The Foxling Soldati Book Cover The Foxling Soldati
Soldati Hearts, Book #2
Charlie Cochet
Fantasy, Shifters, Gay Romance
Dreamspinner Press
August 16th, 2017
102

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The Foxling Soldati by Charlie Cochet

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Book blurb

Foxling Toka has served the Soldati king for centuries, and now he attends to the kingdom’s cherished Soldati prince. It’s a position of honor, and as Toka helps the once-human prince adapt to their magical realm, he finds joy in their friendship. He also grows bolder in his encounters with Rayner, Soldati warrior and the king’s second. But the laws are clear: servants and Soldati are not permitted to mate. It doesn’t matter that Toka lost his heart to the dashing cad long ago.

Rayner never imagined he would fall in love with a servant, but the clever and beautiful foxling has ensnared him, and he resents the regulations keeping them apart. When an arrogant and spiteful king visits from a neighboring realm, Rayner is in danger of losing everything. But Soldati warriors don’t surrender, and he intends to fight all the harder to keep Toka where he belongs—in Rayner’s arms.

Excerpt

You mustn’t be caught.

Toka chanted the words in his head, his heart beating wildly as he attempted to ease his ragged breaths. The rustling of leaves sent him diving behind an enormous tree, and he flattened himself against the trunk as he crouched. For a moment he feared he’d been seen.

A fiery orange leaf floated down and tickled his nose as it made its descent, making Toka smile. Autumn in the Soldati Realm was Toka’s favorite time of year, next to winter. What foxling didn’t love pouncing into a tantalizing mound of crisp autumn leaves or freshly fallen snow? Unfortunately leaves crackled underfoot, giving away his position—well, nearly. He worried his bottom lip with his teeth, wondering if he should risk changing into his fox form. If he did, and his pursuer was near, he would catch Toka’s heady scent. But in his fox form, Toka was quicker, more agile, and smaller. He could easily squeeze into a rabbit burrow. His pursuer would be lucky to fit a paw in there.

Blasted! Stop being such a coward!

Breaking into a run, Toka leaped and landed on his paws, his transformation complete in the blink of an eye. His clothes were like a second skin, becoming one with his body when he shifted. He couldn’t imagine having to remove clothes every time he wished to change form. How terribly cumbersome. A roar frightened him, and he let out a cry as he took off. Wonderful. If he hadn’t given himself away when he’d shifted, he certainly had now. Just as the thought crossed his mind, a flash of white caught his eye, and he skidded as he made a sharp turn to avoid getting pounced on by the massive tiger. Toka used his brush to help his balance as he rounded a large tree, the fiend on his heels.

“Give up, little fox!”

The husky voice spoke to Toka in his mind, and Toka barked before replying.

“Never!”

Toka leaped over fallen trees, ducked under low branches, and took sharp turns in the hopes of losing the tiger hunting him. The wind whipped against his fur, and he paid no mind to the pebbles and acorns he treaded on as he pounced through the wild grass of the dense forest. All he needed was to find a small enough place to hide in. A paw swiped at his brush, and Toka jumped, releasing a startled bark. He could hear his pursuer’s voice laughing softly in his head.

“Your capture is inevitable, my little fox. Why prolong it?”

Toka would have rolled his eyes if he could. Someone was rather sure of themselves. Inevitable? He’d see about that.

Spotting a hollow log inclined against a large tree, Toka dashed toward it. He sped through the inside of the log and emerged at the other end. The hollow log was sturdy and lodged tightly against the tree it had fallen against. Toka hopped on the corner, and sprang up just as the log was knocked away. He landed on the nearest branch, then hopped from branch to branch, smiling inwardly.

“Clever little fox,” the voice said in Toka’s head.

Toka wiggled his butt and made the leap onto a branch of the next tree, ignoring the tiger jumping and swiping at him. As expected, Toka soon ran out of branches, and he soared through the air and landed gracefully in a pile of leaves. They fluttered up in the air before cascading down, and Toka darted away.

“When I catch you, you’ll have to give me anything I desire.”

Toka wasn’t prepared for the silky words, and he faltered, his paw catching on a rock, sending him tumbling. Oh, sugar! He changed to his human form and sat up, eyes narrowed when a familiar shadow stretched over him. A hand appeared before his face, and with a groan, Toka accepted and slipped his smoky-colored hand into the fairer one on offer. Unlike the Soldati, who had the appearance of larger, stronger humans, foxlings wore much of their animal features in their human form. Toka’s hands and feet were a smoky color that traveled up his forearms and calves to fade into his bronze-colored skin, whereas Rayner was fair all over. Toka had never known a more handsome Soldati. Rayner’s hand was large and warm, enveloping Toka’s. Cheeks flushed, Toka was pulled to his feet.

“You cheated,” Toka mumbled pitifully.

Rayner’s amber eyes sparkled with mischief, his husky laugh sending a shiver through Toka. Why did the man have to be so darned handsome?


About Charlie Cochet:

Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.


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