Sleeping Love By Natalina Reis
He woke him with a kiss. That was just the beginning.
Ayo Mkuu may have saved the man he loves with nothing but a kiss, but the danger has just begun. After being falsely accused by the king, emptied of his ancestors’ magic, and thrown into a hellish prison, Ayo must now find a way to recover what he lost.
Yi Uzurri may be the sole heir to the throne of Tiāntáng, but he wants nothing more than to enjoy life in the arms of his best friend, Ayo. As if falling under a sleeping curse is not bad enough, he may yet meet a worse fate as he risks it all for the love of his life.
The quest to restore Ayo’s magic and find his kin stirs up old wounds and unexpected revelations that will either bring the two lovers together or wedge them forever apart.
Unless a kiss can bring back their sleeping love.
Sleeping Love is a stand-alone pulse-pounding epic M/M romance. If you swoon over friends to lovers, magic, sexy, determined princes, and smoldering heat, you’ll love this scorching tale of kisses and fate.
There was a peace in the silence I didn’t fully embrace. I had made it through the past year, only to fall prey to the curse. In this sleep state, I can find some solace and be free of the guilt that riddles my heart and soul. I can fill my days and nights with memories of my love, safe—however unhappy—in the knowledge there is nothing I can do to save him now. Gods, I wish things were different.
He watched as the shadow approached, silent and anonymous under the secretive light of the full moon. It slid across the surface of the still waters of the river like a thief in the night. Ayo wondered who it might be—a new resident or something else entirely?
The arrival of new residents had stopped suddenly a few months ago. He remembered a time, shortly after his own arrival over a year ago, when the king and his body of royal guards had flooded the isle with new outcasts. Some had never made it to the banks of the Isle of Oublie, choosing to try their luck in the waters of the Malvado River, only to find out that the beasts living there were every bit as ruthless as their king. Wouldn’t death be a better outcome than life on the isle? It was a question he had asked himself many times since. Like those men and women, he had come close to jumping overboard, but in the end that tiny thread of hope and self-preservation that still clung to his heart had won.
Ayo followed the shadow’s progression as it made its way, slowly and in sputters, to the bank and then onto land, heading toward the settlement that was so small and pitiful it couldn’t even be called a village. A couple dozen huts had been built haphazardly as far from the water as possible on the tiny island, a sad collection of decrepit buildings put together from sticks, mud, grasses, and whatever other materials were available at the time. When it rained, some of them went down with it, melting like the snowmen he had once seen in the mountains, and had to be rebuilt again. Not that it mattered since most of the isle inhabitants didn’t have long to live anyway. Disease, the elements, or pure heartbreak regularly took their souls to the afterlife. Doggedly, Ayo remained healthy and thriving. At least physically. Inside he was dead. His heart had shriveled to the size of a walnut, just big enough to continue pumping blood through his veins and keep him alive.
With mild interest, Ayo crouched behind bushes and tracked the shadowy figure all the way to the middle of the settlement. Nothing ever happened on the isle other than the routine disposal of the dead which involved a gruesome feeding of the river beasts. Despite everything, he felt the teeth of curiosity gnawing at him. Who could that be and why was the visitor on the isle? When the shadow disappeared within the hut he claimed as his own, Ayo’s dormant heart skipped a beat or two. Had the king sent an assassin to finish him off? But if so, why? He was not going anywhere, and the odds of him living long were strongly against him. His ruthless king wouldn’t be so frivolous as to waste his money on a hired killer.
There was only one way to find out who it was. If it was indeed a death emissary from the monarch, so much the better. Shortening his miserable life would be a welcome turn of events, even though his self-preservation instinct rebelled against it. Ayo emerged from his hiding place and ducked under the low doorway of his shelter to face the mystery visitor.
“Looking for me?” It was darker inside than under the moonlight. His hut had no light or windows. When he’d first arrived on the isle, it had been the only shelter not taken—a square box made of metal sheeting and cardboard with a hole on the roof to allow heat to escape.
The dark figure inside had collapsed in a corner with his back against the thin wall and legs stretched in front. “Ayo Mkuu?” The man’s ragged breath filled the silence of the night.
“Who wants to know?” His initial fear had been replaced by curiosity. Whoever this was, he was obviously not in any condition to attack Ayo, much less kill him. And how did he know in which hut to find him? “Are you a king’s man?”
Another crackling of breath. “I come from the prince.”
Ayo’s heart stopped beating for a second. The prince? His prince?
“Prince Uzurri is in grave danger.”
“Danger? From who?” The stranger had mentioned the one thing that would not only pique Ayo’s curiosity but also command his full attention and concern.
“Why would he be in danger with all those king’s guards around him?”
The stranger coughed. “The whole kingdom is in danger. Fallen under a spell from Mulluk.” He coughed again. “I won’t last long now, Ayo. I’ve been infected with the curse—everyone has. Even the prince.”
Ayo’s breath caught in his throat. Curse? What was the stranger talking about?
“Who are you? And what do you want from me?”
“I’m Jìn, and I came to ask you to save the prince. Save the kingdom.”
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About the Author:
Natalina Reis is an international bestseller who wrote her first romance at the age of thirteen. Since then she has published thirteen romances that defy the boundaries of her genre. She enjoys writing all kinds of rebels and outcasts into her stories and she always roots for the underdog.
After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She lived in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she has taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit. Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.