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Star Magic (MF)

The Xephon Alliance 7

Siren-BookStrand, Inc.

Heat Rating: STEAMY
Word Count: 37,344
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[BookStrand Futuristic Sci-Fi Older Hero Romance, HEA]

Earthling, Annie Anster, the best alien language interpreter the Xephon-Alliance has, is scheduled on a mission with her old nemesis, the alien commander, Kel-Vyren. He’s continually interfered in her life since she’s known him and she’s terrified he’ll throw her off the mission as soon as he finds out she’s on it. Her agitation rises as soon as they meet and he’s not too pleased to see her either. However a sudden impromptu kiss between them unsettles her further and changes everything. She finally admits to herself she’s always either loathed him or worshipped him over the years.

When they crash land on an alien planet and are pair-bonded by a nomadic tribe, Annie realizes how much he really means to her. But does such a pair-bonding have any credence in the real world when they return home? And how could he possibly want her when he seems to admire the beautiful and exotic Captain Zamara of Xephon so much?

A BookStrand Mainstream Romance

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Her eyes dropped to his partially opened mouth and she regarded the pearly glint of his fangs with open fascination. They seemed to push his lips forward into a contemplative moue. Suddenly, the insane thought of what it might be like to have those lips brush her own bolted through her mind. The idea that he might pick up her moronic thoughts made the blood leach out of her skin as internal panic took hold of her once more.

“Annie?” There was a trace of alarm in his tone. She wasn’t even sure she could remain upright anymore. She felt as weak as a dry, crumbled leaf. He slipped his arm around her back as if he sensed all her strength had evaporated.

“Oh, girl, you really are brewing something unhealthy.” His voice was soft as his breath feathered over her temples, and she leaned on him, hardly able to believe she’d lost her usual composure. His eyes searched her face, as if he could find the answer to her malaise there.

Girl? Is that how he still saw her? A mere child? She blinked up at him and caught a glimpse of her reflection in the metal surround of the overhead lights. Her eyes looked huge, like two giant sapphires, and her face was as pale as a ghost. She looked almost ethereal. No wonder he was concerned. He would think she was gravely ill and toss her off this mission before she could blink.

“I’m okay,” she whispered. Her tongue traced along her dry lips and her gaze shifted back to his. There seemed to be a fire in his eyes for a moment, a flash of gathered energy, and her heart skipped in response to whatever it was. He was so close, she knew he would kiss her. It was inevitable, and her blood fizzed through her veins, heated her skin, and made her feel stranger than she’d ever felt before in her life. She was terribly dizzy and she wondered if it was the same sensation someone experienced moments before they passed out.

His mouth crushed against hers softly, and her eyelids were suddenly too heavy to keep open. Her eyes closed and she swirled away into darkness where there was no more than the wondrous feel of his lips on hers. His mouth moved gently, tasted her in an exploratory and sensual caress that made her toes curl in her shoes and her heart dance behind her ribs. Her hand found his hair at the side of his face and wound up into it, and her fist closed, as if she might hold him against her and make the kiss last forever. He tasted of rain and ice and the polar lands, and he made her tingle from head to toe.

Their tongues touched and she quivered in response to the intimacy, and the arm around her back crushed her tighter against him, as if to steady her. She felt safer than she ever had before in her life. She felt more than safe and sheltered, she felt ecstatic. It was as if she were mildly drunk on her own endorphins as her lips merged with his. She felt the slide of his tongue against hers, warm and soft and seductive and mysterious and draining her resistance to him as effortlessly as she could never have imagined.

Her body, of its own will, leaned deeper into his, and she felt so light, as if she were weightless—perhaps only his embrace kept her anchored in place. She flexed her fingers in the dark silk of his hair and parted her lips further, quite lost in this little alien invasion that made her surrender to him as if she had no mind of her own. She was meek and pliable under his kiss, completely at his mercy. For an alien race that’d only recently learned to kiss, he was remarkably good at it. In fact, she’d never been kissed with such exquisite yet restrained passion before, never been stirred so subtly that her own body responded as if separate from her mind.

She could feel his steely control in the kiss even as she was also  tantalized by the wild and almost dangerous desire she felt he held back. She wondered what it might be like if he let go of that control, if she had the power to smash through that wall and let the tidal wave behind it crash over her, surround her and sweep her away. Would she survive? And, how was it that she reveled in this intimacy with him when deep down she was also horrified? She hated him, didn’t she? And yet, another part of her craved him with an intensity that terrified her, and she knew, as those long moments drowned her so mercilessly, that things would never be the same again. As she reveled in the warmth and softness of his lips over hers, a small moan of pleasure rose up her throat, and as he pulled back, she realized he’d mistaken it for a protest.

“Annie!” His voice was harsh. It roused her from her dream state immediately. She blinked and felt a lick of shame wash over her. “You fool. Stop enticing me with your beauty. I’m hardly a snake you can charm from a basket, woman.”

“An apt comparison,” Annie sneered, stung by his reaction. There was a bitterness to her tone and a small dose of venom to compare with the creature he’d mentioned. How quickly he’d turned the most incredible kiss of her life into something shameful.

With a small spurt of courage, she searched his eyes suddenly and wondered what thoughts gathered behind them, wondered about the man, the alien whom she’d known most of her life and yet right now felt she hardly knew at all. What had possessed him to suddenly kiss her? What had possessed her to let him? She should’ve cracked him over the back of the head with her fist and screamed at him to cut it out.

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