Preorder: Ara (Selkies #1) by Alice Gaines #paranormalromance @AliceGaines

As a seal shapeshifter, Ara has the once-in-a-lifetime chance to mate. She’ll share an island in the Galapagos with a human male, but the rules of the Sisterhood say she must not bond with the man who will father her child.

Nature documentary videographer Nate Adams is astonished when a naked woman shows up on the isolated island. He can’t fight his overwhelming attraction to Ara, and she seems eager for his lovemaking, but he knows she’s keeping something from him. Will Ara’s secret keep them apart, or will she share her mother’s fate?

Available at Changeling Press

Preorder for May 7th at online booksellers

Cover Art by Bryan Keller

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Alice Gaines

The selkies had assembled beside the lagoon on one of the islands the humans called Galapagos. Nearby in the brackish water, stately flamingos — dozens of them — strutted in a silent ballet, as though they’d also gathered to watch the initiation of one of the seal shapeshifters into sexual maturity.

Ara stood at the center of the circle of selkies. All had shed their seal skins to assume human form. All but Ara then put on the ceremonial robes, which now rustled around their ankles in the gentle breeze. Only Ara stood naked before the others. The warm air caressed her skin as excitement coursed through her. A human male had taken up residence on one of the uninhabited islands. A rare occurrence, and an opportunity for one of the sisters to conceive a female child to carry on the Sisterhood, and she’d been chosen.

A selkie could only mate once, and her body demonstrated her receptivity by developing the exact sexual characteristics that would attract a human male. Her hips broadened. Her breasts developed. All those things had happened to Ara, as her sisters would now witness in the ceremony that would send her off to conceive a daughter for a new generation.

And right about the time the man had appeared, Ara had started to have dreams of a male who created chaos in her body. She’d awake trembling with drives she couldn’t recognize. Could it be the human she’d soon be meeting? Could he make sense of what was happening in her body?

Inu, the tribe’s current Mother, went to the center of the circle and walked around Ara, inspecting her for mate-readiness. A formality only, as Ara’s body had prepared itself for mating months earlier. Ara stood her ground and let Inu note the all the signs that she’d conceive, if not on the first try, soon thereafter.

“You have not been touched?” Inu asked. Again ritual.

“I have not.” Lots of people visited these islands, including human males. Tourists who only stayed a few moments, not enough time to truly mate, but enough time for Ara’s seal form to study them. Not as massive as the sea lion males, but muscular in their own way. Would her mate be handsome? Smart? Sexy, like the man in her dreams?

Nate. His name had come to her one morning right after waking up.

Inu finished her inspection and stood in front of Ara. “A male has come into our territory. Are you willing to take his sperm?”

“I am.”

“Will you love him?” Inu asked.

“I will not.” She would not share her mother’s fate. Her mother had truly bonded with her man to the point that she couldn’t give him up. She’d pined for him publicly. That had disgraced her in the eyes of the Sisterhood. Without the love and support of her own kind, she’d become more despondent, finally throwing herself into the ocean. Her seal skin had floated to shore sometime later, and Inu had forced Ara to bury it.

No, she would not fall in love.

Sex and procreation, yes. But she wouldn’t be able to stay with him. History said that human males mostly wanted sex without attachment, so no harm would come to him from their mating.

“Your duty is always to your sisters,” Inu said. “You will return, and your daughter will be one of us. The way it has always been, and the way it will continue.”

“The way it has always been,” Ara repeated. “And the way it will continue.”

“Then, I bless you, my daughter.” Inu pulled Ara’s head down and kissed her on the forehead, the sign that the pact had been made for all of the sisters. Ara would take a mate and bring new life into the tribe. And she would enjoy human sex.

They’d all witnessed seal mating. It happened quickly and always the same way. The male simply climbed onto the female and pushed his way into her. Then, after some vocalizations, the whole affair ended. The female didn’t seem to enjoy it much, if at all.

In contrast, human mating took many forms, according to sisters who’d experienced it. The encounter lasted for some time, in different positions, and with the woman achieving climax at least once. Most men took great pride in giving their partners sexual pleasure. Such a rare occasion, and Ara’s time had come.

With the ceremony concluded, the others gathered around her with many words of encouragement and touches, as if they shared her excitement. Already, a dull ache had started in Ara’s belly and below. Anticipation of what she’d get to enjoy. Her body had primed itself for the coupling. Soon, the ache would build to a fire that only the man could put out. But then, it would return again and again until their sex produced a child.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Alice Gaines has published several sensuous and erotic works. She prefers stories that stretch the imagination, highlighting the power of love and sex. Alice has a Ph.D. in psychology from U. C. Berkeley and lives in Oakland, California, with her collection of orchids and her pet corn snake, Casper.

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