Unicorn Valley (Collection) [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Lena Austin
eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Paranormal Erotica
eBook Description: Lionel, one of the last Unicorn Valley Gryphons, is forced to choose his mate from among other shifters. What he doesn't count on is falling in love with the Werebitch Teema, who has a few needs and demands of her own. Lionel's foster brother Brolly falls for a shape--and gender--shifting Immortal, and Shadow, the future Unicorn herd stallion, loves an Elf. As if things couldn't get any stranger, their mercenary Unicorn uncle Jamir is falling in love with both Moontyger and the Dragon Li Chin--at the same time. Not everyone loves everybody in Unicorn Valley, but they try.
eBook Publisher: Changeling Press LLC, Published: 2009, 2009
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2009
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15 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [MultiFormat - What's this?]: eReader (PDB) [291 KB]
, ePub (EPUB) [353 KB]
, Rocket/REB1100 (RB) [262 KB]
, Portable Document Format (PDF) [941 KB]
, Palm Doc (PDB) [295 KB]
, Microsoft Reader (LIT) [379 KB]
, Franklin eBookMan (FUB) [296 KB]
, hiebook (KML) [710 KB]
, Sony Reader (LRF) [428 KB]
, iSilo (PDB) [243 KB]
, Mobipocket (PRC) [305 KB]
, Kindle Compatible (MOBI) [387 KB]
, OEBFF Format (IMP) [402 KB]
Reading time: 258-362 min.
Microsoft Reader (LIT) Format: Printing DISABLED, Read-Aloud ENABLED
Portable Document Format (PDF) Format: Printing DISABLED, Read-Aloud ENABLED
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
"Ms Austin made me laugh, and cry and feel the fun with her creations. I would recommend this to anyone who loves romance, because at the heart of all four tales is a deep and sincere sense of love, along with some extremely hot romance."--Holly, Whipped Cream Reviews Praise for Gryphon's Heart Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read for September 2004 "Gryphon's Heart is fantasy romance at its best."--In The Library Reviews "Once again, Ms. Austin has dazzled me with her creativity... Pure fantasy with a deliciously real world that you can almost see and hear around you as you read."--Meribeth McCombs, The Road to Romance Praise for Stallion's Heart "Unicorn Valley 2: Stallion's Heart is a book readers will devour from the cover to the end. This magical land that she has created in her books is beyond imagination."--JoAnn, Fallen Angel Reviews "The sexual heat was intense and had me reading a few of those encounters over again! Lena Austin has created a vibrant world of magical shape shifters in Unicorn Valley."--Five Hearts from TRS Blue Praise for Healer's Heart "A wonderful addition to this unique fantasy world created by Lena Austin. In a land where vampires, elves, unicorn and werewolves all live harmoniously, readers are taken on a journey into a world they will never forget. The Unicorn Valley series by Lena Austin is definitely worth your time reading."--Five Angels from JoAnn, Fallen Angel Reviews "The Unicorn Valley series is one of my favorites. I love the creatures who live in this valley outside the world of man. There's a bit of everything there, from vampires and werewolves, to unicorns and elves. And Unicorn Valley 3: Healer's Heart doesn't disappoint."--Chere Gruver, Paranormal Romance Reviews Praise for Moontyger's Quest "The sex is hot between these three, the scenery is all beautifully described and the characters are totally different from each other and complement each other wonderfully. This series just keeps getting better and better with each one I read and I can't wait to see where and who Lena Austin writes about next."--Chere Gruver, Paranormal Romance Reviews "Moontyger's Quest is a deliciously erotic story. I was captivated from beginning to end by Ms. Austin's characters' capacity to love, accept and fulfill each other's dreams in an absolutely spine tingling manner. If you, like me, have fallen under Ms. Austin's spell of her Enchanted Forest, then this book is a MUST read, I promise you will not be disappointed."--Dianne Nogueras, eCata Romance
There would be no mate for him.
Lionel brooded on that ugly fact from the ledge outside his nesting cave. It was good to be home where the air was clean and the pulse of magic strong, but that didn't change the fact that he would die, alone.
He folded his long, bare legs until he achieved the meditative pose his foster mother taught him. However, instead of meditating, he put his elbows on his knees and rested his chin in his hands. The loneliness threatened to overwhelm him.
"Now there's a dejected fellow!" The familiar voice eased the ache of loneliness. Lionel turned to see his foster brothers Brolly and Shadow make the final few feet of climb to the ledge where he sat. After a lot of masculine back pounding, Lionel invited his brothers inside. They sat on great cushions made dusty by the long months of disuse, but no one cared.
"No luck in finding a Gryphoness, old pal?" Brolly's human form was of a brawny young man with brown hair and twinkling brown eyes full of mischief.
Lionel shook his head, and felt his shoulders droop with despair. Brolly put a comforting hand on his arm. Shadow looked on sympathetically, his horn knob flashing silver in the morning light.
Lionel shook his golden brown hair out of his eyes. "No, no luck. It was horrible outside our magical home! You'd think in the sky, and as high as I fly, I'd be safe." He pointed to a wound on his shoulder. "They've become more proficient with their arrows than your father estimated. Everywhere, the evidence exists Gryphons once were Outside, in statues and artwork on cloth they hang from their homes." He pounded his fist into his hand in frustration. "But no real, live Gryphons anywhere!"
Brolly put his hand on Lionel's clenched fist. "Will you let me look at the wound?" As a healer, Brolly was always courteous enough to ask if his help would be accepted. It was perhaps the sole serious thing about him.
"If you insist. I packed it with the herbs you gave me. It shouldn't need healing." Lionel forced himself to stillness. "I did miss the familiar tingle of a decent healer, I must say. The arrow came out of nowhere. I swear it! Humans are everywhere! Like ants! I almost was a pretty Gryphon trophy or rug for the wall!" He shuddered and remembered how close the arrow came to his vulnerable chest.
Brolly's brown hand was over the arrow wound in a flash. "Now, that's a vile thought!" Brolly's distracted voice still held a measure of disgust. "I'm sorry you'd no luck, brother mine." The warm tingle of Brolly's healing gift ceased, and Lionel breathed a sigh of relief. The constant ache was gone.
"Why must I be one of the last of my kind?" Lionel complained. He studied the talons on the end of his hand. "I need a mate, damn it. Not only just to ease a lusty moment, but I'm one of the last Gryphons here in the Valley. I must make cubs if Gryphons are to survive." He looked around his shabby nest cave. A female made all the difference between a place to sleep and a home. In his mind's eye, he could almost see it. A nesting Gryphoness purring, games of Pounce and Tumble with the whistling laughter of Gryphlets, and the proud joy of flight lessons.
"You're handsome enough to get a Gryphoness, too, if there were one available," put in Shad, in the low tones of his kind. All Unicorns were soft-spoken, but vicious fighters when need arose. "The fact is, Lionel, you must choose a mate from outside your own race," Shad pointed out, his voice earnest. "A filly or Vampire bitch won't suit. Fillies produce single offspring, and Vamps tend to throw too many females."
"I don't want a filly, old friend. You can keep them. I don't want an herbivore cluttering up my nest growing plants to eat. The very thought makes me shudder!"
Shad chuckled. "In truth, a Werewolf bitch is best since they're prolific enough to produce litters."
"But I want a real Gryphoness! The purity of my line..."
"Won't continue without a mate, Feather Wit," Shadow interrupted sternly. "As you well know, what form you are, you become in all ways."
Brolly jumped in. "All she'd need to do is stay in Gryphoness form until she gave birth, Lionel. You know that."
Lionel grumbled, then sighed. "You're right. I'm stooping at shadows. I must find a female willing to give up her form for me. That is difficult enough." He grinned at Shadow. "I will look among the Werewolves first. I would prefer a carnivore."
Shadow manifested three glasses of wine that floated near the hands of his brothers. Brolly and Lionel grabbed up their wine glasses. The sparkling pink stuff slid down Lionel's throat like liquid gold. He toasted his elegant brother in appreciation. "May I find a bitch, queen, or flirtatious filly who can love me enough to fill my cave with joy."
"That shouldn't be difficult," Brolly murmured into his goblet. "Since any female can be bitch, queen, or flirtatious while they bat their lovely eyes at us and make us simpering idiots." The brothers roared with laughter at that truth.
Unbidden, the face of Lionel's foster sister Teema rose to his mind. Teema was a Werebitch, and a finely formed one. If only he could find one like her. She was everything he'd find desirable in a mate. Teema was not merely attractive and a master sorceress, she was also his dearest friend. They'd shared many a fine hunt in the forest.
Brolly drained his goblet in one gulp. "Goddess knows there's plenty of Werebitches in my pack to go around. Finding one to warm your bed won't be hard, if you can find one to like your feline attributes. You'd best discuss this with Mama Kella. She won't do more than suggest a few good candidates. It seems rude not to go to your own mother, but Nin-Kaa looks at this too coldly for my taste. I'd rather hunt my own prey, thanks." Brolly, who never stayed still for long, stood and paced the length of the small cavern and back.
"I must say, I agree with Brolly," Shadow added. His face was apologetic. "Nin-Kaa would insist on you mating with whichever filly ... excuse me, bitch is most magical in nature, shove her at you, and expect you to win her over to the idea. Kella will at least let you do your own wooing."
Lionel nodded. "What you say is true. The Gryphon way is to choose a mate based on who'd produce the best cubs. Like Brolly, I wish for more than a cold bedding for procreation."
Kella, who kept track of all her adopted children and healed half the Valley, knew more of where to hunt for a mate than any other. She'd understand his need for a life-mate as well as a mother to any cubs he might father.
Lionel sighed privately to himself. "You're both right. I need to talk to Kella. Want a ride down, Brolly? I know you don't fly."
"Hell, yes! One of these days I'll find a flying form I can master." Brolly was beside him in a flash.
Shadow nodded, walked to the cliff edge, and changed into his eagle form. Lionel relaxed into Gryphon form and let Brolly mount him just in front of the wing joints. Once Shadow leapt off the cliff and caught a thermal, Lionel snapped his wings out and soared. He could've carried more than Brolly's weight, but it was difficult to leap up from a standing position on the ground. This way, he rode the same thermal as Shadow.
Shadow immediately changed back into his Unicorn form as soon as they'd landed. His silver horn nodded once. "I just got a mind call from the Herd. Brolly, there's a birthing. We're needed. Let us know what happens, okay?" Brolly hopped off Lionel immediately.
Relieved, Lionel nodded and changed to his human form. "You wouldn't be able to stop yourself from making jokes, I know. Go, and do good healing. I'll tell you what happens when you return." He grinned. "You'll tease me then, I'm sure."
Brolly laughed. "You never will get rid of that Gryphonic syntax when you are nervous, will you." Then he changed to his lupine form. He set off at a lope with Shadow trotting beside him.
Lionel watched them go with relief in his heart. He loved his brothers, but they did not feel the urgency he did. To Lionel, this was serious. As a stallion, Shadow wouldn't mate for life, and Brolly didn't wish to settle down with a life-mate yet.
Lionel padded up the slope, winding through his foster mother's garden. Kella's garden was extensive, but Lionel had the usual Gryphonic disregard for plants. Well, except catnip, but it was a secret vice. He shouldn't be affected by it, considering his eagle attributes, but his feline body craved it all the same. Teema kept his secret, grew it for him in the garden, and claimed it was for tea.
As if his thoughts summoned her, he saw Teema first when he stepped into the cavern. He'd time to register Kella and Nin-Kaa both were there before Teema dropped her tray, heedless of the crash, and ran to hug his neck, squealing, "Lionel! You're home!"
Lionel sighed and purred at the welcome he'd longed for.
* * * *
"Hiya, Purrbox!" she whispered.
"Hiya, Furface," he purred for her ears alone. "You've no idea how much I've missed you. Meet me after I visit with Kella. Usual place."
Teema nodded against his neck and released him. "I'll bring catnip," she offered. It delighted her to hear him purr as only Gryphons did, even in human form. What was it about the Gryphonic purr she found so sexy?
He seldom used his human form, but his sleek catlike grace made her go into heat any time he was near. His human body was slim in the hips and wide at the chest, to accommodate his enhanced wing muscles. His skin tanned to reflect the tawny brown of his true coat, and his brown-gold mane of hair was shoulder-length. She shuddered with lust and lowered her eyes. Because he was uncomfortable with clothing, he wore nothing more than a loincloth, as he did right now. He stepped regally away to greet Nin-Kaa first, then Kella, while Teema cleaned up her mess. It was her day in the kitchen, so she repaired the cups with a small bit of magic, and went to get more tea for Lionel.
She made short work of getting tea for Lionel, and hoped his visit with Kella wouldn't take long. They hunted together often, and she'd missed that. What was more, he could fly! Oh, how she longed to fly, but it was the one skill she couldn't master. No avian form worked for her. After she served Lionel his tea, she eyed his wing muscles across his chest with envy and a secret lust. Teema no longer counted the number of times she sat on a cliff edge and felt the wind in her face while she watched Lionel and the others fly.
"I knew you'd understand, Kella," Lionel agreed.
"It is true you must acquire a mate," Nin-Kaa asserted. "I could..."
"No, thank you, Mother," interrupted Lionel. "It is a certainty I must woo and win a Werebitch. Kella is right about that. Still, which one? How do I go about it?"
Teema bobbled her own tea mug over that remarkable statement. She sat, ready to serve more tea or other refreshments at a moment's notice.
Kella grinned, and showed her fangs. "That, Lionel, must be up to you."
Nin-Kaa was as regal as ever, and put out from being denied the privilege of choosing Lionel's mate, even Teema saw that. "I must insist you choose from among Kella's brood. Only they have magic strong enough."
Lionel growled for a moment. "Then I choose Teema to ask to become my mate."
Teema sprayed tea and choked, since Lionel spoke just as she sipped. She'd decided she could placidly listen to this cold discussion over something so passionate as the choice of a life-mate, since it was no business of hers. "W-W-What?" she sputtered helplessly.
Lionel turned his magnificent golden eyes in her direction. "You're as near a perfect choice for a mate as is possible. You're a Werebitch, and therefore can produce many offspring, for one. Second, we get along well enough. Third, you're a sorceress."
White-hot fury rose in Teema before she thought about it. "And you're an ass!" she shouted. Without making a conscious decision, she waved her hand and Lionel was a donkey, with wings. "I'm not a toy you may pick up and claim! I have feelings!" She swept from the cavern and ran for the hills to the north in a towering rage.
* * * *
It took a bit of time for Kella to stop her howls of laughter and turn Lionel back to his usual form, while Nin-Kaa looked puzzled and Lionel demanded in mind-speech to know what he'd said. Between chortles, she explained. "Teema is a Werebitch. They're an exceedingly passionate people. Unlike Gryphons, who choose their mates with calm deliberation, Werefolk choose their mates with emotion."
"Ahhh!" Nin-Kaa rumbled, and her feathers slicked down. "We've insulted her." She turned to a thoroughly confused Lionel. "Will you allow me the right to apologize and speak with her?"
Lionel merely nodded. He'd been so positive Teema would agree to such a simple solution and his logical reasons for naming her, he was still stunned. His mouth hanging open, he watched his mother stalk to the entrance, spread her wings, and take off.
"I'm sorry, darling," Kella said without looking contrite in the least. "I shouldn't laugh. Your being the most beautiful and magical of Nin-Kaa's brood earns you no favors this time. You must woo Teema if she is your choice, and you must do it with passion. You'll need to convince her heart, not her head, that you want only her."
"I do want Teema. How do I convince her?" Lionel craved to go into a full Gryphonic display, but he knew better than to do it in Kella's home. The last time had resulted in several pieces of broken furniture, one ripped rug, and a scorched butt.
Kella knew her foster son well. She shook a finger at him and pointed to the cavern entrance. "Don't you dare transform and unfurl those wings in here! Go home now, and think about it, before you ruin my rug again with your talons. I don't want to give you another mage bolt on your tail. Shoo!"
Lionel knew better than to argue. Kella's hair may've faded from fiery red to ginger and gray, but she was still a bloodthirsty Vampire sorceress with no mercy for her recalcitrant offspring--fosterling, adopted, or of her body.
"Oh, and Lionel?" Kella called when he reached the entrance.
"Take a bath. You stink, and her nose is more sensitive than yours. Now go cool your temper and think."
Thoroughly chastened, Lionel took off.