The guard lifted an eyebrow. "No one forced you into this arrangement."

"Of course not. I could have just let my family starve."

"Yes, you could have."

Vida didn't bother hiding her disgust. It seemed even the servants of royals were as arrogant as their masters. Why shouldn't they be? Serving such a rich master, the Captain of the Guard probably wanted for nothing.

Drawing a breath of resolution, Vida took a step toward the long, twisting staircase to her left.

"Wait," the guard ordered, removing his helmet and chain mail. "I'll escort you."

Together they began the trek up thousands of steps. After nearly an hour of walking, Vida felt grateful for her lifetime of hard work and years of dancing at the village faire. Breathless, her legs aching, she wondered when they'd reach the top. They must have passed hundreds of doors on different floors but the Captain always said, "Keep going."

"What was that?" She paused, her heart pounding, as the entire building seemed to sway.

"Just the wind," panted the guard. "We're almost there. Are you sure you don't want to rest? You are a mere woman, and --"

Vida brushed past him and continued up the steps, ignoring his muttering as he followed at her heels.

Finally, they reached a door through which the Captain told her to enter.

Vida stepped into a room hung with tapestries of black, red, and purple. Several oak chairs, cushioned in red velvet, stood against the wall. Black brocade drapes hung on the rectangular windows surrounding the room. A thick red carpet cushioned Vida's feet, sore from the climb.

"Ah! Heir Mother, I have a chamber awaiting you." A tall, slender man wearing a silver tunic that nearly matched his hair stepped through an archway to Vida's left. "Captain, would you care for some refreshment before your descent?"

"I know where to get it," the Captain muttered, disappearing through the archway.

"Miserable beast." The silver-haired man shivered, then turned a charming smile to Vida. "I am Tutt, at your service."

"Vida."

"Mistress Vida, you must be tired after your long journey, not to mention the climb from the castle base. I'll take you to your chamber where you can bathe and rest." Tutt motioned for her to follow him through another archway to the left and down a long corridor filled with paintings of prior royals. "I've chosen some lovely clothes for you but when you're ready I'll call the seamstress, since I'm sure you prefer to order some of your own."

"That will be very nice." Vida relaxed. Tutt seemed to be a pleasant man and the idea of choosing dresses interested her. At home there had been little money for anything but the most basic clothes.

"Emperor Zavier wishes to dine with you this evening," Tutt said as they entered a chamber decorated in burgundy and white. A canopy bed, larger than any she'd ever seen, jutted from one wall, and a trunk carved out of beautiful white wood stood between two rectangular windows curtained in burgundy brocade. The floor was of polished dark wood with a thick rug covering most of it. To her right, a door opened into a dressing chamber containing a large tub and a shelf filled with thick towels. In the far corner of the room, beside a round marble table with a pitcher and bowl, stood a statue of a stone beast with the body of an exquisite man and the head of a buffalo.

"What an odd piece." Vida approached the statue and placed her palm flat against the stone chest.

"Yes." Tutt's smile seemed uncharacteristically forced.

"Beautiful, though." Vida now felt compelled to place both hands on the statue. She caressed the chest, then jumped away, her pulse racing.

"Something wrong, Mistress Vida?" Tutt asked.

"I must be dizzy from all those steps." She laughed nervously. "I could have sworn this statue has a heartbeat."

"It is in the image of an ancient god. Some say such statues hold a bit of the deity's power. Perhaps it's best just to look at it."

"Perhaps you're right," Vida said, her gaze still fixed on the statue.

Tutt excused himself and Vida slipped off her shoes, sighing with pleasure when her bare feet sank into the soft carpet. She walked to one of the windows and looked out, then wished she hadn't. Her stomach lurched. The village was so far below that the homes looked like little more than pebbles on a beach of green sand.

She approached the bed and stretched out on it. Though she drifted off for a short time, she was unable to enjoy a deep sleep. She was far too nervous about meeting Emperor Zavier.

Tutt knocked on her door, saying a bath awaited her in the adjoining chamber. As Vida undressed, her gaze fixed on the strange statue. Its eyes seemed to watch her as she stood naked, using her fingertips to stroke her breasts and abdomen. For the first time, she noticed the size of the stone cock. It was long and thick, the balls beneath heavy as a bull's.

Vida sighed and strolled to the tub. She sank beneath the warm water and closed her eyes, relaxing for a moment before using a cake of lemon-scented soap to wash.

After she'd stepped out and dried herself with a towel, she walked to the next room and examined the clothing Tutt had laid out for her. A pale pink shift, so sheer it left nothing to the imagination, was arranged beside a tunic-style dress of burgundy satin. Matching shoes and a cream-colored veil decorated with pink seed pearls rested on a chair beside the bed.

She dressed, relishing the feeling of such fine fabric against her skin. "What do you think?" she asked the statue, twirling in front of it. On impulse, she stepped close to it and touched her lips to the pit of the throat, her fingertips clasping the cool, bulging shoulders. The stone cock pressed intimately against her soft mound, making her wet.

Stunned by her reaction, she stepped away, resisting the urge to rub herself against it. "I must be losing my mind. Nerves. It's only nerves. If you are a deity, would you keep me safe tonight? I'm not sure what Emperor Zavier will be like. Some say Aspectians have been known to rip mortal women to shreds in their lust. Since he wants an heir, I can only hope that won't be my end."

"Mistress Vida! Are you ready? Emperor Zavier wishes to greet you now," Tutt called from outside the door.


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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 00830-00247
Genre: Romance
Date Published: 04/29/2014
Publisher: Changeling Press

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