Hidden Wings 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.
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?
If it were even possible, I was thinner than before the Sidhee attacks. I could already imagine what Tristan would say when he saw how malnourished I was. “Just a burger.”
Without another word, Shinji disappeared, almost forgetting his coat in the process.
The bathroom was too tiny to accommodate a mirror, so the only looking glass was hung above the sink in the kitchenette. I caught a glimpse of myself. I’d only been wearing a coat so I would be able to fly without ripping a shirt, so I could see the harsh outline of my shoulder blades and the definition of my spine. Tristan deserved more than a skeleton to hold when he woke up.
On second thought, I should’ve asked Shinji to bring me as much food as he could carry.
I vigorously washed my hands before brushing the curtain away and entering the dimly lit room where Tristan was sleeping. Originally, there had been a set of bunk beds in the corner, but Zain and Tomas had helped me move them to another cabin so every Kuro could have a place to sleep. All that remained was the queen bed pressed against the right wall and then an empty space on the left where I’d been keeping our clothes.
“Hey, Tristan,” I whispered.
Even in his sleep, Tristan was an image from fairy tales. When humans imagined fairies, I knew he was what they were seeing. His long dark lashes rested on the top of his cheeks, his mouth slightly parted as he drew breath. His defined jaw was absent of facial hair, but he didn’t look like a child.
Only slightly taller than me, he had broader shoulders, and his hands could cover my chest effortlessly. But his most striking feature was his emerald eyes, a color I longed to see again.
I brushed his golden strands from his face and pressed my palm to his forehead. The cabin wasn’t meant for winter use, so the only source of heat was an old space heater we’d found.
Perched delicately on the small nightstand was Tristan’s flower, silently hovering above a small bowl of lake water taken from Pasky Nature Reserve. Despite my many efforts to adjust the flower’s position, Tristan refused to wake up.
When there was nothing waiting for him apart from me, I couldn’t really blame him.
But the anguish was enough to kill me.
“Please, please come back,” I begged quietly, resting my head on the stale sheets. The linen was cool to the touch but couldn’t compare to the icy fist wrapped around my heart.
His hand was heavy and limp on the top of my head, but at least it was something tangible.
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.
I live in Michigan and there is a constant joke that there are only two seasons: construction season and wintry season. But for those of us who brave the construction and shut down roads, there are beautiful state parks and flowing ponds, lakes, and rivers.
It was on one of these adventures to my local Metro Park that I came up with the idea for Hidden Wings. There were two swans in the center of the path and a small group of people who hadn’t dared pass by even though there was nowhere else to go. Swans are often characterized as small, fragile and helpless, but in that moment, I saw the true strength that lies within those majestic creatures.
A few weeks later, I went back to the park, but this time there was only one lone swan floating in the pond. The fight had seemed to ebb away and there was a hollow look of sadness about the creature that made me think he had been abandoned. In the romance world, bear or wolf shifters are predominant because of their predatory, protective nature. But swans are not just graceful birds with slender necks, but creatures of beauty who fight for their mates and are broken when separated.
Further research into Irish mythology extended my knowledge of fairies. I created the idea of a Dryma Fairy whose soul is tied to a tree. It seemed only fitting that the protectors of these trees would be the strong swans who captivated me that fateful day.
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