King of Prey: (A Bird Shifter Novel)

Contents

Copyright

Copyright copy

Mandy M. Roth Featured Books

Mandy M. Roth, Online

King of Prey

Dedication

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Epilogue

About the Author, Mandy M. Roth

The Raven Books’ Complimentary Material

The Impatient Lord by Michelle M. Pillow

A King’s Ransom by Reagan Hawk

King of Prey: A Bird Shifter Novel

by

Mandy M. Roth

The Raven Books

www.ravenhappyhour.com

Raven Books and all affiliate sites and projects are © Copyrighted 2004-2014

King of Prey: A Bird Shifter Novel

by

Mandy M. Roth

King of Prey: A Bird Shifter Novel © Copyright 2006-2014 by Mandy M. Roth

Cover art by Andrea Depasture, © Copyright 2014

First Electronic Printing 2006

Second Electronic Printing 2014, The Raven Books

Edited by: Angela James, Suz G. and Dianne B.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

All books copyrighted to the author and may not be resold or given away without written permission from the author, Mandy M. Roth.

This novel is a work of fiction. Any and all characters, events, and places are of the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or events or places is merely coincidence. This book is intended for a mature audience only. Must be 18 years or older.

Published by Raven Books

www.ravenhappyhour.com

Raven Books and all affiliate sites and projects are © Copyrighted 2004-2014

Mandy M. Roth Featured Books

King of Prey (Bird Shifter Series)
 

King of Prey

A View to a Kill

Master of the Hunt

Rise of the King

Prince of Pleasure

Prince of Flight

Immortal Ops Series

Immortal Ops

Critical Intelligence

Radar Deception

Strategic Vulnerability

Tactical Magik

Administrative Control

Separation Zone

PSI-Ops Series (Part of the Immortal Ops World)

Act of Mercy

Act of Surrender

Act of Submission

Act of Security

Act of Command

Mandy M. Roth, Online

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King of Prey

Book One

In a place where realms combine and portals open passages to the unknown, a prophecy speaks of fertility being restored to King Kabril’s people through the taking of his mate.
 

The prophecy neglects to mention she lacks something vital to his kind--wings. Kabril, king of the
Buteos Regalis,
has no interest in taking a human mate. His kind believe humans are dirty, vile creatures who rely on machines to lift them into the air. The last place he wants to go in search of his mate is the realm of Earth, but he's left no choice.

Never did he expect to find love on a planet with one moon, people who lack wings and a stubborn vixen who makes his heart soar. When he does, he fears the truth about who and what he truly is will steal it away. Little does he know his enemies fully intend on doing the taking.

Dedication

In honor of my ten-year writing anniversary I’ve decided to expand and re-release some of my favorite books.
King of Prey
is one of them. It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since I first put pen to paper to bring my bird shifters to life. Eight years since the other realm was born in my imagination and eight years since larger-than-life alpha male shifters swept in to claim their mates. I can’t thank you all enough for being part of this journey with me. I hope you enjoy this expanded edition of
King of Prey
.

Chapter One

Accipitridae Realm

“King Kabril, you cannot stand idly by while your people cry out for you to lead. Our race will not survive unless you take a wife. The mating magik that governs our lands will not grant established unions the blessing of children if the leader himself refuses to sire offspring,” Sachin said, his words the truth. As head advisor to the king he was afforded the opportunity to speak freely where others were not. It was a privilege Kabril was fast beginning to suspect needed to be revoked. “You know the laws, the way of the land and the demands you must meet as king. The time has come, my lord. This can wait no longer. The people of Accipitridae need you to act now.”

Though Sachin’s words were the truth, they were not what Kabril wanted to hear. No. He much rather preferred hearing all was well and that none of the people under his rule were troubled. Of course, those moments were few and far between of late. The rumbles of pending war continued to make their way through the kingdom. Now was not the time for foolishness or for stopping everything to heed the warnings of those who did not leave their chambers.

Ever.

Seers and the Oracle.

He grunted. He had no time time for prophecy.

It had been a good long while since his people had been in full-scale war. Yes, they had the occasional run-in with the enemy, but nothing epic. Too long for some to remember the horrors of it, yet not long enough for others to be afforded the chance to forget.

Kabril was one of the men who could not forget. He did not want a repeat, nor did he want his people’s moods soured because he was refusing to do what was required of him as king. Gods be damned if what they required didn’t go against his very nature.
 

Select a wife.

Settle upon only one woman—forever?
 

Absurd.

Truly, he would have thought it a trick of the Oracle had so many not stood behind the words.

Foolish words.

Sighing, Kabril leaned back on his throne and stared into the reflective mixture Sachin held in the bowl. He ran his fingers over the scrolled armrest and glanced down at the carved hawks. A slow smile caused by pride moved over his face. Pride in his people, their traditions and their beliefs, even though those very beliefs were the cause of his unrest.

He did not want to be forced to select a queen. Far too long he’d ruled alone, answered to no one and liked it just fine that way. He did not require the assistance of a female.
 

Few men did.

Females tended to talk too much and think with their hearts, not their minds. Such was a luxury men could not afford. He shuddered to think what would come to be should females ever rule the realm. There would be nothing but talk, talk, talk.
 

He nearly groaned at the thought.
 

“A curse on the prophecy,” he muttered, making Sachin laugh. He looked to his friend. “They are wrong to put such stock in charms and magiks.”
 

“At one point in your life, you too believed the seers to be true and wise.”
 

He scoffed. “’Twas before I knew better.”
 

“You are most difficult, my lord.”
 

“I could have you beheaded,” Kabril returned.
 

Sachin merely snorted. “You could try.”
 

The people of his kingdom assumed their issues with conceiving were due to his reluctance to accept what they deemed to be destiny. Kabril wasn’t a staunch believer in the gods or of prophecy as he should be, but it came from being the one forced to accept a wife he did not want. As their ruler, it was his sworn duty to do what was best for the kingdom, regardless how much it pained him.

“My lord,” Sachin pressed, his reluctance to let the subject rest putting Kabril’s already taxed nerves on edge. The man would not cease his endless prattle about the subject no matter how much Kabril deemed he do so.
 

Kabril knew. He’d tried to decree it law not to speak of the ordeal.

Sachin simply ignored him.

As was the norm.

Taking a deep, calming breath, Kabril reminded himself of how proud he was, and should always be, of his people’s customs and beliefs. Although he was less than pleased with the Oracle—whom they held in such high esteem—choosing a bride for him. According to the prophecies, the Oracle would select a woman fit to lead his people, and he was honor-bound to obey. It was also said the union would produce children, something their kind sorely lacked. Once heavily populated, his lands were no longer bursting with the sounds of children singing and playing. In truth, Kabril could scarcely recall when the sounds indicative of children stopped, but he knew it had been far too long.

War had claimed the lives of many of his people. Still others, while immortal to a degree, possessed the ability to pass on to the afterlife should they so choose. There came a time in many people’s lives when they were ready to move on. It mattered not what the cause was—their population was low, as was morale. Riches only did so much to calm the people. They wanted families.

“Cursed Magaious,” he spat, not caring if he took one of the Epopisdeus’ names in vain.

Sachin clapped acrimoniously. “Bringing down the wrath of the bird gods will surely ease your burden, my lord. For if you curse one, they all rise to strike.”

“You push me too far, old friend.” Kabril smoothed his fingertips along the wood of his throne, ignoring the internal nudge to free his temper.

“You do not push yourself far enough.”

Kabril hated when Sachin was right.
 

Giving Sachin a daring look, Kabril let loose another curse upon the gods. He once again selected the god he knew Sachin honored weekly in hopes of provoking his friend. He was in the mood for a fight and Sachin was always a worthy adversary. The two often sparred until matins. Depending upon the day, Sachin would either continue the match or lay his sword down to go honor the gods. Kabril had long since given up his prayers to higher powers. “A pox on Magaious and those who follow him blindly.”

Sachin merely tipped his head a little and released an exasperated sigh. “Remind me again which of us is older? You seem to be acting like a fledgling, my lord.”

Arguing with Sachin would get him nowhere since it was clear Sachin was not going to take his bait. Damn him for being levelheaded. Kabril hungered for an argument, even a sparring match. Steel upon steel would settle the debate. For there was nothing more soothing than the clang of steel and the vibration up one’s arm from a good strike and an equally as good counterstrike.

Sachin would obviously give in to neither. Kabril truly hated when his advisor was calm. It took all the fun out of a good fight. Kabril drummed his fingers on his armrests, trying to devise a plan for avoiding marriage.

Especially to a human female.

A ripple of disgust washed through him. He was king, not some peasant, and even he would not wish a human upon a peasant. He was not that cruel a king.

Why was it the Oracle seemed to favor reopening the portal to Earth? The prophecy only stated his need to find his mate. It never said she was an Earthling. It wasn’t as if an Earth woman was fit to be queen of his people. Their species was substandard to say the least. They lacked the means to be anything but human.

Kabril shuddered. The mere thought of not being able to shift forms into that of a hawk and soar the skies nearly caused him to lose the meal he’d eaten to break his fast.

The very idea of relying on machinery to lift me into the sky. How repulsive.

Not only that, but humans were foul as well. Their entire world was polluted, overpopulated and riddled with disease. They took nearly no care with their realm and allowed men with gold-lined pockets to kill the planet, quicker, rather than slower, as if it did not matter to them that the gold would serve little in the way of burying all their dead.

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