Lady Riann Summer-Night's programs to help the lowborn find matches has brought Jaesin Park and his bond-brother Matty to a fine inn in Hanford.
Alia Autumn fears this meeting day will be her last; if she fails to find a mate or bond-sister in the morning, her high born family may decide she's unmatchable.
Being in a high-stress situation and close proximity are all these two need to find each other...or is it?
CONTENT ADVISORY: This is a re-release title.
Julea Spring's Inn, Hanford, Planet Kielan
April 30th, 3756
Alia Autumn paced the floor of her suite, unsettled as she hadn't been since her first meeting day. She'd stood them five times before. If anything, her calm worked against her in finding matches. High emotion sparked the link.
She couldn't believe it was simply that tomorrow she'd stand the line again, looking for her soulmate or bond-sister. It could well be that her family was on the verge of giving up on her. Perhaps the sixth failure would be the last for her. Not even her superstitious mother was likely to oppose her grandfather on the basis of the ancient magic of a lucky seven.
No, she'd faced the chance of being unmatched her entire life before, and it hadn't affected her thus.
Nor could she attribute her attack of nerves to being so far from home with only a maid to tend to her. As one of the highest four families on Kielan, Alia had had traveled extensively for as long as she could remember.
Perhaps your attack of nerves will help you find a match.
"Oh, do shut up," she grumbled, suddenly disgusted with herself, though she couldn't fathom why she would be.
Jaesin Park hooked his hands behind his neck, staring at the ceiling of his room, feeling as if he'd jump out of his skin at any moment.
His cousin--also his bond-brother--Matty snorted in his sleep, and Jaesin rolled his eyes. How Matty could sleep was a mystery to Jaesin. They'd been chosen to stand a meeting day in Hanford, their travel and expenses paid by Lady Riann Summer-Night's fund. The chance was unlikely to come again. If they found no third tomorrow, they'd likely be a bonded pair and nothing more for the rest of their lives.
An odd wash of confusion assaulted him, and Jaesin wondered at it. He had no reason to be confused. His nervous attack and the situation that had precipitated it were both painfully clear to him. On inspection, Jaesin couldn't determine what he was confused about.
"You are going mad in worry, Jaesin Park," he breathed to himself, mindful not to wake Matty. His cousin was a beast when woken from a deep sleep. "You are going completely insane."
His mother was right. He was going to worry himself into an early grave. Jaesin winced at the memory of his mother's easier-said-than-done solution for it.
Find yourself a soulmate, Jaesin. That will set you right.
Why couldn't he be blissfully oblivious, as Matty was? If he was, he could be peacefully asleep instead of eating himself up in senseless, conflicting emotions.
And I would be as unlikely to find a match as Matty has always been.
In truth, it had been Jaesin's emotional outburst that had drawn his cousin's attention and not the other way around. For all that Matty blustered and shouted, he had a calm inner nature that hindered him in his search for matches. Jaesin and Matty were polar opposites in that.
He could almost hear his eldest brother Robben's voice. You need to take the sexual edge off more often, brother. Relax the urges, and the mind might just follow. It was Robben's opinion that Jaesin thought too much and laid with a woman too seldom.
He may be right. What could it possibly hurt?
Jaesin glanced at Matty. His cousin slept like the dead unrisen. Even Jaesin's inner turmoil about weathering Matty's ire if he woke him was useless worry. Nothing Jaesin did--likely including drumming on the headboard of his cousin's bed--would wake Matty.
That truth firmly in mind, Jaesin reached his hand under the blankets, circling his cock, closing his eyes to the simple lodgings.
Now, what does she look like?
A vision of a young noblewoman settled in his mind. He considered that for a moment. He'd never fantasized about a noblewoman before. Usually, his fantasies revolved around ragtown girls, who would do nearly anything for a few brass coins and the adventure to be had in the doing. Then again, he'd never slept in an inn before, let alone one that catered to both nobles and rags.
Yet again, you are thinking when you should be acting!
Jaesin focused on the odd apparition of the woman, taking in the details. Her hair was long and dark, falling in loose curls to her waist. Her eyes were deep blue, as blue as the waters of Settlement Lake. The gown she wore was nearly transparent, undoubtedly the finest spisilk available...or nearly so. It showed the lines of her body, tempting a man as even nudity would not. She brushed her hair, gazing in the vanity mirror.
The one problem with the scene was the hair covering her breasts.