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ARCH
Beautiful Monsters 1

A nurtured flower has deadlier thorns.

Arch Eternale dreads visiting the human dominion. A cacophony of sights, sounds, and other things offend delicate blooms and destroy precious animal habitats he, in the guise of Spring, is responsible for overseeing. Melli Apis, who flits about quicker than any honey bee he controls, is not one of those things. Their first night together, he deflowers her. Each day after he spends weaving vines to tie her to his side. Forever.

In love’s arena, Melli likens herself to a late blooming rose. No one has sampled her charms and deciding Arch will be first starts her summer off with much more than a heatwave. He ignites a fire Melli loathes to see doused yet discovering Arch is a magical being, she decides to remain free. Melli's plans spin out of control when Arch whisks her away to a realm resembling earthwithout its laws of physical restraint.
**Interracial Romance**
Father Time! Melli wanted to laugh but aside from a rugged tan and white hair gracing his temples, the guy looked almost exactly like Arch and his brothers and he didn't look much older than they did. Glad she dodged this bullet. For the hell of it, she’d play along since she was in a good mood. Her flowers were a big hit right down to wedding goers exclaiming how they watched blooms unfold as if on cue. She’d caught sight of Arch and his brothers as she carried in the last arrangement to decorate the bride and groom’s dais.
The stranger extended his hand and shook Melli’s. “My pleasure, I’m Aion.” He twisted toward Arch. “You are as lucky as I am.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Surely he has not led you to believe anything is happening between us?”
“My dear, he doesn’t have to.” Heat suffused her cheeks and she felt as if he scolded her. “We both know there is.”
Confessing that her thoughts centered around Arch the moment he left her bedroom wasn’t going to happen. “Okay, he does some squirrely magic with plants, what’s your game?”
His grin showed even white teeth. “Time eternal and we have forever…”
“The hell we do.”
Melli spun to see a platinum haired beauty standing beside Tare and Cape holding Arch’s hand. “Oh, let me guess, you’re going to play the spurned lover?” Twisting back to Arch’s father she reiterated, “Nothing is happening between us.” Hopefully Arch’s chickie heard what she said.
“Chickie? I’m Natura, and I will snatch your insolent ass…”
“Mother!”
Holy freaking shit! Mother? “Umm… I…” Cripes, she read Melli’s mind also.
“Told you, Mom. She doesn’t say much more than umm unless she’s cursing.”
“Enough, Cape.”
“I don’t need you to defend me, Arch.” Melli reached Cape in two strides. “You were a snotty ass when I met you and you’re still a jackass. Wipe that sneer off your face or I will.”
Putting his hands up in surrender, he backed away. Arch’s father still didn’t get it. He approached Melli and grasped her hands. “I know this is hard for you to understand but my sons are special. Each control various forces of nature but not one of them would harm you now that you are Arch’s fated.”
“Fated?” She pulled away. “I thought Arch was nuts but are the whole bunch of you loony?”
“Loony! Young lady let me caution you before your next words hop through those pouty lips.”
Melli admitted to herself the woman Arch called mother dressed like a million bucks. If she didn’t know any better she’d swear she saw a similar outfit in a high fashion magazine recently. Her body, hell, no way four children sprung from those taut, trim curves. She seriously doubted this was Arch’s mom. She didn’t look a day over thirty.
Trust me, I'm their mother.” Natura flipped long, almost white hair back. Thank you for the compliment.”
Had Melli dropped into the twilight zone or what? Arch healed plants, and now that she reminisced, Tare and Cape possessed vanishing abilities.
“Melli, allow me to explain about my family.”
She gave Arch something no one else could ever have. She had felt safe with him. Melli wondered what if… Lord, her whole life had been lived on what ifs. Damn if the man hadn’t taken her gently, slowly to a place she’d love to make a regular stop on her bedtime schedule. Sex with him was freaking awesome. But fated? What did that even mean? Sure, spending more time with him had merit; however, that word, fated, sounded so final. It signified forever. Melli was not ready for that. Why did he and his family have to be so… Bizarre!
“Tell me you did not call us bizarre?” Natura's arms swept high in he air. A bone chilling wind snatched up folding chairs and tossed them into the air as if they were toothpicks. “I warned you.”
“Don’t, mom, please.” Arch focused on his dad. “Melli needs time.”
Thank God everyone remained inside for cocktails after dinner and the bridal meet and greet. A tornado in Exton? Not unbelievable but the forecast called for sunny skies and seventy degree temperatures for the rest of the week. Dark clouds scuttled overhead and damn if snow flurries didn’t fall from the sky. All that was missing was rain. Suddenly, a deluge of water poured down as thunder boomed and lightning slashed ground surrounding Melli scaring the bejesus out of her. “Lord!”
“Mel.” Arch’s arms opened. “I'll always keep you safe.”
She rushed to him and buried her face against his chest. “What’s happening?”
“My mother dislikes your use of bizarre to describe us.”
“God!” Melli trembled.
“You would call on him.” The woman's arms settled at her side and it all stopped. “I’m sure you’ve heard it put other ways but allow me to make it quite clear missyit’s not nice to fuck with Mother Nature.”
Mother Nature and Father Time! They're your parents?”

Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out. - J. Hali Steele

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