Adalyn Jameson fears she and her trade ship crewmates will die on the uninhabited planet where they’ve been stranded by pirates. Before panic sets in, Zarain shifters arrive to help them. Ada does not fight her intense attraction to one of the brawny shifters. A short, sizzling affair with this man is the perfect way to occupy her time before she goes back to normal life.
Jagger Antein thought babysitting a stranded crew until they could be evacuated from the planet would be an easy assignment. He never expected to find his mate among those he rescued. Now that he has, he’ll seduce her and keep her close before he claims her. When members of the crew are attacked again, he’ll have to discover who’s behind it and what they’re after if he hopes to keep his mate safe.
After a crew of traders are stranded on a planet, a shapeshifter commander must protect them from space pirates and solidify his relationship with his mate.
Excerpt 1: G/PG rated
Jagger ordered most of the men to begin raising some temporary shelters and told them to focus on getting the medical tent set up first. There was a large enough clearing next to the river where they could set up camp. They’d be safe until the Sentinel or the Vigilant arrived.
As he walked toward where they’d found the heat signatures, his eyes swept the cluster of trees and finally, he spotted them. A few of the men had stepped out of the shelter of the tree line. Maybe they noticed the gray uniforms, or perhaps they’d seen a difference in the shuttles. Jagger didn’t know, but he was happy he didn’t have to pursue them into the trees. Confronting them wouldn’t induce a relaxed, calm attitude.
A light breeze carried the people’s scents to him. He could smell blood and the pain of the men and women watching them from across the glade. The sharp scent raised all his protective instincts. Something else nudged his instincts, but with all of the mixed scents and distance, he couldn’t quite decipher it.
He carried the physician’s extra bag and walked with him across the clearing. From what he could see, there were nearly twenty people. The men kept the women to the back of the group, and the ratio of male to female looked about normal for a trade ship. Males outnumbered females, especially on the smaller trade ships. Only six women warily watched Jagger and Kairn approach.
“We’re from the Zarain ship, the Vigilant, although we were on one of our scout ships when we received the alarm of the incursion. We’re here to help.” Jagger smiled and stopped a small distance away from the group. He wanted to let them think and adjust without pressuring them.
An older, red-haired man nodded and took a deep breath. “We’re from the trade ship, Setona. The pirates attacked and took control of it.”
“Are all of you hurt?” The physician asked.
“Yes, we all need care.” The man’s answer was slow and measured.
“We’re setting up a medical tent and some shelters. The scout ship has gone after the pirates. We’ll be here until the Vigilant arrives.” Jagger stayed where he was, although he felt a strong urge to walk over to the group. He wasn’t sure if it was because of the urge to protect them or from that other feeling growing in him. He still couldn’t identify it. “We spotted the shuttle as we were searching for you. Are there any captives on that ship?”
“No, just the two pirates. They were trying to make it back up to their ship before it left. I’m Captain Joshua Thomas.” The man stepped forward and held out his hand.
“I’m Jagger Antein.” Jagger shook his hand. He deliberately left off his rank. His title would mean nothing to them. “Let’s go over to the tents. They should have the medical tent finished or almost so by now.”
“Is there anyone who needs help walking or who needs immediate aid?” the physician asked before anyone could move.
“We can all walk,” Captain Thomas said simply. “We were beaten, but they tried other methods first.”
“Other methods. Were they after something or was it simply because they were sick bastards?” Jagger frowned. The use of other methods was different and he wanted to know if the pirates had a reason for it.
“They are bastards, but they wanted something. Not that we could decipher what that was. They took everything we had, yet still asked for something else.” Captain Thomas shook his head.
Jagger stepped back to allow the people to walk toward the green tents. The men and women began limping over to the rising shelters. He stood to the side, watching as they made their way across the clearing. Grimaces tightened their lips with each slow step. He could tell they were in pain just by looking at them.
As they passed, the light wind blew their scents to him. The bite of pain was obvious in all of them. As the women began to pass him, he straightened. All the other scents faded away as one particular feminine essence exploded through him. His muscles tensed and he had to fight to keep his claws and fangs from bursting free.
He wanted to wade into those women and find out exactly which one of them was his mate. The scent of lingering fear held him back. They’d been terrorized. He didn’t want to scare his mate more by blundering in amid her and her crewmates. They’d all have to be examined and treated. He could discover which of the women was his without unnecessarily frightening her.
Excerpt 2: R for language
“After the way you’ve behaved, I don’t know what you want so I’m going to make this simple for both of us. Do you want me? No past, no future. I don’t know if you’re afraid I’ll think this is more or something, but for us, there’s just now.” She blurted it all out quickly, afraid that if she tried to explain it better, she’d lose her nerve.
“There is always a past and there will be a future. I’ve wanted you since I saw you.” His hand lifted to her face, and his fingers trailed over her cheeks.
His answer bolstered her confidence, but she didn’t think beyond the words “I want you.” Nothing else mattered. She stood up straighter and smiled. She hoped he wasn’t one of those men who felt they had to make all the moves, because she was definitely going to make some demands.
“I want you now.” She peeled the green shirt over her head and stood before him wearing only the baggy pants and shoes.
She wished she had more of her own clothing. She wanted to look sexy and attractive. The only thing she could say about the clothing they’d provided was that it covered her. Specifically, the shirts covered more than she’d like. She wanted to feel pretty or eye-catching, and the shirts covered her from neck to waist without even the possibility of showing a little cleavage.
He took a slow step forward and his eyes lowered to her breasts. “I can give you time. We don’t have to rush.”
She saw the hunger in his eyes. That was the only thing that kept her from grabbing her shirt and tugging it back over her head. He was trying to protect her and the only reason she could think of was that he didn’t want her to feel as if she made a mistake.
“We have today and I don’t want time. I know what I feel and what I desire. I want to kiss you, touch you and fuck. Is that what you crave, because if it’s not, I can put my shirt back on and go back to the camp. I don’t need an oversized big brother. I never had one and I’m too old to get used to the crap now.” She raised an eyebrow and hid a grin as his eyes remained on her naked chest. She wasn’t overly endowed, but just from the way he was looking at her, he liked what he saw.
“I’m not your brother.” He took the final step separating them. His hands closed around her shoulders and he glared down at her. “I’ll soon be your lover, and I thought you might have some doubts.”
“No doubts or second thoughts. I want you as a lover.” She drew her hand over his chest, tracing over where she knew his tattoo was.
If he’d been standoffish for too much longer, the larger ship he’d mentioned to Captain Thomas could have arrived before they even fucked. She knew that they had only a little time. It would take merely days after they were on one of the larger ships to meet up with a ship from Central Command.
He looked at her for a long moment. She had a feeling he was going to say something and wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to hear it. She reached up and slipped her hand over the back of his shoulder. Stretching up onto her tiptoes, she pressed her lips over his. They didn’t need to talk.
He drew in a sharp breath, but his lips opened under hers. She nipped at the lower curve to give him a little encouragement. He groaned and his head tilted a little as he pulled her closer. His tongue thrust deep into her mouth in an aggressive claim.
She met the strokes and demanded more. Twining her arm around his neck, she arched against him, pressing her breasts against his hard chest. Her nipples hardened and ached from the pressure but it wasn’t enough. She didn’t know what it was about being near him, but every time she got close to him, she wanted to strip them both out of their clothes and tease him until he couldn’t resist her.
Her other hand slipped down his side. Tugging at his shirt, she let her hand slide under and savored the warmth of his skin and the solid muscles beneath her fingertips. She felt them tighten beneath her fingertips and worried that perhaps he was letting his protectiveness override his desire. What she’d wanted for the past few days was right beneath her fingertips. She wasn’t going to let it slip away. She’d waited and worried too long about him even wanting her to miss this opportunity because he thought he might cause her a little pain. Her nipples ached, the tips hardened and ready to be touched or sucked. She hoped he’d get over his protectiveness soon.
She pulled her hand free of his shirt and reached between them. Cupping her hand over the ridge of his cock, she slowly stroked her hand up and down. A growl vibrated against her lips as his tongue thrust deep into her mouth. His hands clasped her waist and lifted her off her feet.
He tore his lips away from hers. “You’re going to kill me. Wrap your legs around me.”
She did as he ordered. He lifted her higher than she expected. When he brought her close to his body, her pussy pressed against his stomach. Her fingers speared through his hair and she leaned down for a kiss. His lips closed over hers and his tongue pushed deep and stroked against hers. She hummed in pleasure. Before she was ready, he tore his mouth away from hers. He drew in a deep breath.
“Hold on to my shoulders and lean back. I’m not going to drop you, but I want you to feel safe. I need to get my mouth on your breasts.” He stared into her eyes.
She did as he asked. Her hands gripped his shoulders and she leaned back. She wanted to feel his mouth on her only a little less than she wanted him to fuck her. Since she planned for both to happen today, the order didn’t matter at all.
“My cock is so hard, reha.” He rocked her hips against his stomach, rubbing her pussy on his hard muscles. “I’m going to fuck you, but first, I’m going to taste and tease as you’ve done to me.”
“What do you want, Ada?” Jagger tried not to pull her closer, but his hand continued stroking her back. He’d have loved to make the touch more intimate, but he didn’t want her to say he’d coerced her with sex. Not when she was so close to making the decision on her own. Then he’d show her that she belonged with him.
“I don’t like you.” One of her hands clenched on his shirt, but the other smoothed over skin just above his pants.
He grinned at that blatant lie. She more than liked him. He could feel the intensity of her emotions but couldn’t read her thoughts. Not that he’d ever be able to truly do that. He’d be able to pick up focused thoughts when she learned to send to him or the very strong thoughts when she was agitated.
She didn’t like that everything wasn’t her choice. He’d had a few thoughts about that of his own and he’d expected to automatically be drawn to his mate. For someone who hadn’t expected it, it would take time to get accustomed to the idea even if they could feel the attraction.
“Tell me what you need.” He let her other hand go and cupped her cheek. Her muscles had relaxed and most of the scent of anger had dissipated. Through their connection, he could feel a little frustration, confusion and anger, but more arousal.
“You know I want you. You said you could smell it.” Her eyes narrowed on him.
And her scent was driving him insane with the desire to fuck her, take her and make sure she realized that she was his woman. He was going to make her face facts now. He stepped close to her and hooking a foot behind her ankle, took them both down to the blanket.
“I can and I’m going to taste it as well. You’re going to admit you’re my mate, Ada, over and over again.” He braced himself over her and looked down at her.
Her curly red hair fanned around her head on the blanket. A pink tint highlighted her cheekbones and her brown eyes seemed to glow. She was gorgeous. He lowered his head and nipped at her full lips. He wanted to strip off her clothes and drive his cock deep into her pussy, but he needed to hear those words even more.
As he moved down her body, he realized he should have stripped her clothes off before he took her to the blanket. Too late for that now. He backed away, just enough so that he could tug her into a sitting position. She frowned at him, confused. Grabbing the bottom of her shirt, he pulled it up without a word. She lifted her arms to let him draw the shirt over her head. He dropped it to the ground and pressed her back to the blanket.
“My woman. My mate.” He nibbled his way down her neck. The lure of the reddened nipples drew him.
He’d get her out of her pants and shoes a little later. First, he wanted to give some attention to those hardened peaks. Her hands stroked his shoulders. He lifted his head. He wasn’t going to let her distract him. He gripped her hands and pressed them down beside her hips.
“Keep them there.” He gave a slight squeeze on her wrists before he released them.
He returned his attention to the plump mounds with the darkened peaks. He licked his way up the creamy white skin. Her breath hitched as he swirled his tongue around the stiff peaks. The taste of her skin lured him back just as the deepening scent of her arousal urged him to do more.
He rubbed his lips over the peaks, lightly brushing them, not taking them in his mouth as he wanted. As he knew she wished he’d do. Her back arched, lifting her nipples against his mouth in silent urging.
He swiped his tongue over the right bud. She moaned. He smiled. He loved her reactions. Blowing a puff of air over the moistened peak, he set out to make her even wilder than she was now. He wanted her desperate. After what happened yesterday and her insistence that she couldn’t be his mate, he was aching to claim her.
“Jagger, damn you, suck my breast or stop playing around!” Her voice cracked as he trailed his tongue over the peak again.
He looked up at her and found her glaring down at him. Judging by that searing glance and the scent of her arousal, she was heating nicely. He was pleased that her hands hadn’t lifted from the blanket. “In time.”
He returned to his ministrations at her breast. Dragging his tongue over the stiff peak, he tormented her nipple. She moaned and arched, but her hands remained clenched on the blanket. Her body shivered when he finally put his mouth over her hardened nub. He drew on it hard before scraping his teeth over it and drawing back. He moved to the other side and treated it to the same slow torment.
She was trembling when he began to move down her body. As he did, he gripped the waistband of her pants and began to pull them down. He wanted to see and taste her sweet pussy and this was in the way. In any other circumstances, he would have ripped the garment off her, but she didn’t have anything else to wear back to camp.
“Jagger.” Her hips lifted and her thighs parted.
The inviting move sent more blood racing straight to his cock but didn’t help him get the last of her clothes off. He tugged off her shoes and tossed them over his shoulder. After he pulled her pants and underwear off, he stared down at her curvy, long legs. They parted, giving him a glimpse of her pussy. The lips glistened with her juices.
He moved up between them and swiped his tongue over the plump folds. Her hips wriggled. He gripped her hip with one hand as ran his tongue between the folds. Her taste and her scent flooded his senses and he wanted more. He wanted to feel her climax beneath his tongue and then to experience the ripple of her pussy over his cock as he fucked her. Mates. He had to remind himself that he needed to hear her say the words. She’d believe it and know that she was his.
Rebecca Airies writes fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi romance. She’s been a dreamer all of her life. She loves getting lost in the lives of her characters and learning about them. In her free time, you might find her reading, writing (Yes, she write in her free time, too—bad poetry, flash fiction and you never know when the muse will strike), gardening, listening to music and spending time with family and friends. A native Texan, she was raised in small town, but now lives in Abilene. Rebecca would love to hear from you, visit her website and drop her a note. You can find her books at Ellora’s Cave. Www.ellorascave.com
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