The Fueled by Lust Collection, Volume 1 (MF)

Fueled by Lust

Siren-BookStrand, Inc.

Heat Rating: Sextreme
Word Count: 331,010
2 Ratings (4.5)

In Fueled by Lust: Drusus, how will Avelina Roth handle Drusus Tarquinius, a force not of this Earth, when he engages his mating cycle the moment they meet? Can Drusus forget the past and finalize the mating? Will Avelina survive and finally embrace love when the planetary war that drove the aliens to seek Earth mates knocks firmly on her door?

In Fueled by Lust: Severus, thrown together by the mating of Drusus and Avelina, Severus Faal and Cassie Wells are inadvertently pulled into a world of corporate espionage when Cassie catches a co-worker planting monitoring devices at her law office. As they work together to solve this mystery, they begin a journey of self-discovery that raises old ghosts and salts unhealed wounds. Will their past block the road to happiness?

In Fueled by Lust: Cato, while monitoring the airwaves for potential mates for the earthbound Insedi, Cato Telarius becomes mesmerized with a sensual, feminine voice captured during a pay phone conversation with a hotline operator. Cato’s obsession with finding the woman attached to the voice leads him to a discovery that will shock the Insedivertus race and a love that will test the boundaries of his sanity.

In Fueled by Lust: Lucien, Emperor Lucien Tarquinius agrees to retrieve the future king of a race that annihilated every Insedi female and doomed his planet’s future. Why would he do such a thing? Simple. He cannot have his enemy retake the throne and continue the war against Insedivertus. Yet an unexpected encounter changes everything.


A Siren Erotic Romance

The Fueled by Lust Collection, Volume 1 (MF)
2 Ratings (4.5)

The Fueled by Lust Collection, Volume 1 (MF)

Fueled by Lust

Siren-BookStrand, Inc.

Heat Rating: Sextreme
Word Count: 331,010
2 Ratings (4.5)
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Cover Art by Siren Publishing




Lina settled into the surprisingly comfortable chair and glanced around. Women of every size, shape, ethnicity, and dress were milling around the dimly-lit, spacious club. The maroon-curtained stage was dark, but John Mayer was playing softly in the background, adding to the ambiance. Ah yes, my favorite pastime…people watching.

Flat-ironed hair appeared to be the predominant theme. That, and low tops with high skirts. Herds of giggling, skinny, young to who-gives-a-shit grandmas comprised the seething mass of estrogen. Shirtless waiters carrying trays of Jell-O shots above their heads weaved through the crowd. These men were built above average and not as packed as the poster hunks, but eye candy nonetheless. Glancing to her right, she spotted a grouping of black, high-backed sectional couches lining the dark walls, a drape of sheer black fabric hanging from ceiling to floor obscuring the dimly lit area. Lina surmised this was the designated area for the expensive, one-on-one private dances. Granted, she had never been in one of these clubs before but she wasn't ignorant of what they had to offer.

The gradual lift of the stage curtain accompanied by a disembodied, sultry, masculine voice brought her perusal and the floor action to a halt. “Ladies, Drusus is in need of a little love tonight. This cowboy believes he may have broken one of your hearts today. Who among you can bring him comfort?”

The opening electric guitar riffs of Sister Hazel’s “Your Winter” seeped out to the crowd like beckoning fingers. Women moved as one quiet body to plaster themselves against the stage. The agonizingly slow-lifting curtain began revealing black shit-kickers, leather chaps hugging long, muscular thighs, and a prominent bulge pushing out faded jeans below a glinting silver belt buckle. A tight, white wife-beater hugged his ridged abs, displaying sculpted pecs and broad shoulders. A thick tail of glistening, blue-black hair lay over his left shoulder, nearly reaching his small, tight nipple. A big leather-gloved hand gripped the horn of a saddle dangling by his right side, massive forearm and bicep flexing as he gradually lowered it to the floor. Slowly he went down to his knees, revealing a strong neck and jawline. A low-pulled straw Stetson hid his eyes, but only emphasized his full sensual lips and aquiline nose. Lina felt her heart flutter just taking in the massive size of this entirely too good-looking man. Mesmerized, she couldn't pull her eyes away from his fluid movements or the chiseled muscles working under that flawless skin. As the music strained and cried for the audience to forgive him, he stretched both arms out to the side, palms out, and slumped his head back, offering this body as compensation for his faults. His chest rose and fell quickly as he inhaled deeply and thoroughly.

As one, the crowd leaned closer, arms pushing forward, beseeching this beautiful creature to come to them. Head slowly tilting back down, one side of his lips lifted into a cocky grin as he gradually removed his gloves. Tossing them aside, he dropped slowly to his hands. He moved as a graceful predator now toward the enchanted, screaming women, rising back to his spread knees as their hands moved familiarly across his body and began stuffing money into his waistband. He lovingly ran his long fingers through their hair, touching exposed shoulders, kissing foreheads and cheeks before continuing slowly down the enthralled pack.

“Daaaayummmm!” exclaimed Cassie, jerking Lina from her open mouthed stupor. Lina’s eyes shot over to a wild-eyed Cassie vigorously pointing to their shot glasses.

“I need a drink and then some. Bottoms up, girlfriend!”

Simultaneously licking their left hands between thumb and forefinger then a haphazard application of salt, Lina and Cassie lifted their shots, clinked, and downed the fiery liquid. A quick swipe of tongue over salty skin, limes shoved between clenching teeth, they froze to enjoy the increasing warmth from gullet to belly.

Heaving a breathy sigh, Cassie perched her chin on her palm. “Now isn't this better than sitting in front of fifteen TVs tuned to ESPN while trolling guys with hot wing sauce dripping down their chins and a different type of six-pack under their shirt?”

Drawing in a cool gulp of what she considered the smoothest beer on Earth, Lina nodded enthusiastically at Cassie’s profile, still speechless even as she felt something shoved into her hand. Looking down at the wad of dollar bills, she stared stupidly at Cassie for a moment before shaking her head back and forth in denial. “Unh uh, no way.”

“Yes way. Get up there. I’m getting more shots. Go on now! I saw the way you were eye-balling him. Get a close-up, girl. Chest thumping, remember?” Unceremoniously pulling her from the chair and shoving her forward, Cassie pointed to the stage. “Quick, while the herd is thinning out.”

Walking on numb legs, clutching her stash of bills, Lina weaved her way through the tables, eventually sliding into an opening at the far end of the stage. The next song was beginning and the hunk picked up the saddle, tossing it to the side as if it weighed nothing.

Okay, calm the hell down, you idiot. He’s just a man…he’s just a man…hey is that Vertical Horizon playing now? I like that band…ah hell…he’s taking off his chaps…I knew it! His ass is magnificent! Not fair…not fair!”

Pulling her eyes away from his swaying body, she began smoothing out the crumpled bills in her shaking palm. One, two, three, four…is this enough? Why does Cassie wad her money this way? And why am I surprised? Her apartment screams of rumpled, too. Figures! Are those boots in front of me? No, those are knees now. Don’t look up…don’t look up…Ah hell!




“Nope, not before I finish this last shot and get the pleasure of stuffing some cash in Maxim’s caveman pants.” Cassie’s fingers fluttered in a mock good-bye as she dove into the crowd.

“Fine, but hurry up,” Lina groused, still mad at herself for giving that Lothario a second thought. Hugging her purse close in one hand, she downed the shot with the other. Slumping against the table, she screwed her eyes tight, losing herself to the choking fire.

“Where do you think you are going?”

Shooting upright at the deep voice, her back slammed into a hard wall of heat. Her purse dropped to the floor. Large hands gripped her shoulders, keeping her in place. She knew it had to be him. Breathing deeply of his specific scent, her head lolled back against his chest. Something pressed against her hair, warm breath caressing her cheek. The deep vibrations across her back and low-rumbling growl next to her ear snapped her to attention. Pushing his hands away, she swung round to face him. “What do you want from me?” With a valiant effort she kept her eyes to his, refusing to be intimidated by his overwhelming presence or zero in on how that black T-shirt clung to bulging chest and arms. He said nothing as she curiously watched his features soften then swiftly flicker from puzzlement back to stony determination. Had she just imagined the vulnerability before he masked it with that strong glare?

“I don’t know.”

Before she could huff out a comeback to his inane response, she froze when he rapidly moved his hands to the back of her head and removed her scrunchy. Slowly, he drifted his fingers through her hair, pulling it forward over her shoulders to drop against her breasts. His eyes lingered on her chest for a few moments before drifting back and locking with hers.

Instinctively, she grasped his thick wrists and casually moved them down to his sides, eyes never leaving his. Bravado firmly in place, she rose on the balls of her feet, reached up with one hand to the back of his neck, and began sliding the leather tie from his hair. Reaching the end of the silky tail, she gave it a quick tug. Lifting her chin higher, she cocked an eyebrow at his amused look.

Snatching her forearm, his face returned to that implacable stone he seemed to wear so easily. He turned her wrist to his nose and inhaled. Fascinated, she watched his sensual lips part and his pink tongue glide slowly across her wrist.

Suddenly flinging his head back, his eyes shut tight. Releasing a loud roar, he grabbed frantically at the center of his chest. White teeth clenching in agony, he yanked the front of his shirt forward then released it just as quickly. Those piercing, green eyes bore into hers as his beautifully arched brows lifted in surprise.

Breathless and frightened at the display, she tried to step back, but he only tightened his grip on her arm.

Dropping his chin to his chest, his breath came in labored bursts, his words low and gravelly. “Ah, mellis! Tam bona! So good, so good.”

“Who the hell is Mellis and what…oommphf!” She could do nothing but sink into the warmth of his sensuous mouth as it slammed down against hers. His tongue speared between her lips, demanding entry. He took ownership of her senses. He licked the inside of her cheeks, sucked her tongue into his mouth, nipped at her lips then soothed the stinging bites with a soft brush of his lips. She vaguely registered his big hands at her waist before he easily lifted and pinned her to the wall, his mouth never leaving hers. As his hard body pressed against hers, she threw willing arms around his neck, digging her short nails into his back. Oh! Christ, he tastes good! Releasing her waist, he pulled her thighs up to ride along his narrow hips. One broad hand cupped her ass as the other gripped her lower back, locking her in place. She felt his thick, hard length relentlessly pressing at her clit, fucking her through their clothes. Her heated pussy began clinching in response, aching for his heavy length to do more than press against her. Ripping her lips away from his, she buried her face in his neck, a low moan whispering across his skin, “Oh god! I’m going to come!”

“Yes my sweetness,” he hissed hotly into her ear. “Ride me. Feel how I want you.”

His hips rolled harder against the back of her thighs, pushing her jeans tightly against her clit with his hardness, stoking a fiery inferno already threatening to explode at any moment.

“Push that hot pussy on me! I feel your heat on my cock. That pussy is mine. Come for me!”

His raspy, seductive words alone took her over that fine edge. Her incoherent moan of completion stifled as his mouth slammed down on hers once again, drinking in her pleasure.

“Well, if this is what a private dance is like around here, where do I freaking sign up?”

Cassie! Oh shit! Jerking her head up, she gazed wide-eyed at the man wrapped around her. Chests heaving in unison, she gasped as he leaned forward and sucked her bottom lip into his mouth. She panted through the last throbbing pulses of the orgasm he had given her so easily. Releasing her slowly, he placed a soft kiss upon her lips. She read regret in his eyes, knowing they mirrored her own. Feeling the familiar heat rising across her chest and flaming to her cheeks, she released her grip on his shoulders and slid her legs down his. Moving his hands to her waist, he shifted back slightly to allow her feet to touch the ground. They stood there a moment, searching each other’s eyes for some type of answer to a question they didn't know how to ask.

“I am Dru…Daniel Tarquinius.” Seeing her eyes widen, he blinked rapidly then said, “I am known as Drusus.”





Severus glared at the man that stood almost to his height. His body was in peak shape and he displayed his muscles proudly in a sleeveless gym shirt. He hated that the guy was even remotely handsome, had touched her lips with his own, and had caressed her body with those hands that were getting nowhere now. Severus felt the back of his neck light up with heat and his fists clench with a need to pound that pretty puss into the ground.

“Cassie, are you okay?” He was surprised at the gritty sound of the words. That was his battle-mode voice and he hadn’t heard it in a very long time.

Marcus’s head jerked up, eyes narrowing with an unholy glare as he spotted Severus at the back door. “Who the hell is that, Cassie?”

Cassie glanced over to Severus then quickly back to Marcus. “He’s my friend, Marcus. Now you need to go. We don’t have anything else to talk about.”

Severus felt his gut lurch at the word “friend” and was instantly confused as to why. He wasn’t her lover, they had not been on a date, and he had only been here three times before to fix various things falling apart in her tiny home. She was the best friend of his Trejani’s lover, nothing more. So, why did it hurt to hear her claim him in that manner? At least she hadn’t introduced him as her maintenance man for he would have surely gone mental. He took two steps from the door, chest rumbling in discontent when Marcus latched onto Cassie’s arm and began leading her around the side of the building. He halted when Cassie easily moved her arm away and stepped back. She put a palm up to both of them.

“Okay, nice and easy, guys. Severus, I’m okay. This will only take a minute. Go back in. It’s okay.”

Severus wanted to howl in rage. He didn’t want her out of his sight for a moment, but he had no grounds to claim for his continued presence. He gave Marcus a warning glare then stalked back in the house. He left the back door opened slightly. He leaned to the side in order to watch out the window while still hearing their conversation.

“Marcus, why are you here? I told you how I felt last week. I couldn’t keep up with your crap.” Cassie backed up further as Marcus reached out to her again.

With a heavy sign, he dropped his arm. “Fine, no touching, but will you at least listen to what I have to say?”

Cassie crossed her arms and nodded.

“I’m sorry for whatever I did and I promise it won’t happen again. Can we start over? I miss you, baby.”

Severus was happy to see the evil Cassie slide from her pores. That cocked brow and lifted lip brought him great joy, especially since it aimed at the pretty boy instead of him. When that right hip jutted out, he knew the dude was in trouble. Capital T, pack-your-lunch, throw-down Trouble.

“Whatever you did? What do you mean whatever? Do you talk just to have something to do? You used me, Marcus. I was nothing but an unpaid servant in your home. I washed your clothes, cleaned your apartment, and had dinner on the table for you when you finally decided to wander on back home. I felt like a complete idiot when I found out that you weren’t working late but running with your boys. Your bed only knows what skank you had crawling all over you.”

Marcus had the sense enough to hang his head. “I’m so sorry for that. I didn’t realize I was taking advantage of you. I’m used to being on my own. I didn’t know how to act. I promise I’ll do better.”

Severus grunted in disdain, hissing under his breath. “That is it asshole, grovel until she puts her boot in your ass. Do not think for a second she missed you not denying the bed skank.”

Cassie just shook her head back and forth, no sympathy to be found within that hard look. “You are blind, aren’t you?” It wasn’t a question, but a simple statement of fact. “Even when you decided to come around, you didn’t pay attention to me. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like having a clingy man draped on me all the time, but come on, Marcus. Any conversation I started ended with you turning it into how fast you could get me in the sack. Then, you’d fuck me, roll off, and start snoring. I felt like a convenient hole. A pit stop from point A to point B. That’s no way to live. I don’t want that.”

Severus grinned despite the fact he didn’t want to think of the jerk humping Cassie. He was just happy the dude was bad in the sack. Severus made a mental note to remember the clingy part.

Marcus’s eyes widened while his cheeks flushed a deep pink. “Ah Christ, Cassie! Stab a guy in the nuts, will yuh? Why can’t you see it for what it was? You wore my ass out. There. I said it. You rode me hard and I couldn’t help but pass the fuck out.”

Cassie’s evil grin made an appearance. Severus was still reeling over the “rode me hard” part to enjoy the battle sign. His libido woke and started looking around.

“Good, and I hope you miss it cause it’s never happening again. Got it?”

Severus fist-pumped the air and suppressed his need to howl to the moon.




He breathed in heavily and promptly gave up on controlling his dick. It had caught a whiff and was now throbbing relentlessly against his stomach. It was the light touch against his arm that caused a low moan to escape his lips. Cassie’s whispered word trailed along his skin like a soft kiss. He was lost.


He gritted his teeth, heart thundering in his chest. “Yes, baby?”

“You can tell me to shut up, even kick me out of your room and I won’t get mad. But, I have to ask you something. Okay?”

Severus swallowed hard, afraid to hear but afraid not to ask. “Anything, sweetness. Ask me anything.”

“Will you…can I…I want to be with you. I want to touch you. I need you, Severus. Will you…”

Severus had heard enough. He rolled her over in a twist of sheets and legs and captured her mouth with his.

He groaned when he felt Cassie melt into his arms and wrap her fingers in his hair. He knew he was clutching her too tightly and willed his arms to relax. He moved his hand up to her jawline and angled her for a deeper kiss. She tasted so damn good. Her soft tongue caressed against his before she clamped her lips around his tongue and began to suck. He almost came in his boxers just from the thought of her sucking on any part of his body. He remembered his vision of her lips wrapped around his cock and the trust she had shown in her honey-brown eyes. He pulled back from her mouth before he lost it completely. He softly nipped her lower lip before trailing his mouth down the side of her cheek and latching onto her earlobe. He ran his tongue along the curve and breathed heavily into her ear. “Yes. Yes. I want you, too. Anything, sweetness. Just tell me what you want.”

He felt her shiver and moan at his words. Her nails dug into his sides and she undulated against his belly. He felt chills run across his skin from the sensual reaction.

“Severus, please. I want you inside me. I need you inside me. I don’t want it slow. I want you to take me.”

He growled against the side of her neck and pushed his groin against her thigh. “Do you feel that? I’m going to give you exactly what you want, baby. Do you want me to put on a condom? Tell me quickly or I’m going to take you bare. I’ve never taken a woman bare, but I want you that way. I’m clean, baby. Tell me. Tell me now or I’ll decide for us.” He was having a hard time focusing on her words, but he slowed long enough to grasp the meaning between her panted breaths.

“I’m on the pill…always used condoms…clean, too. Yes…oh god yes. I trust you. Hurry.”

That was all he needed to take control. He rolled to the side and caught his boxers at the waist and pushed them off his body. He was upright and kneeling between her legs in the next breath. He had no other thoughts but to get inside of his mate. To mark her. To own her. To love her. He grabbed the bottom of her T-shirt and quickly yanked it up her body and over her head. He thought himself insane for pausing long enough to grin at the faded letters spelling “Pantera” across the front. He tossed the shirt to the side and looked down at her as he pulled her legs up to wrap around his hips.

Her arms were still up over her head and lax against the pillows, her hair swept to the side, a bright glow against the darkness of his sheets. Her eyes were narrowed and she was biting on the edge of her lower lip as she stared at his cock bobbing and bouncing against his stomach before flipping those amber orbs back up to him. Gods damn she was beautiful.

Her breasts were two perfect mounds of gorgeous perched on her chest. Her skin was golden and her nipples a light coral shade. The nipples stood erect and his mouth watered for a taste. Later. Yes. He would spend an inordinate amount of time getting to know them later. Right now he wanted in her and he wanted it now. His gaze continued down her body. She had a small waist that flared to nicely rounded hips. Her belly was flat and she had a tiny bellybutton that he wanted to stick his tongue in. He shook his head and took in the black lace thong running a sleek line from her hips to her crotch, making her legs look long and lean. He reached forward and clamped his hand in the material. He looked up into her gorgeous, golden eyes and ripped the material from her body.

Cassie cried out his name as her back arched up from the bed, tilting her hips just right to where her hot, wet, folds slid along the underside of his cock. He bowed over her and spoke her name in a low rumble. He knew he was on the razor’s edge as he watched his mating necklace bump and slide across her heaving breasts.

He palmed her hairless mound before sliding his hand downward and slipping two fingers inside. He slowly worked the fingers in and out before pulling them out and up to circle her clit. “You’re ready for me, baby. Sopping wet and ready for me.” He pushed the two slickened fingers into his mouth and tasted ambrosia. She even tasted like orange blossoms. “Delicious.”





Cato glanced at the audio capture equipment. He knew it was too late in the night for his mysterious caller to be at the phone booth, but his mind was in turmoil and silently pleading for her voice to rise up and soothe him. After thirty minutes of dead air time, he huffed in resignation and walked away from the desk. He had to get home and pack. They were leaving in a few hours and he’d wasted enough time. As the doorknob twisted in his hand, the sound of a chirp brought his full attention back to the desk. “Impossible.”

“Austin Abuse Hotline. How can I help you?”

“Uhhh…hold on. Let me catch my breath.”

Cato ran back into the room and snatched the handheld from the shelf. Why is she breathing heavy? She should be at home. What’s happening? His mind thrashed with a million questions as he waited for her to say something. The sound of her soft pants ratcheted his anxiety to nuclear proportions.

“Okay. Better. Sorry about that. Look, I know that Julie probably went home already, but I thought I would try one last time. I called to say good-bye.”

“No! Wait! Please don’t do anything drastic. We can help you.”

A soft gasp issued across the line. “Oh! No! Sorry! I’m fine. Really. I’m not going to do anything to myself. Crap! I’m making a mess of this.”

A sigh of relief followed her words. “Thank goodness! Hold on. Let me transfer you to Julie. She’s working a double tonight.”

“Really? Yes. That’d be wonderful! She’s been my rock for the last several days. Thank you!”

Cato listened to the sounds of traffic in the distance and worried for her. Why was she calling so late? Was she leaving as soon as she hung up the phone? At the last thought, Cato jumped from his chair, grabbed his keys, and ran for the truck. Maybe he could get to her before she disappeared from his life forever. Julie’s competent voice came over the line as soon as he turned the key in the ignition.

“Hello? This is Julie.”

“Hi, Julie. I’m sorry to bother you. I just wanted to say thank you for hanging in there with me the last few days. I’m going to miss talking to you.”

“Hi! What are you doing out so late? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I left him. I don’t know where I’m going. I didn’t have a chance to get my bus ticket yet. Half my stuff is still over there, but I don’t care. I’m never going back.”

Julie’s voice lowered in concern. “What happened? What made you leave before you planned?”

“Yeah. I’m still trying to sort that one through my head. He came home during his shift. He accused me of messing around with another guy since one of his buddies spotted me on Sixth Street. When he saw that most of my things were missing, he figured I was trying to leave again. The idiot handcuffed me to a rail in the bathroom and went back to work. I found a screwdriver in one of the drawers and dug around the handle until I could rip it out of the wall. Thankfully, he had a set of cuff keys in one of his coats or I’d be dragging the rail down the street with me. That’d be cute.”

Cato felt the back of his neck light up with fury. He surprised himself with the roar that unleashed from his throat. He’d kill him. The son of a bitch deserved to die.

Julie gasped in shock. “He handcuffed you? That’s kidnapping. You have to call the police and report him.”

A snort came over the line. “Julie. Think about it for a minute.”

Julie’s voice was apologetic. “Oh. I forgot. He’s a cop. So, what are your plans now? You need a place to stay. Let me help you.”

“I want to be long gone before he gets off his shift tonight. That’s the first thing he’ll think about when he sees that I got away. What shelter is going to keep the cops from searching for me? He could make up any type of story. No. The further away, the better off I’ll be.”

Julie sighed heavily. “You’re probably right. One favor, okay? Will you call me when you get settled? I won’t be able to rest until I know you’re okay. Will you do that for me?”

“Of course. You have no idea how much you helped me, Julie. Take care.”

“You, too. Be safe.”

Cato felt a heaviness press against his chest as the call ended. He wasn’t going to make it there in time. He’d forever wonder what might have been. Even if she was a midget with a club foot, he would always be grateful for the small amount of comfort her voice had provided. Despite his mind telling him to slow the truck and head toward his house, he continued without hesitation. He had to check or lose his sanity. He jumped when the handheld chirped.

“Lone Star Cab.”

“Yeah. I need a cab at the corner of Johns Avenue and I-35. Small convenience store on the right. It’s closed, so I’ll stay by the pay phone. I’m wearing a dark blue T-shirt and jeans.”

“Okay. Where’s your drop off?”

“Greyhound bus station. Hey. Are there hotels close to it?”

“I believe there’s two. We’ll be there in twenty minutes.”

“Thank fuck!” Cato shouted. He might make it in time if the cab held true to the time they quoted. If not, he’d head for the bus station. Fear inundated his senses as a bloodcurdling scream filled the interior of his truck.

“Stop! Stop! Let me go! Help me! Oh God, someone help me!”

Her pleading words horrified him and he pressed heavily against the accelerator. He barely missed slamming into cross traffic as he ran through a red light. He vaguely registered the cab dispatcher yelling on the line.

“Give me a description! Hurry. I’ll call the police!”

The only response the cab company got was the sound of breaking glass and screams of pain. Cato shouted in agony as he listened helplessly to the vicious struggle and her weak pleadings. Her attacker showed no mercy.




Cato knew this was a figment of his imagination, yet he still grasped the small, warm hands caressing his skin and pulled them to his shoulders. He knew that he sat slumped in the chair beside her bed, yet he still placed his hand to the back of her head. He was well aware that the beautiful woman smiling up at him really didn’t know the truth of things, yet he still wrapped her silky braid around his wrist and tilted her head back. He stared into her luminous eyes and dipped his head closer to hers. His words came out low and heated as he placed a palm to her lower back and pulled her tight against his body.

“I know you’re not real, but I don’t care. I want you, Angeli. Probo mea gusto ista. Let me taste you.”

As soon as her plump, moist lips parted, he was on her. He felt her fingers dig into his skin when their mouths met in a clash of need and urgency. Her groan of acceptance ramped his desire even higher. He slid his tongue along hers and tasted ambrosia. She was warm and soft and he couldn’t get enough. He wanted to mist and push himself inside her body and stay forever. He wasn’t surprised that he didn’t feel the Occasio surge overwhelm his senses or the heated sting of the mating necklace dangling against his chest. It was just another reminder that he swirled in a dream of his own making.

His cock pressed hard and insistent against his jeans when she pulled back and caught his lip with her teeth. Gently, she bit down then licked the sting. He opened his eyes when she tilted her head back. Her look of trust mixed with innocence broke his insistence of disbelieving this reality. Releasing her, he stepped back and yanked his shirt over his head and threw it to the side. His boots and socks landed seconds later. He couldn’t help the low rumble that carried his words.

“I want you against my flesh. Let me have you.” At her quick nod, he reached down and lifted the blue gown up her body. Every second revealed more of her lush curves and creamy flesh. Her mound was clean shaven and he could see the delicate slit between her legs beginning to glisten for him. Growling in discontent from being unable to see and touch everything at once, he ripped the cloth over her head and looked down in wonder. She was breathing rapidly and fighting to keep from lifting her arms to cover her flesh. He reached forward and caressed her flushed cheek.

“No. Never hide yourself from me. You’re beautiful. Look at yourself as I do, Angeli. Your breasts are magnificent. Such sweet little nipples waiting for my tongue. They’ve tightened just from my gaze.” He palmed each globe and smiled at her sudden intake of breath. “So very soft and they fit perfectly within my palm.”

He teased one nipple with his thumb then traced a finger slowly down her shivering flesh. He caressed her gently rounded belly and whispered, “This is my favorite part. It’s here that you would carry my child. You’ve no idea how appropriate that this beautiful tattoo of the phoenix rising from the ashes sits here upon your flesh.” Something inside him shifted when her eyes shone with unshed tears. A sense of urgency wafted across his senses.

Cato stepped back a pace and popped open the top button of his jeans. Quickly, he slid the zipper open and shoved the material down to where it hung on his hips and trapped his cock at the base. Eyes narrowed, he watched as her gaze traveled appreciatively across his body and locked to where his hands lay still and waiting. “Do you see how he fights to be free? He knows you’re near and he wants you. I want you.”

When her pink tongue darted out and licked across her lower lip, he hummed his approval, pushed the jeans to the ground, and kicked them away. Grasping the beast rising strong before her, he gently squeezed the bulbous head and watched a pearl of pre-cum slide down and hit the top of his thumb. He swirled the creamy liquid against the sensitive flesh and groaned. “Look how he weeps for you.” His skin shivered as her husky words caressed his ears.

“Damn, storyteller. What are you doing to me? I can’t breathe.”

“Come to me, sweetness. Put your flesh against mine. I need to feel you.” His heart thundered within his chest when there was no hesitation in her forward steps. He wrapped his arms around her waist, as hers linked around his neck, and easily lifted her from the ground. The warmth of her body sank deep into his soul and he whispered across the skin of her neck, “Are you mine, Angeli?

“Yes, storyteller. And you’re mine, too. Take me. I want to feel you inside. Make me forget all the bad things I’ve seen.”





Lucien navigated the long corridor outside his quarters by touch until the reserve lighting finally engaged. He felt no surprise to see his legati, Eryx, standing two steps away with his laser pistol drawn in one hand and the other sliding along the wall. Even within the dimly lit passageway, he could see that his protector’s dark brows were drawn together in concern and his jaw muscles clenched with tension. Familiar golden eyes widened for a quick beat then narrowed again. Lucien chuckled.

“Relax, my friend. I do not believe the darkness had plans to attack me.”

Eryx snorted and slipped his pistol back into his leg harness. “You let me worry about what is friend or foe, amici. You should have stayed in your quarters until I came for you. We have spoken of this many times, yet you still ignore me.”

Lucien smiled and clapped his childhood friend and personal guard firmly on the shoulder. “Yes, and you still believe that I will listen to you. I will not cower in a corner and await rescue. It is not in my nature.”

Shrugging, Eryx smiled and turned back the way he had come. “True, but I can still hope for a miracle.”

The main power reengaged and they both looked up. Lucien halted and raised his hand when five concerned Insedi warriors rounded the corner at a dead run.

“I am fine. You can stand down. I am interested in going to the flight pod and the more that fill this hallway, the less chance I have of doing so.” He smiled and their collective faces relaxed.

As was protocol of the royal guard, three filed in line behind him, and two others took position in front of Eryx while they escorted him to the front of the ship.

Despite his outward protestations, Lucien knew he was fortunate to have this group with him on the mission. Sotarios, Altair, Geleon, Haemon, and Keos were the cream of the elite guard. Each was incredibly powerful and cunning. If one did not know better, one could easily mistake them as having the same father.

Each was taller than the average Insedi male, wore his hair in a thick braid falling to the middle of his wide back, and kept his body in peak condition. The only difference was in their eye color and personalities. They had been around him for years, but over the last several days, he had personally spent time with each while he searched for something to bide his time on the long trip.

Sotarios was the jokester of the bunch and eerily similar to Maxim in build and character. His dark blue eyes continuously twinkled while he thought of some way to irritate or prank one of his brethren. They had all threatened to kill him at one point during the trip, but he could tell they only pretended irritation and enjoyed his antics.

Altair was Sotarios’s favorite target. He carried a continuous scowl that appeared even more sinister by the neatly trimmed facial hair he allowed to grow on his upper lip and chin. His jet-black eyes gave away nothing of his emotions while Sotarios worked diligently to make him laugh. The best he could accomplish was a slight twitch of Altair’s upper lip.

Haemon was slightly taller than them all and considered a gentle giant. Despite the ever-present peacefulness shining within his turquoise eyes, he was wickedly deadly with a sword and showed no mercy to those that would dare to harm his companions.

His cousin, Geleon, had the same temperament, yet he was quieter and more contemplative than Haemon. If asked a question, he would stare through your skull with his soulful green eyes and only answer after putting great thought to his choice of words. One would be wise not to misinterpret his quietness for docility. Lucien had seen his training sessions with Altair, and he was lethal with a set of matched short blades.

It was Keos that kept the group engaged at all times. The alpha male was a veritable powerhouse of frenetic energy. Lucien could even now feel his essence vibrating through the corridor and tingling against his back. His intense aquamarine eyes constantly assessed everything around him. He missed nothing. Lucien was more than happy to have this ball of energy shielding his flank.

Eryx and the guards lined the curved wall of the flight pod while Lucien stepped toward the pilots. He raised his palm when they swiveled around in their seats and attempted to stand.

“No. Please stay. Just let me know the status and what happened.”

Baruch’s golden eyes widened and he glanced over to Makar, the ship’s pilot. These two were life mates, and after losing their shared female, one was never seen without the other. Makar cast Baruch a comforting glance then turned his calm, gray eyes back to the group standing anxiously before him. His voice rang confident and professional.

“There was a sudden strain on the engine core and we briefly lost control of navigation. Noncritical lighting was shut down by the computer to compensate. Analysis shows all equipment performing to expected levels once reserve power returned control. Internal diagnostics shows no equipment damage or failure. Our scanners have not identified any abnormalities outside of the ship. It is unexplainable.”




Squeaky clean, Tana pushed languidly out into the open water. Flipping over to her back, she paddled lazily around the pool and dreamed of the day she’d get off this godforsaken planet and away from that extremely confusing Insedi.

Long minutes drifted by and her anger began to dissipate. Why was she mad? It wasn’t his fault. They weren’t compatible and that was the bottom line. Hell, he was over three hundred years old. He needed a mate that could extend his life. Even if he had been interested, she didn’t want to think she’d caused his early death for being selfish. She felt sad at the thought of him with another woman. Whoever it was going to be, she immediately hated her.

Tana almost drowned herself when a deep, growly shout echoed around the enclosure and sent her skittering underwater. When she bobbed back up for air, she wiped her face and stared at an extremely pissed Lucien glaring at her from the edge of the water. His chest was heaving as if he’d been running at a fast clip and his fists were clenched at his side. A shiver went up her spine at the words slipping slowly out of clenched white teeth.

“You defied me. I told you not to leave.”

Whatever empathy she’d been having for his plight left in an instant. She was amazed at how fast he was able to shoot her blood pressure into the atmosphere.

“You’re not my boss. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, you assured me not too long ago that you’re not my boyfriend, my husband, my lover, or my friend. You’re just a big lug who thinks he can command everyone to do what he wants. Oh, and I’m certainly not one of your warriors. I answer to no one.” She swallowed hard when he didn’t budge, but she did see his eyes darken to a deeper green before narrowing into thin slits. That didn’t bode well.

“Get out of the water and come to me.”

Tana raised her brows. “You don’t listen too well, do you? I’m not going anywhere just because you said to do it.” She lifted her hand out of the water and flipped him off. She frowned when he sat on the ground and started pulling his boots off.

“What are you doing?”

“What does it look like I’m doing?”

“You better not get in this water. This is my place. I call dibs since I found it. Now leave.”

He didn’t say a word and continued to peel his socks off and tossed them to the side. When he stood back up and removed his sword and leather scabbard, she started back-paddling in the water.

“Stop, Lucien.”


Her mouth unhinged when he peeled his black pants off and practically posed for the cover of Hunky Warrior Monthly in all his naked, beautiful glory. She swallowed a mouthful of water before she could control her arms again.

Tana’s mind flashed back to the Dar Kan shower and remembered how silky his skin had felt sliding across her palm. She’d gotten a cursory glance at his body before they’d been taken away, but nothing at this level. He’d released his hair, and the slow breeze caught the tail and whipped it gently to the side. Son of a bitch. The whole package was just too much to take, but she couldn’t pull her eyes away.

His cock was at full mast and she could see it glistening at the top. She realized too late that his big hand was wrapped around the base, as if holding the massive beast up for her inspection. The bulbous tip almost reached his bellybutton. He was huge. She tore her eyes away and watched his thigh and calf muscles harden as he walked slowly into the water. The long muscles running along the outside edge of his abs and extending down to his groin bunched and stretched as he moved closer.

When he extended his arms out and knifed fully into the water, Tana swiveled around and starting swimming as fast as she could to the other side. She hadn’t made two full strokes before he caught her around the waist and pulled her backward to his chest.

She pried at his arm, but it was a solid band of steel and wasn’t budging. He easily pulled them back to the opposite shore.

“Lucien, why are you doing this? You made it perfectly clear that you didn’t want anything to do with me back there.” He grunted next to her ear.

“You have no idea what you’re talking about. You scared the hell out of me when you weren’t at the camp. Now, you’re going to pay.”

“Pay? What do you mean?”

“If you’re going to act like a child, then I’ll treat you like a child.”

Tana felt a nervous shiver run across her skin. “You’re the one acting like a child.”

“Nope, I’m acting like a fully grown male that’s about to spank your ass for misbehaving.”

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