Man by day, Centaur by night, Rhycious is a remedy maker who needs his own healing.
He’s the royal physician, famous for his cures. War and posttraumatic stress disorder have broken his spirit, preventing him from finding true happiness. Then a direct order from the queen to investigate an uprising forces him out of his secluded cabin at the edge of the Boronda forest.
Patience is an optimistic, good-natured Wood Nymph who works as a mediator to ensure harmony within the Nymph sector.
Environmental pollution in the aquifer stream that feeds the taproot tree of her heart is slowly killing her. Resigned to the fact she will not live long, she sets out to discover the mysterious disappearance of her sister. Experience has taught her to deny herself the love of a male, but the gruff Centaur is different. He doesn’t push his expectations on her, only his healing nature.
When Rhycious loses his grip on reality, he believes his inability to control his disorder will drive Patience away. Nevertheless, desire flares, and Patience draws him close. Kidnapping and betrayal turn their mythic joint venture into a deadly bout.
Will their love endure when survival hinges on trusting each other?
Can’t wait for more!
I sat down to read Sheri Fredricks’s book, Remedy Maker, recently and was floored! The concept that Ms. Fredricks’s has come up with is one that I have not run across yet, and let me tell you originality goes a long way in capturing my attention.
From the very beginning I was intrigued by Rhycious, the centaur man who is suffering from PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, who while physically strong has a softer side, which is usually brought out by his patients. He is THE Remedy Maker, or essentially a doctor, to his people, the centaurs. This portrayal of centaurs was new and invigorating, as they switch back and forth between human form and true centaur form daily, which like I said is a new twist for me. I loved it, as Rhycious has to excuse himself periodically to make the change.
While Rhycious wrestles his demons, that are a result of a war with the Wood Nymphs, we meet Patience, a relatively young Wood Nymph who has been injured and brought to Rhycious. While he struggles to deal with his issues, his healer side refuses to ignore that she needs treatment. Rhycious eventually moves past his anger with her kind, and begins to fall in love with the wise-cracking Wood Nymph. Together, they are drawn into a web of lies and corruption that threatens to rip their world apart. Someone is conspiring to kill the centaur queen and it is up to Rhycious and Patience to uncover the plot and its participants before war again comes to their land.
As they investigate the deception, they gradually fall in love with each other. Now let me tell you, their love burns hotter than a fire, and nearly made me blush. But you can tell that there is nothing sinister in what they feel for each other. I think we all know what it is to have a new lover, whether we married them or traipse through one after the other. Patience and Rhycious exhibit this total focus on each other throughout the tale, and come out stronger for all that they have faced. When I finally reached the end of the book, I found myself hoping that all would work out between them. The two main characters may capture your attention, but all of the characters in this book draw you further into the tale, and left me wondering what would happen to them in the end.
There are so many things that I could say about this novel, but if I did then there would be very little reason for anyone to go out and purchase it. I hope that I see more of Patience and Rhycious in subsequent novels, and cannot wait until Sheri’s next novel is released. She has gotten me hooked!
A bit of fantasy with your romance..
I awaited this book’s release for a while so I was glad when I finally had the chance to sit down and read it. I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. Ms. Fredricks excelled at world building when she created the mythological Boronda Forest full of assorted creatures of myth and fantasy.
Rhy is one of those tortured, loyal heroes who has a duty to carry out, but he also has his heart in the right place. Patience was a entertaining heroine, in my opinion. Her quirky vocabulary tickled me since I have issues with inventing my own words as well. There was no shortage of witty dialogue and great sexual tension when this pair were together, trying to sort out the problems in the forest and political alliances among the mythological factions.
It was a pleasure to read how Patience’s unbiased, understanding nature helped Rhy through his PSTD and his own past prejudices. Their blossoming love was sweet to read, and Rhy is a hero you’ll fall in love with. He’s protective of his little wood nymph, and I absolutely loved that. There is no shortage of “sexiness” to the book as well.
– Melissa Limoges
Rhycious linked his fingers under his head atop the giant futon bed, and breathed deeply. Of the two sleeping rooms, the stallroom was his favorite. Pillowed in comfort, he gazed out at the sky through the east window. Early morning sun trickled through the heavy foliage surrounding the cabin. Strobes of light filtered in, turning his room a brilliant orange-red.
Standard bed frames didn’t work for his Centaur body. His heavy weight broke springs and made canyons out of mattresses. He smiled, remembering Patience scooting over in bed to make room for him to sit last night. Though made of iron, the frame would have bent like licorice under his mass.
After he left her room at one in the morning, he’d slept on a seed of a thought that grew overnight. His plan would require he take a partner for a time, but he hoped the outcome would outweigh the temporary discomfort.
Short-term sacrifice for long-term gain.
Indecision irritated the hell out of him. Planning and execution reduced stress. No stress: no flashbacks—and Pan would be cheated out of Rhy’s personal panic mode.
He sighed and climbed out of bed. Time to circle the tree and have a talk with his lovely Wood Nymph guest.
The grove where Samuel had found Patience was associated with this race of nymph during the war. Today it stood thinner. Burned and felled, many pixies died as they were driven from their homes.
Their cousins, the Water Nymphs, occupied a stream not far away. Colonies of the water dwellers flourish throughout the United States and Canada. That particular Nymph race had killed in ways the Wood Nymphs never could—drowning. Young foals and old Centaurs alike, it didn’t matter to the Water people. Back then, all was fair in war.
Rhycious shook his head to clear the suffering from his mind before the ghastly memories claimed his morning.
On top of the highboy, next to his wallet, he picked up the royal armband and slid it on. The twin scythe emblem, Queen Savella’s royal crest, gleamed in the cuff’s cold polished silver, raising goose bumps on his arm. Seeing the band’s insignia reaffirmed his decision of what was best for the many, and ignore the protest of the one—him.
Rhycious pulled a fresh pair of jeans from the dresser, and slid them on. He grabbed a t-shirt off the ladder-back chair, slipped his size thirteen’s into a pair of cowboy boots, and left the stallroom. Following a moment in the bathroom, he reappeared in the kitchen a short time later—face shaved and damp hair tied back with a leather thong.
Confidence settled within him after making a decision on the next step to fulfill his ruler’s wishes. He leaned toward the radio, flipped the switch, and let the music roll over him while he set about making coffee in the stovetop percolator.
The twenty-first century was by far his favorite time to live. Natural cure innovations abounded, and the music jammed. Nodding in time to the deep bass thump, Kid Rock rapped out his wish to be a cowboy. Rhy tapped his toe on the wooden floor and swung his shoulders to the steady rhythm.
A little coffee, some discussion and bargaining, and I’m good to go.
Patience took hesitant steps out of the bedroom with bare feet. She cleared her throat. “Good morning.”
Sleep creased her face, her hair lay mussed and wild about her shoulders. Heat coiled low in his belly; his scrotum tightened inside his pants.
He was in deep shit.
In his waking mind, the plan seemed so easy. None of the sexy details were filled in. Now, with her standing in front of him looking like she’d been tumbled hard in the sack, all he could think of was . . . getting hard in the sack!
No! Not that word.
Glorious brown hair, liberally streaked with auburn, floated in waves over her shoulders and cascaded down her back. He watched her like a slow motion movie. She lifted her hands and pushed the heap away from her face, her breasts jiggling with maddening temptation.
“Hey there.” He grabbed open the lower door of the cold box and hid behind it, adjusting himself through his jeans. Guileless, her innocent eyes held no condemnation for his Centaur breeding.
Patience was born decades after the last arrow flew in hatred. Her people had committed horrendous crimes, but he had murdered as well. He was the villain here, not her. The proof stood right before his eyes, looking so damn beautiful—a felony on two legs.
“I hope you don’t mind, I borrowed a shirt.”
Huh? Oh, yeah. Now that he noticed, she wore his Penn State pullover. The navy blue hem fell to mid-gorgeous thigh, and his tongue stuck like Velcro to the roof of his gaping mouth.
“Is that coffee?” Patience glided across the distance separating them, hips swayed seductively. “Mmm, smells wonderful. Can I beg a cup?”
An old adage came to mind: A wiggle in her walk, and a giggle in her talk.
“Uh . . . ” He slammed the cooler door shut, grabbed his own mug that read Kiss Me, I’m Amish, and shoved the steaming coffee into her outstretched hands. “Not a problem.” If the brew smelled good, he couldn’t tell. As far as he was concerned, there wasn’t anything to smell beyond the fantastic blossom fragrance that was hers alone.
Staring with appreciation, he watched her drift out of the kitchen and sashay to the living room couch. And there she sat. Tucking those mile long legs beneath her.
Rhycious turned and faced the stove, eyeing the iron skillet. “Are you hungry?” Perhaps a few whacks on the head would bring back his senses. Drier than his humor, he ran a few laps inside of his mouth to generate a modicum of spit.
“Not yet, thanks.”
Pouring coffee with a shaky hand, he took a deep breath and mentally reviewed notes for the upcoming conversation with her. He needed his wits and mind on the task at hand, not conjuring images of ripping the damn t-shirt off her to enjoy a little good-morning delight.
She gazed at him over the rim of her cup, watching when he sat nearby in the glider rocker. His eyes drew to the shirt’s hem riding high on her thigh. Long bangs covered half a blue eye peering at him while she blew her coffee.
Hard as galvanized steel, his dick lay jammed inside his jeans. He forced his eyes away from her pursed lips with a metaphysical crowbar. Patience was ravishing and eternally youthful as her kind represented. Once thought to be immortal, Wood Nymphs’ lives were linked to their chosen tree. Cut down the tree—kill the Nymph.
Centaurs and other mythologicals needed the protective cover of trees, therefore taking axe and flame to win the war had been out of the question. They’d be slitting their own sorry throats.
Sunlight streamed through the high-set windows, creating golden rectangular squares on the floor. After a few silent companionable sips, he asked, “How are you feeling this morning?” His voice sounded rough, even to his own ears.
Patience brought a slender foot to the blue rug. Each tiny provocative toe aroused his possessive Centaur half, demanding he take what he wanted. He couldn’t pull his gaze away. Typical of the sex-starved dog he was, he followed the sensual assault.
“. . . so I’m good, thanks.”
His mouth closed with a distinctive click, and he snapped his gaze to her face. He caught himself leaning forward in his seat, his mug resting on the rocker’s arm. Rolling his shoulders and plastering a bored expression on his face, Rhycious made a show of slouching further back into the chair and rested his black boot over a knee.
“Good, that’s . . . good. I’m glad you’re much better.” Oh gods, he blabbered like an adolescent scenting his first spring heat.
Concentrate on your duty. He’d just come out and say it, get the damn ball to roll into her court.
“You want to find your sister. I’m in a position to help.”
Disbelief crossed her face, turning into surprise, and finally tears welled to overflow. They gushed from her eyes to stream down both peachy cheeks. Well, that certainly cooled his ardor. She hung her head and sniffed, wiping a finger under each eye.
“That’s so cool of you. I wasn’t sure what I would to do.” Her watery smile wavered, lips trembling. “Don’t know how I can ever thank you.”
He caught himself before the lewd suggestion popped out of his dirty mouth and got him in trouble.
“You can thank me by helping out in return.” Her chin rose along with her brows, playing wishful emotions over her pretty features, lending color to her otherwise pale face. Hope shined, making him feel like a whole Centaur again. “I need an experienced arbitrator with the capability of bringing two sides with deep grudges to work together . . . but there’s more.”
Rhycious took a sip to fortify his confidence, and then placed his cup on the coffee table. Glancing down, he sighed before meeting her eyes. If there were another other way but this, it’d be nice for the gods to step in and tell him. “I’d like you to help me enlist the Wood Nymph community in capturing those responsible for instigating the potential uprising against Queen Savella.”
There, he’d said it. Now it was up to Patience. Elysium help him, he hoped this was the right thing to do.
Her expressive eyes held his gaze. . . and blinked. Her optimistic smile remained frozen in place. “When you said I could help you out,” she paused and huffed a small laugh, “I figured you meant pick some plants or square-up your house.” She wiped a finger across the end table, showing him the dust that covered the tip.
Frowning, Rhycious kicked himself for thinking his idea would pan out. While he was developing counter-revolutionary defensive measures, she was thinking about dusting his damn house. Not only were they not on the same page, they weren’t even in the same genre.
“Well, thanks anyway.” Angry with himself for not having a Plan B, he pushed to his feet and went to move past her. “I’ll think of some other way.”
Her hand shot out and caught his wrist before he’d taken two steps. “Now before you go trippin’ on me, don’t flip my script.” Her cup joined his on the table.
“Don’t start jumping to conclusions and change the meaning of my words. I’m good at what I do professionally. Damn good.”
Using his arm, she pulled herself off the couch to stand beside him. Her fingers only wrapped half way around his wrist and the top of her head reached the middle of his chest. A powerful desire to hold her in his arms came over him. He fought to quell the yearning need.
Large turquoise eyes laughed into his. A teasing smile flitted over her upturned lips. “I never said I wouldn’t help you, stud muffin. I happen to admire Savella very much.”
Relief coursed over him as if he stood under a waterfall, nearly drowning out her endearment entirely. Releasing a breath he didn’t know he’d held, Rhycious grinned and gave in to impulse. He wrapped his arms around her slim woodland body and hugged her tight.
“Stud muffin?” he said, into her mane of hair.
* * *
The first thing Patience saw when she walked out of her room was Rhycious being deliciously domestic. Her gaze drifted up his tall body, taking in all his handsome male visage. Tied back with a simple strip of leather, his long damp hair curled at the ends. His well-worn, gray t-shirt magnified his bodybuilder arms and chest— he looked more like a linebacker than a remedy maker.
Need thrummed in her Nymph body, demanding she call upon her seductress ability. She’d never chosen, or wanted, to use her talent in the past. Nor would she exploit it now. If he should become attracted to her, she wanted that interest to be of his own free will, not mystically enthralled.
After admiring the faded material showcasing his perfect ass, she wanted to throw her arms around his neck. She imagined getting a grip of his thick ponytail and wrapping her legs around his middle.
Desire won out and she gave up the ghost to fight her attraction. There were worse things in life than a bi-racial affair.
Patience smiled with what she hoped would appeal to his participation. “I hope we can help each other out.” She feigned a thoughtful pose. “Hmm. A Wood Nymph and Centaur working together. What a concept.”
Her hold on his rock hard shoulders invited an opportunity to touch him further. Her hands roamed his deltoids. So big and muscular, tall and handsome, the testosterone needle pegged the red where Rhycious was concerned. Patience never noticed her petite figure until she compared her height and size difference with Rhy’s. The man was positively old growth redwood to her slight willowy stature, though the taproot tree of her heart was platanus occidentalis, the sycamore.
“Our alliance could work.” He held her gaze, and in his eyes, he seemed invincible and more than capable of handling a few rebellious Centaurs looking to stir the pot. If Queen Savella appointed him to lead the investigation, he must also have the backing of the royal guard—with all their amenities at his disposal.
Why would he need her?
Without a doubt, Rhycious could find Serenity. He had the manpower, the expertise, and the courage. And what a package it came in. All tough, sexy male.
She wet her lips and moved a step nearer. “We’d have to work closely together. You cool with that?”
Unveiled hunger smoldered in his eyes. She took a chance. Patience did something so far out of character that she even surprised herself. Lifting to her tiptoes, she turned her face up to his.
Heat sizzled from his arms and soaked into her body. His hot look of surprise was followed by an even hotter response. The moment he lowered his head and took her lips, broiler fans set on high blew over her.
With a subtle shift of his legs and wicked ass, he burrowed her tighter against him. Apparently, it wasn’t close enough, because his hand slid over her hip and pulled her closer into him. His palm continued to move lower, shaping a butt cheek through the thin t-shirt she wore.
Dampness saturated her bikini panties—she shivered, realizing how unconcealed that sign of arousal was.
Rhycious chuckled in a low tone, rubbing his hardened pelvis against her. “As far as working together, I’d say we’re off to a great start.” He let her feel his cock in its engorged splendor, and moved with sensuous play against her mound.
His teeth nibbled and soft lips worked their magic down the side of her neck. She dropped her head back to give him further entrée. “We’ll be totally teamed up. I’m game if you are.”
“Should we practice our joint effort, polytima, and see how good we can be together?”
How much hotter could they possibly get? Much as she hated flames, her body burned hot enough to internally combust.
“Rhycious!” she cried out, going for a scolding tone. But it came across like a sensual invitation.
His arm tightened around her waist, drawing her the wasted millimeter of space nearer. Patience’s mind spun. A man who wanted her was holding her in his arms. She closed her eyes. His mouth traveled up her throat, licking and sucking, until he settled over her lips once more. Persistent and demanding, his tongue slid along the seam until she complied and opened.
He charged right in like a Centaur warrior would, drawing her tongue into battle with his. Feinting and parrying, they slid sensuously against one another.
“My gods, Patience. You taste so damn good.”
And Rhycious tasted of pure Elysium, sending a tingle of exquisite warmth to a spot deep within her. A breathless tension coiled. “Your coffee tastes better than mine.”
His hand cupping her bottom alternated between kneading the cheek and rubbing sumptuous circles. The clench of desire increased between her thighs. She moaned her approval. His other hand traveled upward from her waist and settled under the heavy fall of hair, massaging the base of her skull.
Rhycious backed her up until her knees hit the couch, and buckled. He followed her down, arranging her body to stretch out beneath him, his hips spreading her thighs wide. Leaning on one elbow, he used his free hand to push the hair off her face. His feral gleam intensified, and his tawny eyes bore into hers.
“Rhycious.” She was drunk with longing and unable to string words together—but she didn’t want to talk anyway.
“Yeah, sweetheart. I’m here.”
Through his shirt, the contractions of his back muscles splayed and moved under her fingers. The scent of clean, warm male filled her senses. His bulge rubbed over her panties, stoking her raging fire, and his massaging hand moved from her neck to cup a breast. He plucked at her nipple with a thumb and forefinger.
Patience whimpered her thirst for him. Goose flesh exploded over her body, and slammed into her pussy, causing it to seep with need. Reaching up, she drew his head lower to kiss his lips and slipped the string of leather out of his hair.
“You feel incredible,” she said. His shoulder length strands slithered through her fingers—smooth and silky. “Your hair is so soft.” He evoked emotions she’d never felt before, and she dared herself to discover more with this man.
Taking possession of his mouth again, she had just found his tongue when she abruptly arched her neck and broke away to gasp. His cock rode her, building the pressure below. “Touch me more,” she said. “I love the way your hands feel on my skin.”
Insistent lips burned a path to her ear. A wet swirl traced the curved shape. He nipped her neck, and then licked the sting, all while pushing against her, simulating the love act.
His hard breath came fast, matching hers in tempo. She spread her thighs wide and raised them higher on his waist, tilting her hips to receive maximum stimulation. Behind the zipper of his jeans, his erection hit her clit and she cried out.
“Gods, I want in you so bad, Patience,” Rhys voice rumbled, adding to her sexual tension.
“I—I don’t know…” She didn’t know how to talk anymore; coherent thought became impossible. Flames burned a path that followed his traveling hand. His fingers were taking a walk, heading south, past her waist and up her splayed leg. A light stroke skimmed over her knee and down the inside of her thigh.