TOP PICK, 5 STARS "SURRENDER by Sarah Marsh is a science fiction romance that will leave you wishing for more. When we meet Sally Owens, she's just waking up from what she thinks is a "hangover to end all hangovers". As the story begins, she's replaying the events of the night before in her head. Except that she can't remember parts of the night and oh yea, she isn't on earth anymore. Sally and her best friend, Evie, were kidnapped by an intergalactic slave trader, but they were rescued before anything bad could happen. The bad news is that they can't go home again. The good news is that there are delicious looking men who are more than happy to fill their lives with pleasure. When Sally is given the option to choose her future career, she chooses the Courtesan Guild and her training begins under the helpful tutelage of Arkenon, the guild master. This story was grand fun and I thoroughly enjoyed Sally's struggles as she learned to let go, trust others and be honest with herself. And the way Arkenon goes about teaching her will leave you breathless for more. Lovers of sci fi erotica will enjoy this heady blending of the two genres into a well-told story that will have you wishing for more." -- Gabrielle Sally, The Romance Reviews
Sally made her way down the hall to the great room and quickly noticed that she seemed to be the last one to join. Most were speaking quietly in small groups, and a few were talking with the alien women that had rejoined them. The hyper little woman with the pink hair from earlier, however, seemed to be waiting for Sally to emerge because as soon as she spotted her, she jumped up and rushed toward her in an excited waggle that reminded Sally of a crazed squirrel looking for a place to stash her nuts.
“Hi, Sally!” the vibrating dynamo squeaked out. “So did you figure out what you’re going to do? I’m going to study marine biology! I’m so excited I could almost burst. I’ve always wanted to go to university but could never afford it back home. Isn’t this just the greatest thing that could ever happen?”
It was all Sally could do to not laugh outright at how excited the odd little woman was. Devyn was literally out of breath and panting when she finally stopped talking. The little dynamo obviously should be medicated or something to bring down the ‘perk,’ but what she’d said did make Sally think about what was happening. Was this the greatest thing that could’ve happened? Obviously not. But was it the worst thing that could’ve happened to her? Sally had to take a hard look at her life as a whole. She wasn’t really leaving anything behind on Earth, no job, no family, no pet even. The only real friend that she had was Evie and she would be here with her, so there was nothing to do but adapt to her new situation as best she could. That was one thing life had taught her, you adapt or you get left behind.
“Yeah, that sounds great, Devyn. I’ve applied to enter the courtesan guild here on Sirus, so I hope it works out,” she answered, sounding much less enthusiastic than her neighbor.
“Oh.” Devyn’s eyes grew impossibly larger at that information. “That sounds exciting. I heard that the Sirotians have some sort of mind-control abilities. Guess that’s why they’re supposed to be the best at seducing people, huh? I wonder if they can teach you that?”
That was news to Sally. But she had to assume in this situation that she was no longer the smartest person in the room when it came to learning about all these alien species. Good thing they were teaching classes! But one of Sally’s hard, fast rules in life was, even if you don’t know exactly what’s going on, fake it till you make it. Uncertainty was a show of weakness that Sally had learned from a young age that she couldn’t indulge in. Predators always went for the weak or confused in the herd, and Sally wouldn’t ever be prey again.
“Well, Devyn, in my experience, as long as a man has a penis, he’s generally not that hard to seduce,” she answered with a liberal amount of sarcasm loud enough that a few of the other groups of women were chuckling when they heard her comment.
“Ladies! Please take a seat, and we will begin with your cultural and etiquette lessons. Now, there is a large amount of information to absorb, so you will be taking these classes daily for the time that you are with us, along with the curriculum for whichever career path you have chosen,” Lady Samal said as she casually went to the front of the room. It was obvious from her demeanor and grace that she had a lot of experience with speaking in front of groups.
As the rest of the women found comfortable seats on the low couches, Sally saw Caric come back into the room and speak in a low tone to the older woman. Sally couldn’t hear what was said, but clearly, whatever it was surprised Lady Samal from the look on her face. Then, when both women immediately turned to look speculatively right at her, Sally assumed Caric had just informed Lady Samal about her career choice. She couldn’t understand why it was such a big deal, but if Lady Samal was involved in the guild of her choice, she had better turn the charm on right now instead of waiting for her interview. Better safe than sorry, right?
Sally immediately put on her game face, ready to dazzle and distract with charm and charisma. Never frown. Never let them see what you’re really thinking or feeling. After all, when you put on a show, people rarely look deeper than the façade that you easily offer up. Sally could only hope that it wasn’t only human nature that adhered to the “out of sight, out of mind” adage. So with her empty bucket filled with bravado and bullshit, Sally smiled brightly, volunteered to help with any demonstrations, and absorbed as much information as she possibly could for the rest of the afternoon. As the women walked back to their rooms after their dinner meal, Sal’s face actually hurt from smiling so much. She couldn’t wait to get into her room and close the door so she could actually breathe. It was exhausting being someone else all the time. For a fleeting moment, Sally couldn’t help but wonder if this new world might be an opportunity to try to be herself for a change, but almost before the thought was done, it was replaced by all of the cruelty and disappointment that had littered her childhood. No, she couldn’t take that risk again.
“Are you cold, love?” he said in a low whisper as he ran the back of his fingers lightly up her arm, leaving goose bumps in their wake.
Sally had learned in one of her classes that Sirotians had a type of pheromone control that was frequently used in their seductions. Initially she’d disregarded the possible effects, thinking that she had superior self-control and it wouldn’t affect her, but as Arkenon’s warm, spicy scent became stronger and stronger, all she wanted to do was roll around in it…and on him. So much for her super self-control. Her policy of lying to everyone, including herself, was once again coming back to bite her in the ass.
“Hmm, yeah…cold. I am a little cold now that you mention it,” she answered, unable to stop the shiver that rolled down her body and settled firmly in her now-very-wet pussy.
“You can lie to us both, little one, but I can smell your desire,” he answered with a throaty low laugh. “If I were to run my hand up your thigh right now under this beautiful dress, I know I would find your pretty little pussy dripping with honey just for me.”
Sally’s legs almost buckled as she imagined him doing just that and then pushing her up against the elevator wall and fucking her hard and fast. She knew that when the doors opened and Benic stood there taking in the scene before him that she hadn’t come anywhere close to masking the look of desire on her face. Damn it! She needed to come so badly Sally was starting to shake with the lust that was overtaking her. She assumed that this overwhelming feeling could only mean that Arkenon was cheating and using his Sirotian pheromone mumbo jumbo on her, freaking cheater. But as she turned her head and saw his heavy-lidded look and felt his massive erection straining against her thigh, she thought that perhaps he was turned on enough that he’d forget their terms and just fuck her already. Might as well try, right? After all, he was still a man, and most of the men she had experience with would cut just about any corner when it came to getting a little action. Now it was time to see if she could give his self-control the little shove it needed.
“Why don’t you see for yourself then, sir?” Sally asked in a low, raspy tone as she widened her stance, inviting him to do just that.
She tried not to look away from Arkenon’s face as he slowly backed her out of the elevator and up against a wall in the foyer, but out of the corner of her eye, she could see Benic raise an eyebrow at her taunt, then smile and shake his head as he came closer to them.
Arkenon wasn’t surprised that Sally was trying to tempt him into losing control of the situation. It was a tactical move that he’d assumed she’d mastered throughout her previous relationship history with submissive males. But he couldn’t say that he didn’t have a stronger reaction than he’d expected, making him want to dominate her even more. He had a plan, however, and he was sticking to it, and it started with Sally not keeping any secrets from him.
He pushed her back against the wall and slowly pushed her arms up above her head as he held her wrists in one of his hands, which he could see made her pulse jump.
“Benic, please see that Sally’s arms stay right where they are,” Ark said as the younger man stepped up to place his hand on Sally’s wrists.
Then he took a half step back and smiled as he saw a conflicted set of emotions run over Sally’s face. Her breathing was even more erratic, and she struggled with herself to relax and let Benic bind her. Ark could tell that she’d never let anyone restrict her movement before during foreplay or sex. Her reaction was genuine, and the dominant male in him reveled in the battle she was going through. When eventually he saw her mild panic move from confusion into lust, he was satisfied to continue, and he stepped back up to her, running his hands lightly along the sides of her breasts as he gently kissed her neck.
Sally was so distracted by his mouth that she gasped when his fingers quickly released the back of her dress and the green silk went sliding down her body. He continued to let his fingertips slowly drag up and down the sides of her chest until she was writhing in Benic’s grip.
“Please! Please touch me,” Sally said in a low whisper full of desperation that she hated to admit.
“Touch you where, Sally?” Ark asked her as he still used his fingertips to skim over first her breasts, then down her belly, and along the tops of her thighs.
“You said you wanted to touch my pussy. That’s where I need you,” she said in a whisper that had Benic, who was now standing beside her, groaning softly.
Ark could only frown and shake his head at the younger man, who’d fallen exactly into the obvious trap Sally had set. He had no doubt that if it were just the two of them here that Benic would be enthusiastically pumping balls deep between her thighs right now, giving her anything she wanted. He’d have to get Galen to work on Benic’s self-control a little more firmly. Sally’s eyes were closed, she was biting her lip in frustration, and it was a beautiful thing to behold. Ark slowly trailed his finger down her stomach, and when he got to her pussy, he had to stifle a groan himself when he found her folds soaking wet and swollen. Slipping one finger gently through the slickness, he gave her one light pass, circling her plump clit, and then moved back to leave his hand resting on her mound, which had her squirming in Benic’s grip again.
“Arkenon, please!” she whimpered, trying to arch up into his hand.
“What happened at the end of our meal tonight that upset you, Sally?” Ark asked her as he lightly teased the pad of his finger along her drenched pussy.
When Sally stilled for a moment and frowned, he could tell she was trying to clear her head to figure out what he’d just asked her. When her face evened out again and she bit her lower lip and looked down at him, he knew what she was going to say.
“It was nothing. I’m fine. I just need you to touch me,” Sally answered, rubbing herself against him as much as she could.
“One more chance, love, will you trust me enough to tell me what changed your mood?” he pushed.
He saw the lust slowly back down in her eyes, and the determination and anger rose as she looked back at him.
“I said that I’m fine. I don’t need you to fix me, Guild Master. I only need you to fuck me. Isn’t that what you do?” she snapped back at him.
Arkenon gave her a sad look, which only seemed to fuel her anger further as she looked back at him and raised an eyebrow, daring him to ask her again.
“Wrong answer, love,” Ark sighed as he leaned back and rose to his feet. “Only trust gets rewarded here. Lies will leave you wanting.”