Release Blitz: Held for the Stud by Vonna Harper #eroticromance #BDSM @totally_bound @firstforromance

Held for the Stud by Vonna Harper

Word Count: 42,592
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 180

GENRES:

BONDAGE AND BDSM
EROTIC ROMANCE
FUTURISTIC

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Book Description

 

A man determined to have his way. A woman in need of taming. The battle begins.

One look at the big, half-wild stallion and Asha vows to ride him. One look at the beautiful stranger sneaking toward his newly acquired stud and Banner vows to teach her that he’s in control.

Banner is a soldier, a man who has experienced little beyond weapons and war, but he and the men he’s responsible for need more than conflict. Otherwise they’ll lose what’s left of their humanity. He turns abandoned ranch land into an escape and offers it to battle-weary fighters.

Nothing will stand in his way, especially not the slight, determined woman who insists that only she can handle Koko. He won’t allow her to risk her life. When she disobeys, he disciplines her. Repeatedly.

Asha loathes the man who brought her, naked, to her knees, but her body isn’t listening.

Reader advisory: This book includes references to sexual harrassment, PTSD and war injury. There are elements of corporal punishment and dubious/ambiguous consent.

Excerpt

What I wouldn’t give to ride him.

His energy and power everywhere, me becoming part of him. Heat, endless heat. Wild all the way to his core. His body in absolute control. No fear or doubt. Potent.

Even with her heart’s jagged pace warning she might be having a stroke, Asha continued to stare at the prime example of maleness. She’d seen unwavering confidence before. Hell, she was pretty damn confident herself. But this…

Not wanting to miss a moment of this rare experience, she willed herself not to blink. The object of her admiration was far enough away that she doubted the stallion was aware of her, but even if he locked his dark eyes on her, she’d go on staring open-mouthed at him. She had no choice.

You don’t have to chase after them, she silently told the stud. Females will always do whatever they think it takes to convince you to breed with them. You can be selective. You assess and most times reject because you know there’ll always be another. Only the best will do.

Sweat pooled at the base of her throat while another kind of moisture soaked her panties’ crotch. From first glance she’d known she couldn’t be objective about him, but she hadn’t realized her reaction would be so primal.

She’d caress that sleek dark flesh, run her fingers through long, coarse hair, climb onto his back and ride him until there was nothing left of both of them.

As if reading her thoughts, the stallion stared at her, a front hoof furiously attacking the ground. He wasn’t quite coal black, but close, with a tail that swept the ground and a rich, thick mane. Do it, he seemed to say. Take the chance.

“You’re tempting me.”

He whinnied, the sound sharp. His muscles repeatedly knotted as he continued his attack.

“There’s a mare in heat somewhere, isn’t there? You sense her. Maybe you smell her.”

Barely aware of what she was doing, Asha jammed her hands in her jeans’ back pockets. The gesture tightened the fabric against her crotch and brought her attention back to herself. “Is that it? You’re primed for breeding? You can’t think of anything else. Hot blood runs through you all the time, keeping you keyed-up. You’d service an entire herd if they let you.”

Head high and thick neck arched, the stallion pranced closer. There was a wooden fence between them, but even if it hadn’t been there, she wouldn’t have shied away.

“You don’t intimidate me. That’s because it’s possible I know more about how you’ll behave than you do. I respect you, but you need to do the same.”

The animal stopped and again beat at the ground. He shook his head, eyes showing more white now.

“You want to run, don’t you? Gallop without this corral hemming you in. Work off some of that energy. Believe me, I get it.”

Head now cocked to the side, the stallion seemed to be considering her proclamation. She took him to be a little over sixteen hands high and probably thirteen hundred pounds, the majority of it muscle. The way his coat shone, people who didn’t know horses would assume he got a lot of grooming, but his hooves were ragged, his mane and tail tangled.

“I’m guessing your coloring has a lot to do with why you were picked for stud service. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on. That’s why you aren’t out with the herd.”

Frowning, she fingered the lock on the corral door. She’d been looking for him since she’d ventured onto the mysterious place known as Escape, her attention initially drawn to whistles and thuds. Thanks to her career, she’d concluded she was listening to an agitated or aroused horse. The sounds and air of energy had drawn her magnet-like to this remote section of the acreage.

“It probably doesn’t matter to you, but I’ve been listening to you for a while, feeling you in my muscles and bones, letting you command me.”

Command. Yes, that was what it had been. Like a starving woman with the scent of something on a barbeque filling her senses, she’d made the decision to let instinct have its way with her. She had no business being here, but who would run her off? At what she understood was over a hundred acres, chances were she was the only human on most of them. It hadn’t been called Escape for long. A lot of mystery surrounded who owned it. She figured farmers or ranchers acquired the land which was dotted with a couple of barns and a sprawling older house.

Not that she should give a damn.

Command.

Pushing her hair out of her eyes—someday, maybe, she’d figure out how to contain the auburn mass that reached the middle of her back—she gripped the top board and gave the stud her full attention. She wanted him, to own and ride him, to love him and earn his respect. She’d slip a rope around his muscled neck and guide him to a tree stump or boulder. Using his mane for leverage, she’d half haul and half boost herself onto him. She’d settle her crotch on his broad back and tighten her thighs against testosterone-filled muscles. She’d weave fingers made strong from a lifetime of physical labor into his mane, lean forward and whisper in his alert ears.

“Run for me. Race the wind. Gather your legs under you and take us over the fence. Free both of us. Gallop until your lungs heave and I’m hoarse from screaming my delight.”

Her breath snagged, her cheeks burned and her muscles bunched in reaction to what she was certain the stallion was capable of. Her already charged pussy got into the act, muscles clamping down. Her nipples hardened and she gave up trying to close her mouth.

As if reading her thoughts, the stallion pranced even closer. He was all sexual energy, every inch of him leaving no doubt that he’d been created to excel at one task. She’d seen more stallions than most people, but there was something outstanding about this creature.

“You’re making me crazy.”

She should ask herself if she really wanted to confide in the stallion, but right now it was too much effort. She started to drop to her knees in preparation for wriggling under the fence when a shiver of sensation along her spine stopped her. Was someone watching? Assessing and judging her? She looked left, right, behind her and as far into the distance as she could. She didn’t see anything worthy of alarm but she’d been in enough precarious situations that she knew better than to dismiss what her nerves were trying to tell her.

To hell with it! Touching the stallion was more important.

Breathing quickly, she wriggled under the fence. As she straightened, the stallion pranced back.

“You can’t be afraid of me. I know it isn’t that. You just have trouble containing all that energy. God, but you’re magnificent. Devil and angel in one package.”

Talking took too much effort so she concentrated on wiping dirt off her jeans. Thinking she probably wouldn’t see anyone today, she hadn’t bothered with a bra, but then she rarely wore one. She was a C-cup, which meant people would notice, but bras weren’t worth the expense when being true to herself meant so much. Her untethered breasts and hard-as-hell nipples were clearly visible under the wear-softened cotton T-shirt.

If she were one for introspection this would be when she’d question why she’d decided to spend her day off exploring Escape. However, between being more than a little worn down from the long hike and her reaction to the stallion, she wasn’t sure she knew what she was thinking.

“Do you know what the phrase sex appeal means?” she asked the stallion. “What a woman is trying to get a man to understand when she tells him she’s turned on? Going by my less-than-extensive experience, I’m not an expert when it comes to putting out the right vibes.”

She clamped down on a chuckle. Her suspicion that some man might have his eye on her right now had twisted her thinking a bit. So she wasn’t as experienced regarding the opposite sex as she’d like people to believe. That was her business and had nothing to do with the moment. If a man was watching, he could come to his own conclusion. It wasn’t as if she had to have anything to do with him.

She again slid her hands into her back pockets. Fabric tightened.

“I don’t know if I’m going to sleep tonight. I’m also not sure I care. Damn, but you’re beautiful. One of a kind.” She paused as a surge of something hot ran through her. “Right now, I’d give anything to be a mare.”

As if agreeing with her, the big, black, glistening creature stretched out a densely muscled neck. Holding her breath, she dragged her right hand out of her pocket and extended it toward him. Warm, moist air caressed her fingers and sent a fresh frisson of excitement into her.

“Will you let me ride you? I didn’t bring a bridle or saddle, but I’ve ridden bareback more times than otherwise. As for a bridle…”

The thought of pushing a metal bar between those white teeth made her shudder. She didn’t want to command him in any way. As long as she was astride him, he’d be in control. She’d trust him not to throw her, to know she preferred a canter over a trot and a gallop over everything else. Together they’d run like the proverbial wind and win every race.

The stud drew her fingers into his mouth. She embraced the moment.

“I know you. I think in some regard I always have.”

Tears she didn’t know she had in her burned. Blinking repeatedly, she struggled not to let them loose. When they continued to threaten, she withdrew her damp hand and stroked his neck where muscles and veins pulsed. Maybe she could go from standing flat-footed to being astride him on will alone. She tightened a hand around the rough mane and crouched in preparation for springing. Nothing else mattered. In one or two seconds she’d—

“Don’t even think it!”

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About the Author

Vonna Harper

What prompts a mild-mannered mostly law abiding woman to write erotica and erotic romance, a lot revolving around BDSM and capture/bondage? Is it the complex issue of taking or giving up control?

Vonna Harper doesn’t know and she has given up trying to find the answer. It’s enough that many readers are drawn to what some call the dark side. All she asks is that readers understand she writes fiction–a brand of fiction she finds fascinating.

Vonna has lost count of the number of books, novellas, and short stories she’s written. What she has no doubt of, it’s a hell of a ride.

You can follow Vonna on Facebook.

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ENTER HERE AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 24th August 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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New Release: Astronomicalla by M.L. Uberti #SciFiRomance #NewAdult @MLUberti_Writer @changelingpress

Exiled from her home by a malicious stepmother, Calla is sent alongside her two shallow and greedy stepsisters to a planet in another galaxy. They are set to compete to be the wives of a Prince, a man they have only just met. The competition doesn’t last long since once Prince Lincoln sets eyes on Calla, he knows she is one for him. But forces outside their control conspire to keep them apart and their happy ever after may end up lost in a strange world of men with the power of fire in their hands and their hearts.

Get it at Changeling Press

Preorder for March 26th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 ML Uberti

Calla

I hunched over the engine of the ’95 Astro van, frowning. I had no idea why someone would want to keep fixing this hunk of junk, but for years it had ended up in my dad’s shop each month, like clockwork, with a new problem.

Today’s was a leaky oil pan. But it also made a terrible grinding sound that had to be another issue. I let out a breath and wiped the back of my hand over my forehead. I kind of wished my dad would have told the owner that it couldn’t be saved — but that was impossible. Because my dad was gone — two years now. Sometimes, I still forgot. I’d get to a sticky problem and turn to ask him if it sounded like the timing belt, then I’d remember. And my crappy life would slam me in the face again.

My dad had been my world. We lost my mom to cancer when I was little — I barely even remember her. But growing up with one parent didn’t mean I went without. My father gave me all the love he would have given her and me. I never felt anything less than cherished.

Unfortunately, three years ago a woman with a broken head gasket rolled into our life and things had never been the same. My dad married her within months, smitten immediately with her sophisticated air and coifed beauty. And then, months after that, I lost him to a heart attack.

My Uncle Tyler took over the shop, kept me on, and I was allowed to keep living in the house beside Ashe Auto, in the basement, because it financially supported my stepmom and her twin terrors — daughters who were one year younger than me and treated me like trash.

I didn’t even recognize my life anymore from what it had been. I supposed the one constant was this stupid vehicle that would die and kept coming back in repeatedly for maintenance. My stepmom would never tell the owner to scrap it. To her, money was money — so we would fix this heap time and time again because it kept cash flowing in.

If she had wanted so badly be wealthy, she shouldn’t have married a man who owned a car repair business. It’s not exactly a lucrative venture — especially in the small town we lived in where no one had a ton of money to spend. And still drove cars from 1995.

“Calla!” I heard my stepmom’s shrill voice call me from outside the garage bays and I rolled my eyes — to myself. I wouldn’t dare let her see that — she’d pop an embolism, and then something of mine would mysteriously disappear. Last time I talked back to her, the locket my dad gave me for my sixteenth birthday vanished. She knew just how to kick someone when they were down — her one superpower.

I lifted my head and peeked around the raised hood, giving her my fakest smile. “Yes, Marlene,” I replied, but I couldn’t keep the disdain out of my voice. That would be impossible.

Her mouth curved into a wicked smirk that had me worried for a moment — she never looked happy. And right now, she was positively glowing.

“Your uncle and I need you up at the house,” she told me, then turned on her fancy high heel and stomped away.

I tossed the wrench I had been using onto the table behind me and washed my hands in the sink. I didn’t have the most feminine hands — a fact my stepmom liked to harp on me about. It could be tough to keep them pristine when you were up to your elbows in grease all day. And no one had minded what they looked like before she showed up three years ago.

Which meant I was staring at my lack of a manicure as I made my way up the hill to the old Craftsman I had grown up in and didn’t notice the two large black SUVs and small gathering of strangers in suits until I nearly ran right into them.

I stopped short, my eyes moving over three men I had never seen before, my Uncle Tyler, my dad’s brother, the twin terrors, and my stepmom — wearing that same maniacal smile.

“Calla June Ashe?” One of the men stepped forward, a sleek tablet in his hand and a serious look in his eyes behind his tortoiseshell glasses.

“Yes,” I answered, confused as to what was happening, but hoping for a split second that maybe a million dollars had been found in a secret account, and these men were here to give it to me and whisk me away to a deserted island where I could drink piña coladas and sit on a beach alone for the next fifty or so years.

“I’m Gil Harsen, here from the GBP at the capital in Frankfort,” he began, walking toward me with the device still in hand.

GBP? Should I know what that it is?

My gaze flitted over the group around us, noticing that my stepsisters were in their Sunday best, consisting of sleek, golden dresses, hair shiny and straight, makeup heavy. My uncle’s eyes were downcast, and he refused to look at me, which made my stomach sink.

“If you’ll take a few moments to look over this document, I’m afraid we are pressed for time.” Mr. Harsen harbored a glance back at Marlene. “We had been delayed as your mother said you had work to finish before you could leave.”

I took the tablet, my eyes combing the information as I muttered, “Stepmother,” correcting his false assertion that the shrew on my left and I were biologically related.

The page I started to study had a lot of legal jargon that seemed impossible to decipher, but there were key words that gave away what the document’s intent was: breeding, mate, and off-world being a few of them.

“What is Khomsa?” I blinked up at Mr. Harsen, and the two other men in suits with a cheap sheen, wearing sunglasses to hide their eyes, bouncing from foot to foot impatiently.

“It’s the planet you and your sisters will be going to,” Mr. Harsen told me and my eyes darted to the twin terrors, gleeful looks on their faces.

“Planet.” I stared at Marlene, her Cheshire smile still in place.

“You’ve been enrolled in the Galactic Breeding Program,” she pronounced, her tone bright and bubbly. “All of you.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Starbucks aficionado, lover of throw blankets and betrayer of all things kale, ML Uberti is a Wayne State University graduate and Metro Detroit author with a predilection for oddities and happy endings. She is mom to three autistic kids, 2 ridiculously stupid dogs and wife of a teacher and musician who has endless patience for her impeccably bad taste in Netflix shows and murder documentaries. She is thrilled to dip her toe into scifi romance from contemporary and hopes you enjoy her big, brooding alien alphas and resilient fairy tale queens.

Lionsblood by Marteeka Karland #paranormalromance #futuristic @marteekakarland

Lionsblood (Box Set) (Lionsblood 5)

Cover Art by Marteeka Karland

In Earth’s brutal, future frozen, humans are no longer at the top of food chain. Paranormals roam the frozen wastes, laying claim to whatever they can defend. Humans are tolerated by some, but not all of the new species.

The most vicious of the new races are the Lionsblood. No one dares defy a Lionsblood. These predators take what they want and never look back. These men are as protective as they are dangerous — especially when it comes to their chosen mates.

Lionsblood (Box Set) contains the previously released novellas LionsbloodLionsmateLionsbane, and Lionsheart.

 

Get it Today at Changeling Press

Use code TGIF03-27-2020 for 15% off your entire order!

Also available in Paperback

 

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Marteeka Karland
Excerpt from Snowbound: Lionsblood

“What?” The familiar masculine growl of her long time friend Klark almost made Marie sob with relief when he answered on the third chime.

“Klark, I’m so sorry to call this late.” She had probably awakened him from his nightly hibernation. Most lionsblood were already deeply asleep by two hours past nightfall. It protected them from the bitter cold that blanketed the northern hemisphere of Earth at night. Not that the temperature was much better during the day. Given the fact that he’d answered at all, he probably hadn’t settled down yet for the night.

“Don’t worry about it. What’s wrong?” He knew her too well. Unless she missed her guess, Klark wouldn’t let her gloss anything over. He’d make her tell him everything before the night was out.

“Nothing’s wrong, I just need a ride home.”

There was a long pause.

“Where are you?”

She took a deep breath. This was the hard part. “Shiffley’s Bar.”

Again, there was silence.

“Do you have the gem I gave you?”

Marie blinked several times, the question catching her off guard. “Yes.” She didn’t dare tell him she’d made it into a necklace she never took off.

“Go to Shiff. Show him the stone. He’ll put you in a safe room. Do not leave that room.”

The link went dead, and Marie cringed. They’d been friends too long for her to hope he’d let this drop. He might not question her tonight, but there would be a grilling, and Klark never stopped until he had all the information he wanted. Not only that, but given Klark’s temper, things didn’t bode well for her tonight.

She did as he instructed and was shown to a tiny room. She sat down on the bed. The one window was laser-proof and tinted, but she could still see the perpetual drifts of snow that blanketed the landscape outside. Shiff, the vampire lionsblood hybrid, kept the room as a haven for humans caught out in the violent night. Not only were the preternaturals and immortals deadly to humans, but the night turned the Earth into a frozen wasteland in excess of 100 degrees below zero in the summer, and 150 below in the winter. The only things keeping humans alive were the underground farms and the few above ground “safe rooms” the hybrids built for their “pets.” This safe room was impenetrable, and impossible to leave unless Shiff allowed it.

When the heavy titanium door burst open, only to slam shut so hard her insides shook, naturally she nearly jumped out of her skin. What a time for him to choose to remind her of the strength of a lionsblood. In this world, the lionsblood were at the top of the food chain.

“Jesus Holy God!” She was at once relieved to see Klark standing there, but her relief was short lived. He looked livid.

About Marteeka Karland

Erotic romance author by night, emergency room tech/clerk by day, Marteeka Karland works really hard to drive everyone in her life completely and totally nuts. She has been creating stories from her warped imagination since she was in the third grade. Her love of writing blossomed throughout her teenage years until it developed into the totally unorthodox and irreverent style her English teachers tried so hard to rid her of.

Marteeka at Changeling Press | Website

 

Kayla’s Hunter (Spaceport) by Anne Kane #scifiromance

Kayla's Hunter (Spaceport Multi-Author 28)

Cover Art by Renee George

 

Hunter is a cyborg working for the military wing of the Interplanetary Alliance, with an obsession he just can’t shake. Four years ago, he met a woman on Rigerion IV and spent the night with her. The sex was incredible. When he woke the next morning she was gone and no matter how hard he looked, he couldn’t find her.

When he discovers that she is the captain of one of the most brazen pirate ships in this quadrant, he makes it his personal goal to track her down and punish her. Problem is, despite her status as one of the most notorious pirates in the galaxy, she was bred to be a submissive sex slave, so punishment just makes her hot! What’s a cyborg to do?

 

Get it TODAY at Changeling Press

or pre-order for February 28th at retailers

   

 

 

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Anne Kane

“Deploy the aft lazar array! Now!” Kayla jerked her body hard to the right, her neural implants signaling the ship to mimic her actions. She felt a grudging respect for the captain of the Intrepid as they narrowly avoided another volley from its photon cannons. This wasn’t the first battle the two ships had engaged in, but if she didn’t catch a lucky break soon, it might be the last.

“The primary engines are overheating! We need to shut them down before they blow.” Aygar, her second-in-command threw her a panicked look as he diverted more coolant to the engines. “They’ve been at redline too long.”

“If we drop to secondary engines, we might as well surrender now.” Kayla tossed her head back to clear the unruly red tresses from her eyes. “We’ll make a run for the asteroid field. If we can slip between the orbiting rubble, the Intrepid will have to break off. They can’t maneuver that big mother of a ship in such close quarters.”

Aygar nodded, his expression grim. He’d never let her down, and Kayla knew he’d do his best to hold the ship together until they reached safety.

For a while, it looked like they might just pull it off. Kayla dared to hope. The asteroid field loomed close. The Intrepid kept up a steady barrage of fire, but with her enhanced reactions, she managed to dodge the more lethal shots.

“There!” She maneuvered the ship between two chunks of space debris, a triumphant grin dying on her lips at the sudden silence. Shit! “Bring the secondary engines online. Now, damn it!”

“Aye, Captain.”

Too late. The Intrepid’s bulk swooped in to block their only escape route.

“Damn. Damn. Damn!” Kayla slammed her fist down on the weapons’ console in front of her, gritting her teeth in frustration. Escape had been so close!

“Sorry, Captain. Those engines should have been replaced, or at least overhauled two standard years ago. I told you they were in rough shape.” Aygar stared glumly at the massive warship on the forward display screen. “Now what are we going to do?”

Kayla closed her eyes, letting out a heavy sigh. It wasn’t his fault. She’d gambled on those engines and lost. “Now we hope Hunter’s in a good mood.”

 

More from Anne Kane at Changeling Press …

Anne Kane lives in the beautiful Okanagan Valley with a bouncy little rescue dog whose breed defies description, a cantankerous Himalayan cat, and too many fish to count. She spent many years trying to fit in and act normal, but finally gave up the effort. She started writing romance in 2008, and her fate was sealed when she won a publishing contract with Red Sage Publishing and just a month later Changeling Press accepted her first submission. Since then she has published more than thirty stories in a variety of sub-genres, all with a happily ever after.

She has two handsome sons and six adorable grandchildren and enjoys spending time with them whenever she can. Her hobbies, when she’s not playing with the characters in her head, include kayaking, hiking, swimming, playing guitar, singing and of course, reading.

 

The Empires of Luxor City by Sasha Hope #LGBTQ #fantasy

The Empires of Luxor City Banner

TheEmpiresofLuxorCity-f500Title:  The Empires of Luxor City

Author: Sasha Hope

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: February 3, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 77400

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, LGBT, futuristic, crime/thriller, family-drama, urban fantasy, alpha/omega, gangsters, criminal underworld, reunited, crossdressing, hurt/comfort

 

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ABOUT THE BOOK

In the aftermath of his father’s funeral, Dom Wesa, the new Alpha of Luxor City’s Central Empire, stumbles upon an Omega in desperate need of help. The Omega, Lin Vasiliev, wakes to find he’s been taken into Dom’s home to be rehabilitated. Dom thinks the young addict may have information about the illicit drug trade going on in his Empire. He gets Lin sober to question him only to discover that Lin is new in town and ignorant of Luxor’s laws.

Dom and Lin are both suspicious of each other at first for their own reasons, but as that wariness wears away a deep attraction develops between them. Dom dotes on Lin, leaving the once stone-broke Omega bathed in finery he never could have imagined. They start planning for Lin’s upcoming heat, when they will be driven together by their kindling bond and strong compatibility as an Alpha and Omega pair. However, in the midst of their swelling romance, Luxor’s most notorious Alpha reappears sparking a gang war that threatens to turn the entire city into a battleground.

The Empires of Luxor City Now Available

 

Excerpt

The Empires of Luxor City

Sasha Hope © 2020

All Rights Reserved

 

There had never been fewer tears shed at a funeral.

It was strange. Crowds had wailed at funerals for worse men, but not a single soul in Luxor City wept for Malik Wesa, a business magnate who’d left behind a wife and two sons. They just stood there, all of them staring straight ahead with cold black eyes as the funeral director rolled the old man’s coffin into the crematory. Visible through a tiny char-stained window, the man who’d once been their leader burned down to ash and bone until there was nothing left of him but dust.

Shaking the image from his mind, Dom Wesa walked out through a wrought-iron fence and left the inner-city funeral home. He buried his hands deep in the pockets of his overcoat and made his way back across the busy city streets toward his office on the east side of town.

A chill rolled off the water near the docks as the year moved into fall. Dom originally drove to the funeral home with the rest of the family, but he couldn’t bear to spend another second with them even if it meant enduring the icy wind.

When a family member dies, all too often they are given a whole new life story. This was a universal truth Dom struggled to wrap his head around. There weren’t any tears at his father’s funeral, but there were enough artificial words of kindness to make him grit his teeth and bite his tongue until his eyes watered.

They all loved to mention how hard things would be for Dom with his father gone; how much weight would now fall on his shoulders.

Dom wanted to laugh. He’d been running this town without his old man’s help for ages. The death of the man he had stopped calling father a long time ago wouldn’t change a thing in his day-to-day life; it just made his position more official. Dom was now the eldest Alpha of the Wesa family, one of the great crime families in Luxor City, the capital of New America.

Decades back, when the government’s power over New America first started to crumble, the gangs of Luxor City went to war, fighting for control over the expansive city’s lucrative ports. As Dom walked through the streets, he passed the remnants of that conflict in the form of bullet holes etched into brick walls that lined the sidewalks and boulevards. Luxor hadn’t always been a haven of prosperity. These wounds were stark reminders that they should not let war tear their city apart again. They’d been preserved during reconstruction.

After years of brutality and gangland warfare, the dust finally settled over the metropolitan battleground. Only three factions were left in a city divided by chaos. They brokered a peace treaty, a deal that divided Luxor into three Empires, each ruled firmly by the Alpha heads of the surviving crime families: Wesa in the Center, Faraji in the North, and Sun in the South.

Dom Wesa was the sole Alpha heir to the Central Empire, a great strip of land stretching from the high-rises along the city’s eastern ports all the way to the cliffs on the western coast. Their portion of city was the smallest, but the Center also included the West Island, the final stretch of green pasture and woodland in Luxor, a place where only the wealthiest families could afford acreage.

Sila Wesa, the family’s Omega matriarch, still maintained an estate there. She would probably return home once the ladder-climbing mourners all left her in peace. As an Omega, she was expected to stay home and mourn her Alpha’s death for at least a year. Dom hated thinking of her returning to that vast hollow estate, but she wouldn’t be alone. She had his younger brother, Atsadi, with her.

Maybe they could be happy there now, but Dom couldn’t stand the place.

He made his way to his portside office, the private sanctuary where he conducted the family business, far removed from his father’s offices across from the luxury hotels and nightclubs downtown. It was an old-fashioned Deco-style building, relatively small compared to Luxor’s expansive high-rises, but taller than the nearby brownstone residences lining the old dock’s edge.

Dom entered through the public hall and took the stairs to his office instead of his private elevator. He couldn’t stand still, not even for a minute, not until he got a drink in him.

His office took up most of the fifth floor. A large window lined the street-facing wall, giving him a view of his docks and businesses as well as the swaying blue horizon of the Pacific Ocean.

Ships pulled in and out, always coming and going. The ports were the center of all business in Luxor. They had been around since the city’s foundation and wrapped around the entire coastline, enclosing Luxor in a circle of docks extending out into the water like a sea urchin’s spikes. It was a well-known fact that he who controlled the ports, controlled the trade, and he who controlled the trade, controlled the city.

Dom was fond of the old portside architecture. He had always been keen on the brutalist, Deco styles of ancient cities. He even decorated his office to match with polished wood and geometric patterns of gold emblazoned on black surfaces.

Inside the familiar space he’d made his own, he poured himself a glass of whisky from a decanter on his side table. He took a good long swig before taking a seat in the plush leather chair behind his mahogany desk.

Sighing heavily, he closed his eyes until a quiet thud on his desk drew them open again.

A thin newssheet folded down the middle sat in the center of his desk. Images flashed across its holographic surface. Dom recognized himself, his brother, and his mother in more than one. Fucking paparazzi.

The Luxor City Times headline read: Death of Malik Wesa leaves Central Empire in hands of son, Dominik.

Dom stared at the paper with a deadpan expression. Unblinking, he took another sip of his drink.

“Somehow I figured you’d be back in the office today.”

Dom’s gaze shifted in the direction of the voice.

His right-hand woman, Isa Saqui, stood over his desk smirking down at him.

Isa had been Dom’s eyes and ears ever since terminal illness took his old man out of power and put Dom in charge. She was an Alpha, a member of the dominant sex, like everyone in his inner circle. Isa stood tall, a muscular and imposing woman with angular bone structure casting dramatic shadows over her olive skin. Her long hair was tied in an intricate brunette braid that fell over one shoulder.

Dom turned away from her and picked up the newssheet. Without giving it another glance, he tossed it back across the desk toward her.

“The headline is hilarious,” he muttered before taking another drink.

Isa chuckled as she snatched the thin device back up.

“Isn’t it?” she said as she examined the article. “I mean, it’s not even news. Your old man hadn’t been running shit for years.”

Dom huffed.

It was true. Even before his father’s illness, Dom had been in charge, but Malik’s stint in the hospital had truly put him in power. In under a year, he’d earned the city’s respect and made vast alterations throughout the Central Empire to counter his father’s ineffective rule. Dom had always been in control; nothing would change now Malik Wesa was gone.

“We shouldn’t speak ill of the dead,” Dom said, smiling around the rim of his glass.

“Then let’s talk business.” Isa grinned like a shark. “Because I haven’t got anything good to say about the old bastard. How was his funeral, by the way?”

Dom simply shrugged in response. “Let’s talk business.”

With another snort of a laugh, Isa pulled out her phone and started going over a list of the day’s imports. The ships had come in on time, and their guys on the docks were already warehousing their “product,” storing it until it could be shipped throughout Luxor.

“So, we finally received those luxury cars we’ve been waiting for, two weeks late, but that’s the Southern trade route for you. Same shipment had a few crates of unprocessed opium—”

Dom cut in with gritted teeth, “Make sure that goes straight to the labs. Apart from heat suppressants, I don’t want to see that shit on my streets.”

“Already done.” Isa hardly even glanced up from her phone. “The independent Omegas of Luxor are already thanking you. You truly are a hero, Dom, providing them with suppressants and saving them from their dreaded heats. Less mating means more working. Off your backs and on your feet. That can be your campaign slogan.”

Dom eyed Isa, trying to gauge her level of sarcasm before gesturing for her to carry on with a short huff of amusement.

“What else?”

“Firearms from the mainland,” Isa said before listing off the models and manufacturers. “About half of this shipment is being sold to the Sun family in the south. They’ve got an underground trade problem on their hands.”

In the south of Luxor City, the Sun family controlled the majority of the city’s ports, but only imported from the Second Continent, across the western seas. This made them an excellent trading partner for Dom whose eastern ports shipped to and from New America. Whenever the Southern Empire wanted products from the New American mainland, Dom was their man, and when he needed Second Continent shipments, he knew just who to ask.

“All right.” Dom stood from his chair, rubbing his hands together. “The agent from the Sun family will want to see the guns before we truck them over. I’ll call—” Dom stopped abruptly when a terse shout erupted from the streets below, loud enough to resonate through the glass window and into his fifth-floor office.

“What the hell was that?” Isa asked with a furrowed brow.

Dom walked over to glare out of the window. They were right above the lobby, so a glance down offered a clear view of the ground below.

Across the street, a young man stumbled along the sidewalk. Even from the distance, Dom could tell there was something off about him. He swayed with each step, unable to keep to a straight line and using one hand to balance himself against the wall of the opposite building to keep from falling over.

He disappeared into an alleyway, followed closely by another man. This much larger man was the one shouting furiously as he marched into the narrow passage after the boy.

Dom turned from the window and grabbed his coat. Without a backward glance, he stormed out of his office.

“Dom? Hey! What the hell was that?” Isa repeated as he passed. She tried calling after him again, but he was already out of the door.

 

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Meet the Author

Sasha Hope is a lover of story, art and design based in Canada. As a writer and an artist, she enjoys having the opportunity to create new characters and build new worlds for readers to explore. Having studied linguistics and a myriad of languages from a young age, she is passionate about including characters of different backgrounds in her work. Whether the setting is fantasy or reality, she believes that a diverse cast with diverse languages and cultures is a wonderful thing.

Crafting stories that embrace MM romance and erotica is her modus operandi. When she is not creating new worlds she is travelling this one looking for inspiration or enjoying her career in the videogame industry.

 

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