Can a brilliant physician and a brave outcast find happiness while battling
Olarra sacrifices everything to warn Benlon about a Pylorian plot that
threatens his entire species. Their attraction smolders and flares while
they battle the destructive nanobots wreaking havoc inside each lunar
raider. They try to stay focused on the crisis, but bonding fever is
impossible to ignore. The Pylorians sabotage their progress at every turn,
and time is running out!
Note to Readers: This book contains detailed descriptions of sizzling
passion only suitable for mature readers.
Passionate Sci-Fi with a touch of danger and a whole lot of sass.
Cyndi has rock stars, vampires, and cat shifters among her characters, but
she seems happiest writing about alien warriors and their feisty human
mates. Her stories are fun, fast-paced, and seriously hot. Her books have
made the USA Today Top 100, and frequently land on Amazon Best Seller lists.
She is currently working on Lunar Uprising, a new series set in the near
Jewel of the Alien Bandit Sky Robert
(Treasures of Trillume, #1)
Publication date: January 31st 2023
Genres: Adult, Romance, Science Fiction
A jewel to steal. A planet to save. A leader to love?
I’m supposed to be taking rulership of my planet when I find myself sneaking aboard an offworlder’s ship. My clan needs scientists capable of solving Estreldez’s food imports and spawning decline without being enslaved by krelis or necia control.
It’s just my bad luck the last known shol male is a compatible mate, when being with him could jeopardize my entire species. I am a leader, and it is my clan duty to mate for survival… not love. He can’t be mine if I wish to protect my planet from invasion. Mating with a nearly extinct species is reason enough for unscrupulous outlaws to get away with attacking my planet, without breaking any star system codes.
I can’t keep him. He had an obligation to any surviving shol to spawn with his own kind, and I had to mate for political protection of my planet, as the next Almder Leader of Estreldez. It wouldn’t work, but my mating loh react to his touch, and everything in me wants him to be mine.
A sci-fi fated-mates alien romance from Sky Roberts. Jewel of the Alien Bandit is the first of the Treasures of Trillume series. This steamy, page-turning romance between an outlaw alien and the strong female leader that wants him, will have you devouring every morsel towards their HEAFN.
A standalone romance, consensual steamy 18+, and an overarching plot laced between each book. World building sci-fi adventure but with a sexy twist. Strong females, and possessive (but respectful) love interests. For all you alien lovers out there that like vibrating, pulsating extremities, and mates that bond for life. The steamy bare chest should be evidence enough of what you are getting yourself into. You’re welcome.
Sky Robert is a mom of two tiny humans in training, narrates audiobooks for fantasy/sci-fi indie authors, and when she isn’t writing (which is MOST of the time) you can find her consuming copious amounts of coffee, creating podcasts for Blind Indie Novel Dates, BINDER, to promoting indie authors, reading alien smut, fantasy, sci-fi and romance books, chowing down on Indian butter chicken, and when she actually hangs out with people in person, in real life, outside of the internet, (gasps) she’s playing board or card games. All around nerd, lover of the strange, and all things fantastical. Grab your first free Alien Romance Her Alien Exchange by joining her newsletter today! https://dl.bookfunnel.com/f2fwrjww4p
My whole life, I’ve wanted to compete in the Alien Bride Games. So when my name is drawn in the Alien Bride Lottery, I’m ecstatic. With any luck, I’ll get one of the hot, giant aliens I’ve been admiring for ages.
And when I’m kidnapped from Station 21, I’m furious.
Even if my abductor is one of those sexy aliens.
Now I have to figure out why he’s stolen me from the Bride Lottery—and more importantly, how to get back!
Fans of Ruby Dixon, Grace Goodwin, and Laurann Dohner will love this steamy new series featuring gorgeous, bright alien heroes and the sassy human women they choose as mates!
Every book in the Khanavai Warrior Bride Games series is a standalone romance and part of an interconnected series. Join these brides as they find a whole new world of happily ever afters.
Invincible superpowers and nobody to stop him. Will he save the day, or trigger global annihilation?
England, 1989. Arthur Merlin is plagued by restlessness. Ever since he woke up from a head injury with extraordinary abilities, the Vietnam vet has turned the world into his unsuspecting playground as he masters his gifts. Showing off in front of scientists after teleporting to The Institute of Psychic Research in London, he’s intrigued by the red-haired woman who remained unimpressed.
Irresistibly drawn to the feisty doctor who seems to prefer the company of women, Arthur reluctantly plays a part in an MI6 mission to foil a plane hijacking. But determined not to be exploited by any government agency, he transports himself and the beautiful researcher away to an unassuming lake. Yet a mystery he finds lying beneath the still waters makes Arthur’s control over his powers slip… while a hidden threat lurks in the shadows.
Will his hunt for the truth lead to a legendary fate… or his ultimate destruction?
The Secret of Excalibur is the captivating first book in the inventive Excalibur Saga science fiction fantasy series. If you like quirky characters, erotic fun, and surprising twists and turns, then you’ll love Sahara Foley’s snarky paranormal adventure.
I’m Kyra Baxter. Once, I was human—now, I learn it’s all a lie. As the top student at my university and the best intern in Dallas, I thought my life was built in the clouds, and I was on top of the world. But then…it all crashed hard.
A murdered friend.
A secret world.
A mysterious warrior.
It’s safe to say that the life I thought was solid will never rise from the rubble. It’s time to move on, and live the life I was always meant for–what I was born for. Except there are those who want to make sure that never happens. In fact, if I don’t move quickly, the enemy who I’d been hidden from is coming for blood.
Interplanetary agents and smugglers — when they collide, their chemistry will be explosive.
White Russian (Wanted 1): After weeks of lonely space and one breakdown after another, Tiressa just wants a drink to relax while the nebula storm passes. But when she orders a White Russian, he’s not quite what she expects. Undercover so deep only the Supreme Commander of the military knows his mission, Yuri Dubnikov’s situation is bad. Convincing Tiressa he isn’t the villain will definitely take work.
Vodka Shots (Wanted 2): Dmitry is pissed as hell. He was betrayed by a woman he trusted and now she must pay. When finally catches her, her reasons for her betrayal — and her abrupt departure — chill his blood. With secrets and conspiracies at every turn, Dmitry must decide who to trust. The lives of everyone he holds dear may depend on his decisions.
Molotov Cocktail (Wanted 3): Hawk has been baffled by Onyx since they first met. The woman defies all reason. A man can only take so much, and when Onyx defies his orders in the heat of battle, Hawk decides to show her what a fiery explosion a Molotov Cocktail can really ignite.
Tiressa stumbled into the dimly lit holo bar and collapsed into a booth. What a fucking day! Nothing had gone right. Absolutely nothing. Her ship had been grounded at Patmar Station because of a busted beacon lamp. When she finally did get clearance to leave, her power coil blew a ring. Now, the nebula storms had forced her to this back-space junk station with no end in sight. What the fuck else could go wrong? She just wanted to get back to Earth and civilization.
She flagged down the dark-haired waiter, who tried to ignore her. “Look, I’m tired, and all I want to do is get back to Earth. I’m seriously PMSing, and I’ve had absolutely no chocolate or caffeine for the last twenty solar days. Do not make me ask you twice to get your ass over here and get me a drink.”
That changed the little man’s mind. In a hurry.
Tiressa wasn’t a small woman by any means. She stood five-nine and, though lean, carried a fair amount of muscle. She looked like a space marine and had the temper to match, but in reality, she was a glorified delivery girl. Suited her fine. She was the only cargo tech in the whole damned company who hadn’t been jacked at least four or five times. Hell, she hadn’t been jacked even once. The only pirate who’d tried got to sample his own balls.
After that, word got around, and everyone pretty much left her alone.
“What’ll it be?” The lanky waiter might have finally stopped at her table, but it was far from a willing gesture.
“White Russian. Straight up.”
The man stopped in mid-movement as he tapped her order into his tablet. “Did you say, ‘White Russian, straight up’?”
Tiressa had to clench her fists to keep from scratching the poor bastard’s eyes out. “Did I stutter or something, or are you hard of hearing?”
“No, ma’am.” His tone was suddenly respectful, and his body language screamed fear. Finally, something in her tone had made him take her seriously. Maybe this day was getting better. “I just didn’t expect a woman to… err… order… such a… err… drink.” He stammered all over himself, but Tiressa didn’t care. Something in the back of her mind prickled, but she ignored it. If he brought her alcohol, she didn’t really give a fuck.
Instead of replying, she just gave him her best icy stare, and he scurried off. Sitting back with a satisfied smirk, Tiressa crossed her legs and looked around her. The place was practically deserted save for a couple of human attendants and several bots to clean tables. The latest news feeds scrolled along the top of the bar, and holo images of fugitives and criminals danced across the banner. Including the announcement of the capture of Yuri Dubnikov.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
In a dark futuristic Earth, the Triad must take a mate. But their pet has other ideas…
Mating the Triad (The Outcasts 1): Exiled to the Outlands, Mia’s sheer viciousness in defending herself catches the notice of one of the most powerful triads in the Outlands. Not one to simply be taken care of, Mia refuses to be treated as anything other than an equal — even in times of battle. How can she prove to three powerful warriors she’s not only the one for them, but an asset in every aspect of their lives?
The Triad’s Pet (The Outcasts 2): The only reason Arryn’s allowed to continue to live in the village is because of her exceptional talents in both healing and engineering. When danger is deliberately brought into their midst, it’s up to Arryn to direct her men. But how can a pet convince three stubborn warriors to trust in her unique abilities?
Publisher’s Note: The Outcasts Duet contains the previously published novels Mating the Triad and The Triad’s Pet.
“Mia Cook. For the crime of theft from a noble house, your punishment is banishment to the Outlands.” The pious judge looked down at me from his throne. With a sneer, I spat in his general direction, expecting to get backhanded by one of several guards surrounding the dais. When nothing happened, I did it again for good measure. The judges always looked at us lowborns with contempt and superiority. I wanted to do some <em>real</em> lawbreaking. Like ripping off the guy’s nuts. With my teeth.
I didn’t resist when two guards dragged me to the center of the great room where court was held daily. Once an accused had been judged guilty, he or she stood in the ceremonial circle for all to see. Maybe it was me, but it seemed like they were just looking for reasons to banish any lowborns in the city. My crime? I’d stolen a bowl of bread. Granted, it wasn’t just any bowl of bread — it was spoonbread. A Kentucky Outback delight. At least it had been back in the day. Earth hadn’t always been so medieval. There had been a time when whole festivals were dedicated to Kentucky spoonbread. Now, a dish like that was a delicacy, available only to the wealthy. Nobles. It was also my very favorite thing in the whole goddamned city.
Spoonbread is a “wet” bread dish made of cornmeal. You bake it, serve it with real butter, and eat it with a spoon. Like a pudding or custard, only not hardly as moist. In my opinion, the punishment was worth getting to eat the entire bowl — which I had, fighting for the last spoonful after I’d been caught. Especially since it had been a couple of days since I’d had anything to eat. I knew when I stole it what my punishment would be if I were caught. But, honestly, you should try this shit. It’s worth the ordeal.
Which means the damned guards got to parade me through the whole of the middle- and low-born sections. Naked. After my little “spat” with the judge, I doubted I could conjure enough sympathy to get one of them to cover me with a cape until we got to the gate.
“You will be sent forth into the wildness beyond the walls of our hallowed city. Such is the way of all heathens. May the Heavenly Father in all his wisdom give you what you deserve in the Outland where He punishes all heathens.”
As the bastard spoke, the guards stripped the clothing from my body. When my outfit proved too difficult to remove easily, they simply cut the material, throwing everything into a great fire pit next to the circle. There was no way I could simply snag something on the way out to cover myself.
Just to be contrary, I stood proud, refusing to cover myself with my arms. Lifting my chin, I looked into the eyes of the man who’d passed judgment on me. He was old. Like <em>really</em> old. Thin hanks of long gray hair hung all over his head. His look was kind of comical since he was balding in places. If he’d been intelligent, he’d have cut it neatly, or simply shaved the shit off. What hair he had did little to cover the age-spotted skin. I knew my fucking with him was working when a most unbecoming blush splotched his already splotchy skin. Am I a bitch for loving the fact that he was old, ugly, and probably couldn’t get it up long enough to enjoy a woman? Probably a good thing. He was the kind of man to take advantage of his position.
As if he’d heard my thoughts, the judge leaned forward in his chair behind his desk. “The little bitch still has no respect for her betters. Why not show the little thief what she’s in for? Show her what happens to thieves who don’t learn their place.” An evil smile should have graced his less-than-perfect features, but, of course, the little bastard kept his pious expression firmly intact. How he managed that when he’d just ordered his guards to rape me was beyond my understanding.
“I will kill you,” I bit out.
He sat back, a small smile on his face. “I imagine you will. At least, in your dreams, between bouts of torture.”
One of the guards sneered, looking as if he’d been hoping for this development. A second guard muscled his way around the first one, growling a little. He was the clear Alpha there. No one challenged him as he took his place next to me, gripping my upper arm tightly. Obviously, he intended to be the one to carry out my extra punishment.
He was thickly muscled and stood over a head taller than me. His battle-scarred face seemed to match his body, if his heavily muscled arms were any indications. Scars crisscrossed his skin as if he had taken many blows. By not covering them as most men did, he signaled he was proud of his badges of honor. None in the guard challenged him. At present anyway.
As the guy pulled me closer to him, he whispered, “I’ll make this pleasurable for you if you’ll not fight. If you do, one of the others will challenge me. If they manage to take you, they won’t even try to be gentle, let alone give you pleasure.”
“So it’s either fight and get hurt or submit and not get hurt. Either way, I’m fucked. Literally.”
He fisted my hair, tilting my head back so I had to look up at him, then whispered for my ears alone even as he bared his teeth menacingly. His actions and expressions seemed more for the surrounding crowd — and the judge — than anything else. Despite the rough handling, he didn’t really hurt me. “You’re strong. You fought well when they took you. If I hadn’t been there, you might even have escaped.”
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.
This book is two short stories with one thing in common—the stars in space shine brightly, whether you’re on planet or soaring on a ship.
Cole’s star is rising like a rocket as his band tours the galaxies to sing to their adoring fans. Except, Cole’s real job isn’t lead vocals—it’s espionage.
Tarle’s star fell long ago after a horrific accident during a mecha showcase event for his new robot. Then he meets Aster, a porn star on the run. Hiding away together is far more appealing than being alone, but no one can hide forever.
“They’re definitely building something dangerous,” J said to begin the meeting as he walked into the spacious, albeit bland, room. There weren’t any windows, and the only ornamentation on the white walls was from the holoprojector across the room. He faced a long table with six chairs around it. All six were filled with stone-faced men and women who turned toward J when he stopped walking at the head of the table.
J touched the control panel for the holoscreen to turn the machine on and pointed out the building construction clearly visible from the spy satellite holograph that appeared seconds later.
“Planets have new construction all the time,” P cut in as she pushed her glasses higher up her nose. “With growing populations it’s inevitable, and planet 501b is certainly growing.”
“Look here,” J said as he pointed to the upper right-hand corner of the three-dimensional picture. The projector obligingly zoomed in to the location.
“Ah,” P murmured as she sank back into her seat. “Building a crono-generator is another thing entirely. But what could it be for? They’ve never been a particularly peaceful people,” she said, referencing 501b’s penchant for starting wars over the merest of slights, “but they’ve never been crazy enough to build a crono-bomb before. That could create a black hole large enough to engulf an entire galaxy!”
“How long have you had this picture?” Y asked slowly while he carefully studied the crono-generator.
J sighed. “Long enough that officials on 501b have already captured and executed six of our spies during their investigations of this issue. That’s why this task force was called to meet today. We need to find a way to infiltrate 501b to figure out if they have any plans to attack.”
“They did threaten the galaxy president two months ago in response to the president’s comments against their most recent war,” P mused.
“It’s more dire than just that,” Y said in his slow and contemplative voice. “As you all know, 501b is not actually a planet. Planet 501 was uninhabitable; only its second moon, known by the locals as Kamura, could sustain human life.”
“Moon settlements are always in desperate need of water resources.” P gasped as the full picture finally came clear for her.
“Exactly,” J cut in. “Our planet, 214, also known as Lacustrine, is almost entirely comprised of freshwater lakes, which 501b dearly needs, and our intelligence says they’re interested in acquiring. I’m afraid they don’t have any qualms about what methods they use either. So, the question remains: How do we infiltrate Kamura in order to find more information and, if necessary, destroy their crono-generator before they’re capable of building the bomb?”
P’s phone went off, a pop song currently topping the charts sounding into the worried and contemplative silence left after that final statement. One frequency was all that could reach through the protections built into the meeting room, and P’s phone only went off in an emergency anyway, so no one begrudged her the time she took to walk into the corner and answer her phone.
She didn’t turn on the holograph card to speak face-to-face, which was no surprise considering the nature of her clients, and everyone in the room tried not to listen in when she murmured into the phone. They all had something much more important to think about anyway: the answer to J’s question.
After a few seconds, P returned to her seat. J looked around at the assemblage, waiting for someone to finally say something.
L slowly tapped her finger on the table, and everyone’s attention turned to the elderly woman. L didn’t speak often, but when she did, they listened. This time was no different.
“We must use an unconventional means to sneak our spy in, and I do believe P’s impromptu phone call has given me an interesting idea. Popular music stars are welcomed across all galaxies. Often, they are begged to hold a performance on various worlds. We should put together a band, make them famous, and arrange for them to travel to 501b.”
J joined the others in giving L perplexed looks, but a smile slowly began to grow across his face. The idea was extremely farfetched, yet the very thought of how crazy a plan L had come up with decided him. If he didn’t think the idea viable, then how could anyone on 501b have plans to prevent it?
“That…” He paused to savor the idea a little further. “That is the most perfect plan I have ever heard.” He turned to the other members of the council. “What do we need to do to accomplish this?”
“A band, first of all,” P murmured. “That means at the very least a singer, a guitar player, a bass player, and a drummer if we want something conventional.”
“They’ll need a hit song,” Y added. “And a full album.”
“And good publicity,” P agreed. “I can get them a spot on the Morning Mumble, which will put them into the limelight, but the band has to be capable of proving their abilities, or they’ll go nowhere afterward.”
“So first we need a band,” J stated. “Any suggestions on who we could hire? We need people with musical talent, so we may have to go outside our regular recruits for this one.”
P nodded immediately. “The Star Slashers recently broke up and their drummer is pretty good. He also played for the Black-Hole Surfers,” she added when she received only blank looks. The Star Slashers had never been destined for greatness, but the Black-Hole Surfers had been legendary up until their singer and lead guitarist had overdosed on poorly cut and excessively laced Star Shine and the band dissolved. “His name is Kingsley,” she finished with a smile, “and he’s from this galaxy, so he’d probably be willing to work with us.”
J hummed thoughtfully. “We’ll start background checks on this Kingsley. Any other suggestions?”
L leaned forward with a groan. “I have a grandchild who promised me he would become a rock god by the time he turns thirty,” she said with quite a bit of exasperation in her voice. Her son worked for the agency, and she evidently expected her grandchild to do so as well. That didn’t seem to be in her grandson’s plans. “Solomon plays guitar and his mother tells me he’s quite good. I suppose if the ambition is present, we could give him this opportunity.”
“We have guitar and drums,” J said. “Any suggestions for the other roles? Can you think of any trained recruits we could call in to take the major roles in this operation?”
“It’s not a suggestion,” P cut in, “but we have to find a singer who is pitch-perfect without modifications or he won’t make it. We can’t just pull anyone from our basic training program and implant electronic vocal cords.”
“This is going to be an interesting search, then,” J said with a sigh. Not only did they need a band, but they also needed to find someone who could infiltrate the secret facilities on 501b without getting caught. It wasn’t going to be easy.
The meeting broke up soon afterward. P was the first person to rush out, her phone in hand. Whatever emergency she’d been called about must have been important. Considering P’s clients…well, J hoped there wasn’t a galaxy about to implode somewhere.
Z was J’s colleague from the same agency. He hadn’t spoken during the meeting, but Z was notorious for pulling J aside later to voice his thoughts. J wasn’t surprised when Z joined him in his walk down the empty hallways of the building.
“I might have an idea for a bass player,” Z murmured in his usual half-audible tone. “She’s a spitfire though. Barely passed her basic training before she quit, so I’ve no idea if the girl would like the idea, or if she’s what we want for this mission.”
“Submit her name and have a background check run,” J replied. “We’ll find some way to convince her and…” He paused, his head cocked to the side. One hand flashed upward to grip Z’s arm. “Do you hear that?” he asked excitedly.
Z tilted his head to listen and slowly nodded. “It’s probably a radio someone left on.” He sighed. “But it won’t hurt to go see.”
They both turned the corner, following the sound of someone singing. The door to the men’s locker room was left partially ajar, and J pushed it open the rest of the way so he and Z could walk into the space. J expected to see a holodisk left on inside one of the recruits’ lockers, so he was surprised when a young man, fresh from the showers with his back to J and Z, had his head tilted back and his mouth wide open as he sang.
His tone was pure and clean—perfect.
He was drying his brown hair with a towel, his eyelids closed. His naked back was thin but well sculpted, although the loose pants he wore hid his lower body from J’s perusal. A pair of old-fashioned Coke-bottle glasses sat on the bench next to him.
There were two gyms attached to the locker room, one for the regular staff and one for the special recruits. This far into after-hours, only the special recruits had access. Whoever the man was, he piqued J’s interest.
J glanced over at Z and saw that Z was just as mesmerized by the beautiful singing. Z finally glanced back over and nodded. Whoever the recruit was, he was about to be given a new mission.
The singing stopped as the young man finally finished drying his hair. He put his towel down and patted his hand across the bench until he found his glasses. Then he turned around to find his shirt and jumped when he caught sight of J and Z.
“Sorry,” the young man said, his face rapidly going red as he ducked his head. He got to his feet in a hurry, finding parade rest with his feet even though he was staring at the ground instead of facing straight forward.
“Not at all,” J replied. He stepped closer to the recruit, studying him closely for a long moment, which only made his face grow even redder. “What are your vitals, recruit?” J finally asked.
“Name: Cole! Just finished basic training two days ago, sir!” Cole said sharply, even though he still wouldn’t look J directly in the face. He had been trained well, if not perfectly. “I haven’t been assigned to a vector yet, sir.”
J glanced over at Z after that admission. Normally recruits knew their vector location a good few months before the end of their training. He was also still using his full name rather than a code name, which he would have been given as part of his first vector assignment. Z nodded discreetly. He would start a background check on Cole to figure out what had prevented normal procedure in his case.
“Thank you, Cole,” J said with a dismissive nod. “We’ll be in touch.”
J and Z walked off, leaving behind the man who was to become their lead singer.
When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.
Dreams are magical. They make anything possible-passion, alternate worlds, even the death of empires.
Can love bloom where deadly danger rules?
After the attack on her home and family, Faerie witch Lady Carlyle is taken in by the gallant Captain Justin Quin. Together they investigate the sacrificial murder of a scientist connected to the defense of the British empire.
With the assistance of Dr. Keane, demon witch, Lady Julia Molyneux furthers her bloody attempts at redemption, while Lord Lucian Carlyle continues his obsessive quest to visit alternate worlds. At risk is the centre of empire, the teeming metropolis of London itself, where the innocent will pay with their souls the price of unbridled ambition.
The border between pleasure and pain, it has been said, is hair thin, and one woman’s titillation is another man’s torment.
The man in question lay naked on the vast mahogany desk and whimpered in a most piteous manner. Like a wounded animal his nostrils flared with each fearful breath, though I believe his reaction to be premature, his ordeal had not yet begun. Spittle and white flecks of foam coated the gag that stretched across his jaw, and glistening tears leaked from his sad grey eyes. His struggles against the ropes that bound his hands and feet to the desk’s stout legs had weakened, but not before breaking the skin at his wrists and ankles. Crimson globules trickled rhythmically to the carpet keeping time with the fellow’s accelerated pulse. The metallic stench tickled my nostrils and tingled at the back of my throat. I licked my lips in perverted anticipation, tasting his fear.
The man, Dr. Ramsay Warren of Harley Street, catered to the highest echelons of society including the Queen herself. I easily understood why, for he was a fine specimen of masculinity. Clearly a sportsman, trim and muscled, his clean-shaven face tanned, his calves and thighs strong and well defined, his hips narrow and his stomach banded by muscle. Had I been so inclined, and if circumstances had been different, he might have proved an interesting bed partner. Unfortunately his current predicament did not allow him the opportunity to display his manly attributes to their best advantage. Indeed, the pink head of his manhood, terrified into timidity, peeked shyly from the thick thatch of black curly hair. Out of curiosity I stroked the wrinkled worm, and in response it retracted even further into itself, and all but disappeared.
I tut-tutted with disappointment and Dr. Warren’s pathetic whine became a hopeless drawn-out moan. Gone now was his arrogant challenge when first we entered his laboratory, the bluster of his deep imperial voice now a distant memory. Beside me, Dr. Ernest Neale, my partner in this appalling deed, recited the litany of the man’s crimes in a voice pitched unnaturally high betraying his own elevated state of arousal. This was his first sacrifice, and the zealous manner in which he embraced the ritual surprised me exceedingly. His usual demeanour, when fulfilling his role as alienist attending to the mental hurts of his patients, was one of calm and seemingly infinite patience, yet now the bulging eyes, the tight set of the jaw, and the saliva collecting at the corner of his mouth as he addressed our victim suggested a passion I’d not hitherto suspected.
“You bring deep and irredeemable shame to our profession,” he continued, his voice bordering on the hysterical. “You sir, are a venal swine!”
“Calm yourself, Ernest,” I whispered in his ear. His Christian name sounded unnatural. For months he had been wise Dr. Neale, the font of self-knowledge, who had provided me a measure of solace I’d not thought possible. Our recent intimacy had created a certain awkwardness in my mind.
He glanced at me and held my gaze for a long moment before giving me a slight embarrassed nod. He took a deep breath and shifted his eyes to look at Dr. Warren again as he continued in a more measured and slightly less feverish voice. “You willingly used your authority to commit six sane women to mental asylums so their husbands could access their fortunes. These women subsequently died after years of unspeakable degradation and neglect.”
Despicable indeed. Though to be honest I did not care about the man’s crimes. I had needed someone of importance in this world to sacrifice to my demon goddess. Tana was displeased with me, and I strove to mollify her. I’d meddled in the machinations of Sir Myles Stafford whose harassment of Lady Carlyle and her family had drawn in my dear Justin. I could not suffer him being hurt, so I’d asserted myself on her behalf. Tana, an ancient and single-minded demon, demanded her witches to deliver unto her souls sweetened by pain and fear. It was at Dr. Neale’s urgings, and my need to take a half-step in the direction of redemption, that I now offer up evil people rather than the innocents I’d sacrificed in the past.
Ernest’s recitation continued. Dr. Ramsay Warren, a relation by marriage as well as close friend of the Foreign Secretary, continued to wriggle uselessly within his bindings. At this point I’d have preferred him drugged and comatose, but Dr. Neale, Ernest, had insisted on him understanding why he was to die. It was a pointless exercise; the knowledge would serve no purpose. In the shadows at the corner of my vision Tana herself lurked, a huge warlike wraith. She’d responded to my summoning spell and waited impatiently to breathe in the man’s soul as it left his quivering body at the moment of mortal climax.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aussie Mikala Ash used to be a mild-mannered training & development consultant by day, and a wild sci-fi and paranormal adventure writer by night. Now she is a brazen full-time writer and nature photographer who is concentrating on having among other things, “… bags, and bags of fun!” Mikala can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.
While accompanying his leader on a mission, Odium, an E Model cyborg, hears a distress call over the communication lines. The voice on that message makes his circuits surge with energy and all his systems light up. He has to respond to the mysterious female, would risk his lifespan and the lifespans of everyone on board their ship to protect her.
A Human Female Others Call Beast
Briella gained her nickname due to her flying abilities, her fearlessness, and her scarred countenance. Her verbal-only relationship with the sexy cyborg who answers her distress call is a steamy yet short-lived fantasy. His kind is physically perfect, and she is…not. He will uncover that truth when…if they survive the attack upon her freighter.
Provoking Odium is a STANDALONE Cyborg SciFi Romance set in a dark, gritty, sometimes-violent universe.
It features a human female intent on remaining mysterious, a cyborg warrior determined to uncover her identity, and an enemy seeking to destroy them both before they have the opportunity to meet.
Briella should leave now, before Mohini and Odium met. Seeing the two of them together would tear her soul apart.
But then the doors opened, and the toes of two huge black boots became visible.
She lifted her gaze and her breath caught. That footwear was attached to an equally large male.
Odium was built like the warrior he was. The body armor barely contained his muscular form. Well-maintained weapons decorated the garment. His stance was strong. His hips were narrow. His shoulders were wide.
Desire hit Briella like a missile, almost knocking her over.
She’d researched E Models, had seen some of his kind on Mercury Minor, and she believed she knew what to expect.
But her overly active imagination had fallen far short of envisioning Odium. His hair was the blackest black. His skin was gray. Not one scar marred his countenance. His eyes were dark.
His face. Stars. His face.
All the cyborgs she’d met had been handsome. Odium, however, was Mohini-levels of beautiful. He was that exquisite female’s physical match.
Briella’s desolation escalated. She took a step backward.
Odium’s nostrils flared. He turned his head, gazed directly at her.
She froze in place. That was impossible. There were hundreds of beings stationed between them. He must merely be looking in her direction.
Seeking to test that theory, she shifted to the right.
His gaze tracked her.
Her warrior had somehow located her in the crowd.
Briella’s palms dampened. Her stomach knotted.
Others sought to speak to Odium. He didn’t look at those beings. His focus was on her.
It was heady, exciting, worrisome. She brushed her fingers over her goggles. They were in place, so her eyes were hidden.
He saw her scars. Those couldn’t be concealed.
But he couldn’t view the worst of her disfigurements, the part of her that had evoked fear and hatred in her kind, that made the toughest of warriors avoid her.
She could endure his perusal, could stand her ground and—
Mohini approached Odium.
His gaze flicked toward the female.
Her friend was impossible for any male to ignore. And her cyborg was certainly a male. He vibrated with vitality, with power.
Briella wanted him with every cell in her body.
Mohini appeared as enthralled with Odium. Her eyes glowed with interest. Her lips moved. Her friend’s words were too softly spoken for Briella to hear.
But she could imagine what was being said, and every flirtatious comment, every glance, every movement was a dagger stuck deep into her face. The pain, the torment lashed her again and again.
It was unbearable. Panic filled her. She couldn’t do this, couldn’t stand by passively and watch her friend seduce the male she wanted. That was beyond her capabilities.
She turned away from them and ran.
For updates on characters and for very bad jokes, sign up for Cynthia’s monthly newsletter at http://cynthiasax.com
USA Today Bestselling author Cynthia Sax is currently writing cyborg and alien romances with high heat levels. These stories are set in a shared dark, gritty, sometimes violent world. There is always a romantic happy ending between the main characters and this happy ending is FOREVER. But everyone else is in danger.
Her stories have been featured in Star Magazine, Real Time With Bill Maher, and numerous best of… top ten lists.
She loves writing fated to mate or instalove romances as this is her personal experience with love. She fell in love with her Dear Wonderful Hubby at first sight and 25 plus years later, they’re still very much in love. This is what she wishes for her characters and for her readers.
Nobody leaves Queen. On the tidally locked planet, a vulva and an authority problem are the only immigration requirements. Emigration is banned.
Ember spends her days cruising Queen’s endless sand dunes, hunting sand pirates and wallowing in memories of her dead wife. After an ambush, Ember is dragged to the pirate camp and learns her wife’s biggest secret—before her death, she’d joined the pirates, built an illegal spaceship, and plotted to leave the planet.
Ember, Nadia, and the sand pirates must take back the planet and expose the corrupt New Earth mining. Taming giant beetles, wrestling stinkhorn fungi, and enlisting Queen’s rabbit population in a high-stakes aerial battle are just part of the hijinks that will determine Queen’s fate as a galactic player, as well as the futures of all its conscripted inhabitants.
The newly minted outlaws must also grapple with Queen’s narrow concept of “womanhood” and where trans and intersex people belong in its future.
Mornings on Queen always looked like blood. Ember stood at the edge of the habitable zone of the tidally locked planetoid. She scanned the crimson and rust horizon all the way to the perpetual sunrise. Her wife’s body was out here somewhere, buried in the coarse red sand. Desiccated, mummified, likely stripped naked by the roaming packs of sand pirates Ember was out here to track.
Well… Track. Kill. The line was blurry when it involved a spouse, and it wasn’t like the presidium—the administrative body of Queen—really cared one way or the other. Ember had cared, once, but she was on day seventeen of perimeter duty, and her whole plan of dealing with Taraniel’s death by shooting grave robbers was starting to look a little thin.
A rabbit shot across her field of vision, registering in a halo of blue inside the face shield of her envirosuit. TOPA—the suit’s AI—scrolled data across the screen, but Ember ignored it. Without thinking, she yanked one of the wide, flat stones from her exterior right thigh pocket (they were supposed to keep her calm, according to Nadia) and threw it at the flash of white, fluffy tail with precision honed from years of dealing with Queen’s nuisance rabbit population.
The rabbit’s hind legs skittered out from beneath it as it slipped on the sand. Ember wrapped her fingers around another stone, preparing to hit the head this time, when the damn thing started digging with its front feet, sand funneling around it, so that Ember lost her clean shot.
She stepped forward, grinding her teeth with an adrenaline surge that would again see no release if the little shit got away. She wiped sand from her face shield with a gloved hand, smearing red across her vision.
The area where the rabbit had dug settled flat with a slight pock. Tiny fans on the outside of Ember’s face shield blew the particulate from her vision.
The rabbit was gone and her stone along with it.
Ember cursed, the words bouncing around the inside of her rabbit-hide envirosuit, wasted on recycled air and a generic TOPA. Queen didn’t have stones like that—perfect for skipping over lakes that didn’t exist on the barren planetoid. Those she carried in her pocket were some of her last reminders of Earth. And the rabbit… Ember knelt at the soft indent in the sand. It’d descended into one of Queen’s giant beetle galleries. Of course, it had.
TOPA pinged as she reached a gloved hand into the depression. Ember debated the possibility of Queen’s native beetles—approximately the height of a small school bus and twice the length—grabbing her wrist and pulling her down in pulp-era sci-fi fashion. She dismissed the idea. If beetles hadn’t accosted her yet at this site, it meant the gallery was abandoned and being used by the feral European domestic rabbit population. They’d been brought over as food stock on the colony ships. Some had escaped. Big surprise.
Please read your notes, scrolled across the interior of Ember’s face shield, in lettering so large it blocked most of the landscape from view.
“The rabbit got away. I was stupid for throwing a rock that can’t be replaced. I wasted oxygen on the exertion. That about cover it?”
TOPA didn’t respond directly, but it did fire up a series of reports.
Landmass stability: within ten meters radius: moderate.
Sand for at least three meters below the surface with scattered hollow tunnels reinforced with clay from the temperate zone. Sand transitioning to silt loam noted in geographic surveys, with increasing occurrence toward the colony dome.
Silica content of the air: unbreathable.
UV index: ten point five.
Ember snorted. That did explain the suit smell.
She balled her hands as tightly as she could in the double-layered leather of her gloves wishing, not for the first time that day, that Gore-Tex was still a thing. Leather didn’t breathe, though both the buffer and the electrical linings of the suit were supposed to. Nothing from Earth breathed outside the habitable zone, and as much as the filters of her suit tried, they couldn’t filter out the smell of human, slowly marinating in her own sweat.
Awaiting input. Continue scan?
“Yeah. Sure. Why not?”
Ember stood, swallowing the dry air the suit pushed at her. The AI had a newly installed personality patch, but Ember would need to get a lot more bored before she turned it on. Instead, she pivoted on her right foot, keeping level with as much of the horizon as she could see, and let the suit feed data into the AI. Dunes and small valleys surrounded her, and TOPA disassembled each for content.
Suggest moving 1.7 chains northeast for better visibility.
“Picturesque view?” Ember asked TOPA. Maybe a body?
The red dunes faded into a semitransparent image of her sister, Nadia, displayed on the interior of the face shield. Ember clicked her right canines together to increase volume. The winds were too fierce outside the colony dome to hear much of anything without enhancement, even when the sound came from inside the suit. That wind was the same reason the damn rabbits tended to stay in the beetle galleries. Wind screwed with everything out here.
Nadia’s transmission showed her just outside the dome, her image picked up by one of her suit’s sleeve cameras. Sand licked her calves. Her goggles were up but her face shield down, and red soil caked her envirosuit. The only parts of her skin visible were her lips, chapped but grinning as she tapped the front of her shield and instructions scrolled across the inside of Ember’s own face shield. At the bottom of the message was a clear add-on from Nadia.
Your sentry duties now extend to Outpost Eight. Leave immediately.
Hope you enjoy the sand. I’ll make you dune-nuts when you get home. Extra sprinkles. Served on a tablecloth of rabbit hide since you love the little shits so much.
Ember read the short message and scowled—a facial contortion Nadia would see in detail from the camera inside Ember’s suit. Puns and throwaway comments about the excess rabbit population had no place on an official director request. If Nadia was willing to deface government messages, it meant she was worried. But she wouldn’t say she was worried because, historically, the sisters’ ability to communicate was right around “bug and speeding windshield.”
“Leave for Outpost Eight? I’m supposed to be here for another three days.” Ember cinched her mouth into a caricature of a frown. “TOPA will be heartbroken. It hasn’t cataloged every dune within a one hundred-chain radius.”
“There’s been a change. Director Narkhirunkanok thinks the mella pirates are going to hit one of our storage units, the one where we keep sticking all the glassware we probably don’t need but can’t get rid of. We need a sentry. You’re the closest.” The wind whipped her words away, but the auditory sensors on Nadia’s suit caught them anyway.
This time, Ember did frown. It was one thing to watch for the mella and daydream about shooting one so you could avenge your wife, who didn’t actually need avenging because she’d been about to die from cancer and had chosen to walk into a sand dune. Chasing the mella to one of their targets, even if only to spy on them, so they could shoot you, was something entirely different. She didn’t have a death wish, just a need to see her wife’s body and maybe punch someone.
J.S. Fields is a scientist who has perhaps spent too much time around organic solvents. They enjoy roller derby, woodturning, making chain mail by hand, and cultivating fungi in the backs of minivans. Nonbinary, and always up for a Twitter chat.