HerMatesEmbrace - By Rebecca Airies

Chapter One

869 Neshan Calendar

“They won’t hurt you.”

Cami didn’t even glance over at Avan. She recognized the unspoken message, but was a little surprised he didn’t just come out and say it. They wouldn’t hurt her like Laed and Kynar had.

The auburn-haired man seemed to think that if he kept telling her that, it would make her believe it. Not going to happen. She didn’t doubt that Ardin Linc Arinin and Ardin Colm Tarvis were as honorable as men with the power to rule over others could be, but they were men with power. These two men had more power than most. Ardin ruled a group of Santir shapeshifters. Sometimes it was a small number of people, but from what she knew, Linc and Colm led a large group of Santir.

The sun streamed through a gap in the clouds above, giving a glimpse of the yellowish sky. Cami thought she was doing great in trusting them enough to stop Laed and Kynar. She couldn’t trust completely. For merely irritating them, she’d been beaten with their fists and a large leather strap. Before Laed and Kynar had finished, they’d cut her face and her leg to provide a visual warning to others who thought to defy them. Even coming to find these two Ardin hadn’t been easy.

Laed and Kynar had been the Ardin of Scali Thent, but not true Ardin with real magic. No one realized that until it was too late to stop the two men from taking control. They had ruled with cruelty and fear. No solid reason was needed to draw their fury. Cami was one of many victims of their vicious behavior. She didn’t know if she’d ever be able to trust anyone completely again.

“You’ll find safety at Tobai Thent.” Avan’s voice softened.

As if she’d believe that tale. She knew what Thent was supposed to be. Thent was often used to refer to a specific clan or group of Santir, but could also be used to indicate the buildings that made up the clan’s home. In the old stories, being part of a Thent meant safety and protection from enemies. Home, family and prosperity. What everyone wanted. Not in this case. Cami had been far safer alone and on the run than she’d ever been under Laed and Kynar’s rule.

“Cami, try to give them a chance,” Avan said with a little bit of annoyance.

She raised a brow, but kept walking. Avan didn’t seem to have any problem putting his faith in Linc and Colm. She remembered too much from Scali Thent to believe in Ardin without proof. Still, she trusted him. If she didn’t know Avan would be with them, she doubted she’d be here. Avan was a good man and had lived through Laed and Kynar’s reign at Scali Thent just as she had.

It took much too long to discover how Laed and Kynar acquired their magic. When she had realized a crystal gave the men power, she’d grabbed it and run. Not long after she’d left, she’d broken the crystal. She had wanted to make sure they could never use it again, but had succeeded in creating an entirely different situation. Magic escaped from the gem and had flowed into her. It wasn’t stable and it grew almost every day. She needed help managing her newfound power.

The energy from that crystal had done more than give her magic. Only a day later, she’d begun having dreams and visions. That was how she knew about Colm and Linc. At first, it had been visions of Avan with them and then a vision of them fighting Kynar. More scenes of Linc and Colm had followed. She’d learned things about them she was certain they never would have shared with her.

At first, she hadn’t realized why she was getting so much intimate information about two strangers. She knew about their love life at their Thent and their problems. Eventually, she’d realized they were connected to her. Admittedly, it had taken seeing herself with them in a few dreams to solidify the knowledge. With the sometimes erotic turn of the dreams, it didn’t take long to guess just how they were linked together. That connection to two powerful men terrified her.

She followed the visions to Linc and Colm only because Laed and Kynar wouldn’t stop hurting others. The opportunity to control the magic was simply a benefit. One she knew she needed. She anxiously waited to start learning to control the magic welling up inside her. Especially since it seemed to