Anima Book 1
by Ana Raine
Genre: M/M Fantasy Romance
Kanji is the last royal Kuro swan, an ancient race who once served the demonic Sidhee. The Kuro were betrayed and given as slaves to the Dryma fairies. When a Dryma is born, his soul attaches to a tree, and to sustain their lives, the Dryma conscript the Kuro to protect their woods. In their servitude, the Kuro are languishing and dying off. Kanji is desperate to reunite his people with their stolen wings, but the task seems impossible.
When Kanji discovers a plan to unite the Sidhee and the Dryma, he tricks the Sidhee prince and attends a masked ball in disguise. There he meets Prince Tristan, who is nothing like the other fairies. Kind and compassionate, Tristan has a plan to free the Dryma from their dependence on the trees—and their need of the Kuro’s protection. It could mean freedom for Kanji’s people, but it might also mean choosing between them and the life of the fairy who is—impossibly—his mate.
When Tristan is wounded in battle and left for dead, his survival depends on the success of his experiments. Can Kanji dare to believe, or must he come to terms with the loss of his mate?
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
The floor was hard beneath my knees as I dropped beside the bed. Tristan had his face turned away as though he were sleeping, and I had a terrible sense of dread he’d gone back under.
“Tristan.” My voice came out as a whimper. “Tristan, please, I’m here.”
A heavy hand was in my hair, tangling my long dark strands around his fingers. Even though he had been in a coma, Tristan still felt as strong as he had before, as if his deep sleep had merely been a passing dream.
His fingers twitched as he gently caressed the base of my skull. His other hand lay limply on the bed, so I pressed my face against his palm. Just inhaling his scent would’ve been enough to bring me to my knees if I hadn’t been already.
“Kanji,” he repeated, his voice thick with emotion. His body shuddered as he touched my hair, my neck, my shoulder… everywhere he wanted. “You saved me.”
I released a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding. Cold tears burst from my eyes, but I was powerless to stop them.
“Baby, why are you crying?” He sounded alarmed.
“I’ve missed you,” I admitted, keeping my hands firmly on my jeaned thighs. The urge to touch him was overwhelming, and just his little circles on my neck filled my cock. “It wasn’t me.”
“What do you mean?”
“It wasn’t me who saved you.”
There was a silence as heavy as the coats we had to wear to stay warm. “How can you say that?”
“Zain and I found an Asrai boy. He’s the one who saved you.”
Tristan’s laughter was like music I wanted to covet for the rest of my life. “Maybe he woke me up, but he didn’t save me. I assure you, that was all you.”
I tried to bury my face deeper against his hand, just in an attempt to get closer to him. “I failed.”
Anima Book 2
Liberation from one master might mean enslavement to another.
For centuries, the Kuro swan shifters have been the unwilling servants of the Dryma faeries. That changed when Prince Tristan of the Dryma attempted to sacrifice himself for Royal Kuro Kanji—his lover and mate.
The Sidhee, seeing Tristan’s actions to free the swans as a betrayal, launch a devastating attack that leaves most of the Kuro and Dryma dead or imprisoned.The fate of the swans rests entirely on Kanji’s shoulders, and he must somehow devise a plan that will protect both his partner and his tribe as the war with the Sidhee rages. It won’t be easy for mortal enemies to become allies, and Kanji is beginning to despair of ever waking Tristan from his deathlike slumber. And neither the Kuro nor the Dryma can compete with the Sidhee when it comes to brutal violence.
When Kanji finds a small boy asleep at the bottom of a lake, his hope for reuniting with Tristan is rekindled. But what is the boy, and can his magic turn the tide against a seemingly unstoppable enemy?
For so long, we’d been slaves to the Dryma, and we still weren’t free. What was more, our fear of the Sidhee dictated our every move and even limited our time beside the water.
I wasn’t sure if it was my hatred or fear that propelled me forward, but I filled my lungs with air and dove headfirst into the murky water.
I felt something else, an ancient kind of creature who belonged in my world. There was little moonlight, so I could barely make out anything farther than my arm’s length.
Kanji, dammit. Are you okay?
Zain’s thoughts were frantic and I knew the only reason he wasn’t flailing around behind me was because he was worried he’d knock me out with his strong arms.
There’s something down here.
No… something more.
There were many human things about me, but once a Kuro had filled their lungs with air, they could hold their breath for long lengths of time.
But I’d been submerged for too long. I could feel my lungs stretching painfully, like twisting rope deep inside of me. Dejectedly, I was about to return to the surface and admit defeat when I saw what I’d been searching for.
Lying on the river floor was a pale-haired boy no older than ten. If his eyes hadn’t been open, I wouldn’t have seen the watery film over the pupil enabling him to see.
He was naked, with his arms floating at his sides as though he didn’t know about shame and therefore couldn’t feel embarrassment. Reaching for his arm, I expected him to lash out, but he surprised me by wrapping a small slimy hand around my wrist.
Breaking the surface, I inhaled sharply. The boy’s hand slipped from my arm, but before he could drift back beneath the water, I cradled him against my body.
In the moonlight, I could see that his pale skin made me look like a bronzed statue. If there hadn’t been a bluish glow covering his skin, he would’ve appeared white as chalk. His fair hair was the color of water lilies, draping around him like a silk curtain.
“Jesus,” Zain cried. He wrestled with his shirt and managed to lift it over his head without crashing into the water. “Here.”
I carefully treaded to where he was standing and took the shirt. The hem was soaked but at least the boy was covered.
“He’s not dead, is he?”
“No,” I murmured, pulling a loose strand of hair away from the boy’s face so I could make out the shape of his upturned nose. “He’s not human.”
Ana Raine writes because she loves to believe in magic, dragons, and that there is more to life than what human eyes can see. Ana lives in Michigan where when it’s not snowy and wet, there are beautiful state parks and lakes to visit. When she was eighteen, she married her best friend and they live with their two cats, Mason and Misaki. Ana has celiac disease, but that hasn’t stopped her from learning how to cook and bake so she can eat tasty treats. Fudge, enchiladas, and anything involving yucca/cassava are her absolute favorite.
Ana has studied in Osaka, Japan where she learned about theater and drama. She would love to go back after she is sure her Japanese is efficient enough. Ana loves anything to do with foxes, especially Arctic foxes. One day, Ana will find a way to incorporate her love of foxes into a novel, but until then, she’ll stay focused on fairies, shape shifters, and mythology.