Redemption (Lions of Locust Falls #1) Read Online Jayda Marx

Categories Genre: Fantasy/Sci-fi, M-M Romance, Magic, Paranormal Tags Authors: Series: Lions of Locust Falls Series by Jayda Marx
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Total pages in book: 35
Estimated words: 31591 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 158(@200wpm)___ 126(@250wpm)___ 105(@300wpm)
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Talon – I cocked up. But it wasn’t like my normal cock ups, which happen way more often than I’d like to admit; this was the cock up of a lifetime. I was feeling restless and frustrated, and decided to blow off a little steam with a random hookup in the bathroom of a gay club. That’s not so bad, right? Well, it wouldn’t have been, if my mate didn’t choose that exact moment to walk in.

Yep, my mate, the man I’d waited my entire lifetime to meet, the one whom I was destined to love and protect for all eternity, caught me in the act with a stranger. Talk about a great first impression. And when I tried to approach him to apologize, he pepper sprayed me and ran away.

I can track him easily enough, but how do I explain myself when he won’t speak to me? How do I show him that we’re meant to be, or that I’m loyal and trustworthy when he probably thinks I’m just a dirty man-whore? Oh, and as if that isn’t difficult enough, I need to tell him that I can turn into a lion. Time is running out to claim my mate and luck is certainly not on my side.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************

Chapter One

Talon

My paws sank into the earth as I ran at full speed, kicking up dirt behind me. I leapt over downed logs and whipped through the trees, trying to outrun the restlessness inside me.

I was easygoing and carefree by nature, but today was a different story; I woke up with an unshakable feeling which I didn’t quite understand. I was on edge, but not necessarily worried; unsettled but not alarmed. It felt as if my brain was spinning in circles and my body couldn’t move fast enough to catch up; even in lion form.

But I pressed on, sprinting through the woods which I called home. Over the decades, I’d explored every inch of the land which surrounded the lodge where I lived with my pride. I knew every sight and scent, and visiting them brought me peace. Today, they couldn’t even hold my attention.

I planted my feet on the ground and tipped my head back, releasing a roar of frustration. It echoed throughout the forest and birds flew from their perches in the trees, taking to the sky in fright. I loved reminding the other creatures who was the boss of the land. Though it didn’t bring me as much joy as it normally did, I still chuffed with satisfaction at the sound of little critters scurrying away.

Totally exhausted from running, I continued on at a slow pace. Lions were fast and strong, but our endurance was shit. We used bursts of energy when needed, but most of the time, we were as lazy as most house cats. Even though my brain still raced, my body needed a break.

I followed a well-worn path down a slope until the packed dirt gave way to rocks beneath the pads of my paws. The sound of a bubbling brook made my ears twitch, and I breathed in the scent of freshwater. I followed my senses until the trees cleared, and I came upon the steam, which eventually dumped over a rock face. That small waterfall and the many black locust trees of the forest gave this area its name; Locust Falls.

I lowered my head and lapped at the cool water; it was clean, crisp, and untouched by man. There were no marked hiking trails or easy paths for humans to visit the falls without coming onto the pride’s property, so we didn’t have to worry about surprise encounters with humans who would be spooked by the sight of a roaming lion. Even if someone did enter the area, we could hear them from a mile away due to our keen senses.

Once the ripples calmed, I gazed at my reflection on the surface of the water. I was quite the handsome lion, with my broad nose, brown and black mane, and coal black eyes.

"Admiring yourself again?" a voice teased from behind me. I didn't even have to turn around to know that it was my best friend Hunter, but I was surprised that I didn't hear him approach; my mind was even more distracted than I thought.

I stretched and groaned as my body contorted; my bones snapped into new positions and my muscles arched across them. Shifting between forms didn't hurt; it was actually quite pleasant, like the best yoga session imaginable crammed into about twenty seconds.

Once I was in my human form, I stood upright and turned to Hunter with a smirk. "Obviously. That's what you do with fine art." Even my quip didn't pack the sass it ordinarily would, and Hunter didn't miss the change.

He propped his hands on his hips and gave me a tight smile, his golden eyes full of concern. "Still feeling weird?" I'd told him about my internal struggle before I left for my run.

"Yeah, I can't seem to shake it."

"Hmm. I checked the borders of our lands and everything looked fine," Hunter replied with a shrug. He must have been running the woods in lion form and shifted, which explained why he was butt naked, just as I was. Clothing didn't survive a transition. But nudity wasn't a big deal to anyone in the pride, as we didn't hold any romantic or sexual feelings for each other; we were friends and brothers, and had seen one another's bodies countless times.

"Are you hungry?" Hunter asked. He sniffed the air and added, "It smells like Cedric is making barbeque ribs." Cedric was another lion shifter in our pride, and an incredible cook. He was the only reason the rest of us didn't starve to death (or live on bologna sandwiches).

"I'm not sure I can eat," I answered honestly. My stomach was a bundle of nerves.

"Damn, you aren't feeling like yourself." I was normally a big eater (as all shifters were), and ribs were my favorite meal. "Try to eat a little to keep your strength up, and then I'll take you out for a drink. Maybe getting your mind off of things will help."


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