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Forbidden Craving

By:Gena Showalter

CHAPTER ONE

Atlantis

VALERIAN, KING OF THE NYMPHS, lover extraordinaire and greatest leader of the greatest army in the history of Atlantis, untangled from the naked, slumbering woman beside him...only to discover his legs were entwined with two other naked, slumbering women.

He truly thought to leave this paradise?

With a sleep-rough chuckle, he abandoned all efforts to escape and relaxed against the softness of the bed. Satisfaction hummed inside him.

The females curled closer to him, soft tendrils of hair-a delightful mix of black, brown and red-cascading across the muscle and sinew he worked hard to maintain.

Did life get any better than this?

Had he known what awaited him in this massive palace, he would have fought the dragon shape-shifter army for rights to it years ago rather than mere weeks.

Nymphs, once touted eternal wanderers, had desired a permanent home almost as desperately as they desired sex.

Sex was like air to nymphs. Without it, they suffered, and they died.

They'd won the palace with only minor losses, expecting to charm and seduce the female dragon shape-shifters still in residence. Within minutes of victory, however, the entire enclosure had emptied, leaving no one to wine, dine and recline.

Until yesterday.

Beneath the palace were catacombs. There, Valerian discovered a strange, upright pool-or rather, a portal leading into another world. The human world. Earth, it was called.

All his life he'd heard rumors about the portal and the topside world. Everyone inside Atlantis had heard, considering there were humans scattered among them. But Valerian had never dreamed he would become the gatekeeper.

He'd watched, dumbfounded, as the trio of femininity currently occupying his bed stumbled through the pool. A sleek black beauty, a plump redhead and brown-skinned goddess.

At first, they'd looked at him and panicked.

"Where are we? Who are you?"

"What happened?"

"I can't... I want to go..."

"Oh, wow. You're hot. Take off your clothes."

The pheromone Valerian exuded every day...hour...minute was the most powerful in the world and considered a potent aphrodisiac. Pair that aphrodisiac with his angelic face, and who could resist him?

In the back of his mind, he heard other immortals calling him conceited, narcissistic and boastful. He considered himself honest. 

Besides, he'd never really cared about the reasons why women preferred him over other men. He'd simply enjoyed the end results. Again and again.

The trio of beauties had basically attacked him, kissing every inch of him while ripping at his clothes. He'd barely gotten the females into his bedroom with his nonexistent virtue in tact.

Between rounds one and five, he'd finally managed to question his lovers. One moment they'd been swimming in the ocean, the next they'd been sucked through a swirling black hole...the next they were inside the catacombs of the fortress.

Welcome to Atlantis. Home to creatures you've only ever considered myth.

Vampires, Minotaurs, griffins, Amazons, trolls, centaurs, winged horses, mermaids and more. The Greek gods had trapped the different immortal races in a dome under the sea. Less competition for human adoration, Valerian supposed.

Peering up at the ceiling, he braced his nape with one hand. The dome had been created with naturally grown crystals and had always protected the fortress from the elements. Now, light uncoiled from the sparkling minerals to caress the chamber he'd claimed as his own.

The master's suite. An enormous space with luxuries beyond imagining. A unicorn pelt had been turned into a rug and draped in front of a marble hearth.

Valerian would rather the unicorn still lived, wild and free.

Never-ending fires crackled from bejeweled torches that hung along golden brick walls. A dresser forged from a massive diamond pressed against a vanity that had been cut from one of the last trees to grow in the Forest of Wisdom Eternal.

The bed occupied the center of an island cutout, with three separate bridges leading to and from the rest of the room. In the spaces between each bridge, a dark abyss loomed. One wrong step...

The perfect precaution against attack.

"Valerian." The bronzed goddess stretched her arms above her head and arched her back, her expression soft from slumber. "You weren't just a dream."

"No. I'm very real." He caught her hand and lifted her knuckles to his lips, licked. "And I'm very appreciative of your sweet sweetness."

Warm breath fanned his pectorals as she chuckled. "I've never slept with a man after a two-second introduction, but I find I can't regret my actions."

"Regrets never do anyone any good," he told her.

She giggled. "While multiple orgasms do a whole lot of good."

She had no idea.

Need arose, and he considered going for round six. Problem was, good sex required half an hour, at the very least, and his men awaited him in the training arena. He could spare another five minutes, perhaps, but no more.

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