Series: Whispers From A Hidden World bk1
Author: T.N. Tarrant
Publisher: MLR Press
Published: 26 Oct. 2018
Length: : : 76,065
Keywords : : Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Add To: Goodreads
Regent Killian Larrestes survived a harrowing attack and the betrayal of his family by his mother, and has since worked to help them all recover, learning the complexities of protecting and commanding a large, sprawling Clan.
Shiloh Zahirris is seeking Sanctuary from a marriage he doesn’t want when he ends up under the protection of Killian Larrestes. Killian takes him in, and they find themselves falling in love. But will social objections, personal insecurities, and someone seeking revenge destroy their chance at happiness?
His mother, Janet Larrestes, stood up behind her desk, with a surprised look on her face, when he and his father came in. “Killian, what happened? Were you attacked?”
He nodded grimly. “Yes, Senki, I have been, but I fought back well enough to escape Anan.”
“Anan?” Janet’s expression was puzzled. She shook her head. “I don’t understand. Are you saying Anan attacked you?”
Killian nodded as his father put a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Yes, Senki, Anan attacked me. She attempted to rape me, Senki.”
“Surely there must be some mistake, Killian. Anan is your fiancée. This marriage has been arranged for a year now. I thought the two of you liked each other.” Janet sat down again, not even bothering to ask how bad his injuries were.
Killian nodded again. “I thought so, too, Senki. I mean, I liked her. She has always acted properly, even if I haven’t always liked the way she treats me. But this is different. This isn’t a misunderstanding of two people needing to learn how to deal with each other. She tried to rape me. I had to walk home from the park in the square because I wasn’t getting back into that car. Who knows what she would have done then? I had to slash her face with my dagger to get her off of me long enough to get away.” His knee really hurt, but his mother had not given him leave to sit. His father had taken the first aid kit out and had busily began to clean Killian’s face, and carefully removed Killian’s shirt to look at his shoulder.
“Janet, this wound on his shoulder needs stitching,” David Larrestes told his wife softly, as he gently checked the wound. Killian hissed and barely managed not to say every cuss word he knew.
“That can wait until we settle this.” She picked up the phone. “I’m calling Anan here. We’re going to sort this out.”
“Can I at least take the boy to get him cleaned up and dressed properly?” David asked, silently warning his son to be silent. Killian obeyed, giving his mother a respectful look. She was a good woman, but a bit of a martinet.
Janet held her hand up for silence. She spoke briefly on the phone, ordering Anan and her mother to come to the house to sort out this obvious misunderstanding. A cold chill went through Killian as he listened to those words. Surely, his mother believed him, didn’t she?
Janet hung the phone up and looked at her husband and son. “Anan is getting her face stitched up. Apparently, you’ve done some damage to your fiancée.” She spoke sourly.
“Good, maybe she’ll learn that no means no,” Killian said. “There’s no misunderstanding, Senki. On my honor, I promise you. She attempted to rape me. I ran as soon as I was able to get away, and the only way I could make her let me go was to use my dagger.”
“I heard from Kelia this morning.” Shiloh looked at him curiously. “She says she knows a young woman that might be an appropriate surrogate, if we would like to talk to her.”
Shiloh was silent for a moment. Killian felt Shiloh’s initial rejection of the idea, which surprised Killian. He knew Shiloh wanted children.
“I don’t want either of us having to be single parents. Well, not any more than we already are, with the boys and Araminta,” Shiloh answered. “With the way things are right now, that’s effectively what we’d be. Whether the baby was with you or me, most of the time, we’re apart. I would rather wait and raise our children together.”
Killian thought about it. Shiloh was right. It just hadn’t been something he’d considered. He’d been a single parent since he was thirteen, so he hadn’t perceived their separations as an issue for childrearing. And with the needs of Jaden and Jimmy both, Shiloh had been thrown into the deep end of single parenthood, even if he hadn’t complained once, something that made Killian love him even more. “Okay I can see that. I’m sorry, I just never thought of it as a problem.”
“Because you’ve been there, done that,” Shiloh replied with an affectionate smile. He kissed Killian’s cheek. “Is it a problem that I’d rather wait to raise more children?”
Killian shook his head. “No, Sprite, I get what you’re saying and it doesn’t bother me. It’s not like we can’t change our minds later, if circumstances change.”
“It would be nice to have some time to ourselves too, before we have babies underfoot.” Shiloh leered theatrically.
Killian looked at him, then gently pushed Shiloh down on his back on the couch. He moved so he covered his husband, dropping kisses on that lithe little body as he moved up, until he finally reached Shiloh’s lips. He kissed his Sprite, savoring the taste of him.
Shiloh laughed as they came up for air. “We’ve got time to ourselves right now, Sprite,” Killian said with grin. He groaned as Shiloh undulated under him, and leaned back down to kiss his Sprite again hungrily.
They were slowly removing each other’s clothes, kissing as they did, when Killian’s phone rang.
“Fuck!” Fumbling to find the dratted thing in the dark, he fell off the couch.
Shiloh finally found the phone and handed it to Killian with a rueful smile.
“Killian?” William sounded scared. Then he groaned like he was in pain. “Carys’ water broke and there’s a lot of blood in it.”
“Fuck! Alright, William, hang on, I’ll call Lucretia. She’ll help.”
“Please hurry, Carys has passed out.”
“Don’t move her, William. We don’t know what’s wrong. Help’s coming.” Killian turned to see Shiloh was already talking to Lucretia on his own phone, telling her what was going on, having listened to what William said through his bondlink with Killian.
Shiloh nodded to Killian to show things were under control.
And then William’s voice was replaced by a “call dropped” tone. Thankfully, it rang again almost immediately.
“We’re at the hospital on the island, Killian. Thank you.” William sounded relieved.
“Go with Carys, William, we’ll deal with things here.”
William hung up without even saying goodbye.
Catan and Kelia both appeared in the den, concern on their faces.
“Jesus!” Shiloh gasped.
“Sorry,” Catan said, “but time is of the essence, I believe. Who’s going?”
“I’ll call Mary, and William’s parents,” Killian said, slightly more accustomed to the fact that Sennrojai did not stand on ceremony during an emergency.
“Don’t bother,” Catan replied. “We’ve met them before, so we’ll grab them, too. We’ll take you to the hospital before we fetch the boys.”
Kelia reached out to Killian and Shiloh. “Carys may not make it, Killian,” she said as gently as possible. “That’s nothing William needs to hear because he needs hope, but right now it doesn’t look good.”
Oh, Deity, please. Killian shared the thought with Shiloh. Surely Deity would not be that cruel.
“Have hope. She could pull through. But you need to be prepared, just in case.” Kelia looked at Shiloh sadly. “This is one of the heavier parts of being an Artris: picking up the pieces.”
TN Tarrant is a hard-working single mom living in the wilds of Wyoming, who enjoys embarrassing her child with bright red lipstick prints to the forehead. When she isn’t embarrassing her child, or hunting, killing and dragging groceries home through the snow, she loves to write romantic stories with hot lovers. She suffers from a love of extremely bad jokes and has a tendency to inflict them on innocent bystanders. She has recently been accused of developing an unhealthy yarn addiction, merely because she has bought enough of the stuff to start her own store. She notes that this does not keep her child and others from enjoying the products of that yarn addiction in the form of scarves and blankets. Other issues facing this poor soul are the continuing threats of books and nail polish overtaking the entire household and burying her amongst themselves. We won’t get into her child’s rocks…