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Saved by Venom (Grabbed #3) Cover Reveal

14 Oct

savedbyvenom_msr

Holy smokes. Would you look at him?! Is he delicious or what? I’m like fanning myself over here!

Venom has a release date of November 29, 2013 but he’s available for pre-order at Amazon and B&N. Once I’m finished with the promo for Red Hot Dragon (tour and giveaway details here,) I’ll start doing some more sneak peeks of Venom’s book. This one is a super chunky book that clocks in at 110K words—but it’s jam-packed with scorching hot smexy times between Venom and Dizzy including some ridiculously steamy rope bondage scenes.

And, yes, Terror is in this book! LOL. And, yes, he gets his own book very soon. After Venom, it’s Raze, Cipher, Terror and Torment. That’s as far as my contracts go at the moment–but there are so many more stories to tell!

Grabbed, Book Three

To escape her father’s debt to a loan shark, Dizzy seeks refuge in the upcoming Grab. She’d rather belong to one of those terrifying sky warriors from the battleship Valiant than to the sleazy criminal who wants her as his plaything.

The years of constant war haven’t been kind to highly decorated sniper Venom. Only the promise of earning a wife kept him going through deadly battles. Catching and collaring Dizzy fills him with incredible hope. Finally he has a woman of his own, a mate to love—and bind and adorn with his ropes.

After a brazen Splinter attack, the Shadow Force uncovers secrets about Dizzy’s late mother that entangle her in a web of deceit. To save Venom, her father and an operative named Terror, Dizzy digs deep and risks it all.

Venom refuses to stand idly by while Dizzy’s haunted past threatens the future they’re trying to build. He finally has a reason for living—and he’s not giving her up.

A Romantica® BDSM sci-fi romance from Ellora’s Cave

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New Release: Caught By Menace (Grabbed #2) #scifi #bdsm

24 Jun

caughtbymenace_msr

 

Caught By Menace (Grabbed #2) released on Friday! The book is available at Amazon, Ellora’s Cave and All Romance eBooks. When it’s available at B&N and Kobo, I’ll drop the links here, Facebook and my website. I know how annoying it is to hunt for links when you want to read a book right now so I’ll make it as easy as possible!

The next book in the Grabbed series is Venom’s story. I’ll be turning that book into my editor by the end of July so I’d expect Ellora’s Cave will put it on the release schedule sometime in early fall. As soon as I know, I’ll let you know! Make sure to follow me here or Facebook or sign up for my newsletter to get info and updates on new releases, free reads, swag, giveaways, etc.

 

Caught By Menace

 

Menace’s plan to catch a sweet, docile woman is shot to hell when he’s tackled by a dark-haired beauty who wants to save her friend from being Grabbed. Refusing to leave the planet’s surface empty handed, Menace claims the spitfire with his collar.

Naya clawed her way off the streets of Connor’s Run and vowed to never let any man have control over her. She plans to make Menace so miserable he’ll set her free but the ruggedly sexy warrior disarms her with his unexpected patience and kindness.

Against her better judgment, Naya surrenders to Menace’s masterful hands and mouth. Submitting to her new husband brings her more pleasure and happiness than she’d ever imagined possible. For the first time in her life, she willingly trusts a man to protect her.

But when Naya’s past misdeeds catch up with her, the depth and strength of their feelings are put to the test. Determined to prove he’s worthy of her trust, Menace will stop at nothing to save her.

Inside Scoop: Our heroine learns to love every decadent delight the hero offers, including BDSM play and a sizzling M/F/M ménage.

 

Available now at Amazon, Ellora’s Cave and All Romance eBooks.
You can read excerpts and teasers here, here and here.

 

Caught By Menace Sneak Peek #3 #Grabbed #sexy #scifi

18 Jun

caughtbymenace_msr

 

Caught By Menace, the second book in the scorching hot scifi erotic romance Grabbed series, releases this Friday, June 21! As links go live on Amazon, B&N, All Romance eBooks and Ellora’s Cave, I’ll make them available here, on my website, on Facebook and Twitter. I know what a pain it is to have to hunt down a link for a book you want to read, like, right now so I’ll make it as easy as possible to find them. 🙂

I’ve offered two sneak peeks of this book here and here. This sexy little scene is the follow up to the second sneak peek from last week, just in case you want to, you know, reread it as a refresher…

 

Excerpt #3

 

Mouth dry, Naya licked her lips and stared right back at Menace. Was he serious? He looked deadly serious. Emphasis on the deadly. She marveled at his thickly corded arms and ridiculously broad chest. With his gray undershirt stretched across his muscled form, he looked a little less intimidating. She noticed the heavy tattoos running from the edge of his neck to his wrist but only on the right side. The long stretch of tanned skin on his left remained unmarked.

“Naya?” he prompted gently and took the flogger from her hand. “What do you say?”

She considered his dare. Multiple orgasms? Surely that couldn’t be true. She had a hard enough time finding one climax on her own and had never been able to find one with a partner. Of course, she’d never had a partner as dangerously sexy as this man. Menace scared her with his hulking size and fierce features, but he exuded such raw sexuality. If any man in the universe could coax two orgasms out of her, it was probably this one.

To be at his mercy terrified her. Could she really trust a man she’d known less than a day to make love to her? She examined his honest face. He’d promised he would never hurt her and she believed him. The way he’d taken down those canes was proof enough of his desire to be good to her. The cynic in her screamed that it was all for show, but she didn’t believe that. He’d come in here with a white flag of surrender. That had to count for something.

Her gaze jumped to the cold metal table where his hand rested. She shook her head. “Not there.”

His eyes widened slightly. He seemed just as surprised by her acceptance of his offer as she was in giving it. Was she really going to do this? Was she really going to let this stranger touch her?

“All right.” Menace gestured around the room. “Pick a spot that seems comfortable.”

Gulping nervously, Naya gripped the tough fabric of the uniform shirt covering her nakedness and scanned the room. She spotted a black couch-like contraption against the other wall. It had a curved shape, the sleek fabric gently sloping and rolling like an S. It looked comfortable enough and as close to a bed as she was going to get. “What about that?”

Menace followed her pointing finger. “I think that’s a perfect choice. Come with me.”

She gazed at his outstretched hand. Asking her to come with him seemed a huge improvement over being Grabbed and tossed over his shoulder. She gathered her courage and placed her hand in his. She gripped his fingers. “Don’t make me regret trusting you.”

His lips twitched in a smile. “Never.”

Naya let him tug her along beside him. When they reached the big curving couch, he dropped her hand and moved to one of the cabinets lining the wall. He dropped the flogger with the wide, soft strands onto the countertop. He opened a bottom door and retrieved a wedge-shaped cushion that he placed in the lowest curve of the couch.

“To support your back,” he explained. “You Calyx women are a lot smaller than our women. So many of our supplies are made with them in mind but the manufacturers are starting to add supplements like these to make them work for your kind.”

Naya anxiously nibbled on her thumb. She’d just noticed the numerous loops adorning the edges of the odd furniture piece. There was only one reason for them and it wasn’t decorative. “Are you going to cuff me again?”

“Why do you sound so worried? You still have that hairpin, right?” Menace glanced at her and smiled as he secured the extra cushion in place. “Do you want me to cuff you?”

She shook her head and pinched the pin between her fingertips. “No.”

“Why not?”

She blinked. “Because it’s weird.”

He frowned at her and gestured for her to hand over the hairpin. She hesitated before giving it to him. He slipped it into his pocket. “Weird? That’s not very helpful. Do you mean uncomfortable? Do you mean frightening?”

“All three,” she replied. “It’s weird that a grown man wants to cuff a woman and restrain her for sex. Where I come from, men restrain women so they can hurt them. It’s as simple as that.”

“But what if I ask for your permission to restrain you and I promise not to hurt you?”

She couldn’t help but laugh. “Are you trying to negotiate with me? You realize that I ran one of the most successful shops in Connor’s Run, right? You can’t beat me when it comes to negotiation.”

Menace looked surprised. “I didn’t know that you were a businesswoman.”

“You didn’t ask.”

He had the decency to look chagrined. “You’re right. What did you sell?”

“Everything and anything I could make a profit on, but my main business was pawning.”

“That’s loaning money, right?”

She nodded. “A customer brings in something of value and asks for a loan. I keep the item until they repay the loan plus a small amount of interest. If they don’t come back for the item, I sell it in my shop. Simple. Easy. Uncomplicated.”

“Were you very wealthy?”

Naya laughed. “Hardly.”

“But you said your business was successful.”

“It was, but the only way to get wealthy on Calyx is to deal dirty and do people wrong. That’s not my style. No, I ran a clean shop and treated my customers right. I earned a comfortable living.”

“What happened to your shop?”

“I sold it the morning they announced the lottery results and had the money transferred to a bank in the city. A friend of mine will transfer it to the colonies in a week’s time.”

His eyebrows arched. “You must really trust this friend to give him complete control of your funds.”

“I do.”

“More than me?”

She eyed him carefully. “You’re not my friend.”

“I could be,” Menace countered. “I could be more than your friend.”

More than her friend? Her lover? Her confidant? Her support system? She doubted any man would ever be able to be all of those things to her. “You’re my captor. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”

Menace grunted in annoyance. “I thought we were past that.”

“How about we go back to your planet and I’ll hunt you down and take you back to Calyx where you’ll be my property. Let’s see how quickly you get beyond that.”

“Fair enough,” he finally conceded. “But we are together now. You’re mine. That collar around your neck makes us mates.”

Naya fingered the offensive circle of white leather. Rather glumly, she said, “Not exactly a silver wedding band, is it?”

Menace instantly perked up. “Would you like one? If it would make things easier between us, I’ll get two in the morning and find someone to perform a ceremony.”

His enthusiastic response shocked her. She hurriedly shot him down. “No, I don’t want to get married.”

His face fell. “I see.”

Seeing the hurt etched on his face made her ache. “No, I don’t think you do. Marriage is forever. It’s a real commitment.”

“I made a real commitment to you the moment I put that collar around your neck.”

“We must have different ideas of what commitment means. Where I come from, it means love and affection and dating and laughter and all that wonderful stuff.” Judging by the look on his face, she was only making things worse by pointing out everything they didn’t share. “Look, I’m sure you’re a nice guy, but I don’t plan to stick around here.”

“Are we back to that? To threats of escape?” He shook his head. “It’s a foolish dream, Naya. No one ever escapes. Ever.” He reached out and grasped her hand. His fingers brushed the raised bump along her wrist where they’d implanted one of their damn ID chips. “You’re being tracked around the clock. You’re on restrictions until I give word to security. You can’t even get out of this room.”

His words circled round and round in her head. The ominous threat left her sick and cold. She snatched her hand away and turned her back on him. “You’re a real miserable bastard, you know that?”

A long, painful moment of silence stretched between them. When Menace’s hands touched her shoulders, she flinched. Dwarfed by his big, hard frame, she couldn’t run. Maybe she didn’t want to run. It was maddening, really. One moment she wanted to bop him right in the nose for being so infuriating. The next she wanted to fall back against him and enjoy the strength of his arms holding her tight.

Menace gently kneaded her tight shoulders, his powerful hands easily manipulating her sore muscles. His body heat penetrated the fabric of the uniform shirt she wore and soothed her raw nerves. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”

“It’s the truth.”

“It is, but now you think I’m a controlling jerk.”

“To be fair, I thought that before you told me about the chip implanted in my wrist.”

He snorted with amusement. “Thanks.”

A white-hot frisson pierced her core as his thumb stroked the side of her neck. Trying to ignore the wonderful sensation he caused, she asked, “Why are you so intent on keeping me? Why not let me go and try again at the next Grab?”

“I want you. I’m keeping you.”

Recalling his ugly remark in the forest, she wondered aloud, “Even though I’m just the consolation prize?”

His hands stilled on her shoulders. With one swift step, he moved in front of her. Hands cupping her face, Menace gazed down at her, his expression one of concern. “Naya, do you think I meant that?”

“You said it,” she snapped back. “I learned a long time ago to believe what people tell you, even if it’s said jokingly.”

“Naya, I was joking. I was smiling when I said it.”

“Yeah, well, I couldn’t exactly see your face, could I?” she grumbled unhappily. “You’d thrown me over your shoulder, remember?”

“Yes.” He exhaled roughly and wiped a hand down his face. “I can’t seem to get anything right with you.”

Naya noticed the vulnerability in his expression. The depth of his remorse left her questioning everything she’d believed about this man and his culture. Sure, he’d Grabbed her, gagged and restrained her in flight and cuffed her to a chair in this torture chamber, but he hadn’t shown her any violence, not even when she’d struck him first. She’d been rude and nasty and had verbally abused him so badly his fellow soldiers had been laughing openly—and still he hadn’t raised his voice with her.

It occurred to her that maybe she was the one who had everything wrong. All along she had considered escaping to the colonies was the ultimate goal in her life, that only in Jesco or Safe Harbor could she find happiness. What if she’d been wrong? What if Danny’s tale of the Artist who was Grabbed living a life of luxury and happiness was true? What if this was her chance?

Fingers trembling, she placed a hand on Menace’s chest. His pale eyes flashed with uncertainty. Considering how badly she had behaved, he probably thought she was going to strike him or try to shove him backward to flee. She held his gaze and rose on tiptoes to kiss him. He was still much too tall for her to reach his mouth but he got the message and dipped his head.

Their lips finally touched. The bright burst of bliss filled her chest with such warmth. For the first time since meeting Menace, she relaxed completely. His lips were softer than she’d expected and moved gently across hers. She put her other hand on his chest and gripped the thin fabric of his undershirt. His scent, completely natural and unadorned, filled her nose. He smelled of man and soap and nothing else.

As if he feared spooking her, Menace cautiously placed his hands on her neck and face. He caressed her skin with his callused fingers. The rough sensation of his fingertips gliding over her neck and cheek ignited her desire. She couldn’t remember ever being this aroused by a man. Maybe it was the danger of the unknown or the primal maleness of Menace, but she practically vibrated with lust.

His tongue stabbed between her lips. She welcomed the invasion with a swipe of her own. His heavy breaths fanned her face. Their tongues dueled, but Naya quickly realized this was a battle she wasn’t going to win. She didn’t want to win it. For the first time in her life, she wanted to give up control.

“Menace…” She breathed his name as need gripped her.

“Tell me I can have you,” he instructed, his voice husky. “Give me permission to have you, Naya.”

She didn’t think twice. “Yes.”

 

 

Barnes & Noble Shenanigans

24 May

So B&N is up to their tricks again. Not only have they (allegedly) routinely added 1000+ rankings to sexy romances and erotica to keep them out of the bestseller lists, but now they seem to have (allegedly)  instituted some weird sort of block that keeps romance novels (and maybe only indie published romance novels?) from rising above a 125 rank in their store.

This obviously makes no sense from a reader standpoint. I mean, if I’m cruising the bestseller lists for a good book, I want to see the bestsellers according to other readers–not the bestsellers according to B&N’s marketing department.

Yes, I have noticed that my erotica published as Lolita or Roxie Rivera was routinely “penalized” by being pushed down the bestseller lists any time a book gained momentum. I rolled my eyes and let it go because, like, what can do you? But now Barnes & Noble has yanked ALL but two of my books (traditionally/commercially published and indie published) from their NOOK UK store. I didn’t know it was happening until I started getting emails from readers in the UK asking about Grabbed By Vicious for NOOK or IVAN and DIMITRI from the Her Russian Protector series.

Yo! Vicious! Where you at?

Yo! Vicious! Where you at?

You can imagine my confusion when I did a search on the NOOK UK store and realized that only two of my books (YURI and REFUGE) are available to readers. I don’t know why those two books survived but they’re there. REFUGE was categorized as space opera by the publisher and I categorized YURI as romantic suspense instead of erotic romance because it’s steamy but not super sexy. Maybe they managed to escape an aggressive filter? I really don’t know.

Sexy billionaire Russian playboy = okay. Sexy alpha male in space = not okay?

Sexy billionaire Russian playboy = okay. Sexy alpha male in space = not okay?

So–huge apologies to readers in the UK who want to buy books for their Nooks but can’t. As usual, Barnes & Noble is sending canned responses. If/When these books are available again, I’ll be sure to update with that news. Until then, you can buy epub versions of all of my indie pubbed books via KOBO (Lolita and Roxie,) Smashwords (Lolita and Roxie) and All Romance eBooks (Lolita and Roxie). Most of my traditionally/commercially published books are available through All Romance eBooks, KOBO or Apple in epub. The bookshelf pages on my websites have those links.

If you’d like to read more about this debacle and B&N’s history of (allegedly) manipulating the bestseller lists and rankings, please read Maya Cross’ excellent post on Goodreads and Hugh Howey’s rundown of the situation (and the comments! where bestselling authors like Jamie McGuire and Liliana Hart explain how their books were “hidden” from readers by rank manipulation.)

Men of Grabbed #sexy #scifi #EllorasCave

14 Apr

First–I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you to all the readers who have discovered and enjoyed Grabbed By Vicious. You have no idea how amazing it feels to have so many of you finding me here, my website or Facebook. I love every single message and email I receive!

There have been quite a few questions about the other men in the series–and the answer is yes! They’ll all have books. Caught By Menace is currently in edits with Ellora’s Cave and I’ve finished a third of Venom. I plan to write Raze’s story this year and part of Cipher’s as well. Yes–Terror has a book!

Oh–and the Barnes and Noble thing. There was some sort of distributor snafu there and it should show up any day. You can grab an epub copy from Ellora’s Cave or All Romance eBooks–but I know how inconvenient it is to have to sideload a book so I sympathize with Nook readers’ frustrations. (Looks like Vicious is part of the rebate deal at ARe right now! Hot damn, I love a good sale! 🙂 )

I’ve created a new page on my website for the men of the Grabbed universe–Men of Grabbed. There are sexy pics of ridiculously hot man chests (delish!) and character backgrounds for the men in the books I’ve already contracted or will be shortly contracting with Ellora’s Cave.

Again–huge thanks to all the readers who have fallen in love with Vicious and Hallie. As a writer, there’s no better feeling than realizing readers love a couple as much as you do!

 

 

New Release: Grabbed By Vicious #scifi #sexy #romance

29 Mar

grabbedbyvicious_msr

Grabbed By Vicious released this morning! It’s already available at Ellora’s Cave and Amazon. It should roll out to B&N and other retailers by the end of the day. This is the first book in my new GRABBED series from Ellora’s Cave. Super hot alpha males. Wickedly smart, feisty heroines. Some light bondage and BDSM. And it’s all happening in space!

Hallie has never run so fast in her life. One of the frightening sky warriors from the warship Valiant is hot on her heels and intent on capturing her as his bride. He takes her down, places his collar around her neck. With one word, he claims her.

Mine.

Born and bred for the military, Vicious has spent years rising through the ranks. Hallie is his reward, the beautiful sprite ensnaring him with a glance.

Despite her fear of Vicious, Hallie surrenders under his skillful hands and mouth. If she’ll submit, he promises pleasure and comfort. After a lifetime of hardship, his offer tempts her greatly.

One night with Hallie and Vicious feels his protective instincts flaring. He’ll do anything to make her happy and keep her safe, even if that means surrendering his heart. Though he intended to master her, Vicious realizes it may be his sweet Hallie who masters him.

You can read the first chapter of GRABBED BY VICIOUS here and here. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Grabbed By Vicious Sneak Peek #2 #scifi #capture #romance

22 Mar

 

Last week, I offered a sneak peek of GRABBED BY VICIOUS, the first book in my new GRABBED series from Ellora’s Cave. This week, I’m offering the second half of that sexy scene! The book releases next Friday, March 29! I’m so excited. 🙂

BLURB

Hallie has never run so fast in her life. One of the frightening sky warriors from the warship Valiant is hot on her heels and intent on capturing her as his bride. He takes her down, places his collar around her neck. With one word, he claims her.

Mine.

Born and bred for the military, Vicious has spent years rising through the ranks. Hallie is his reward, the beautiful sprite ensnaring him with a glance.

Despite her fear of Vicious, Hallie surrenders under his skillful hands and mouth. If she’ll submit, he promises pleasure and comfort. After a lifetime of hardship, his offer tempts her greatly.

One night with Hallie and Vicious feels his protective instincts flaring. He’ll do anything to make her happy and keep her safe, even if that means surrendering his heart. Though he intended to master her, Vicious realizes it may be his sweet Hallie who masters him.

 

 

grabbedbyvicious_msr

 

EXCERPT

Vicious had never known such excitement or happiness. In all his life, moments of true joy had been few and fleeting. He’d been born and bred for the hard life of a soldier. From the earliest age, he’d experienced only violence and austerity. Now, many years later, he’d finally been given his reward.

And what a thing of beauty she was! He gazed at her sweet face, her cheeks and ears still ruddy from exertion. She had the softest brown eyes, their color reminiscent of the alcoholic drink he sometimes enjoyed in the evenings. She had nice curves and lean muscle. Her small breasts strained against her damp shirt. He normally preferred women with ample breasts and big hips but he decided he liked this woman’s thinner frame just as well.

Those short legs of her were something else! He’d never seen a woman run so fast. She was small and lithe, her movements so graceful and sure. Clearly she’d been training for this. The uncertainty of the chase had excited him. He’d been expecting a slow-moving race. He’d never considered they would get more than a few hundred yards into the woods, yet this little rabbit had evaded him for nearly two miles. They’d long since left behind the other participants.

Watching her leap over downed trees and hop from boulder to boulder had reassured him that she was exactly the kind of woman he needed. He’d experienced a great deal of worry when she’d grabbed that rope to swing across the stream like some kind of jungle creature. He’d known real panic when he’d fallen. It wasn’t that he was afraid he’d be hurt. He’d taken much worse falls in battle. No, he’d been certain his mistake would make it easier for her to reach the safe zone—and then what?

From the moment he’d first spied her, he’d known no other woman would ever come close to surpassing her. He couldn’t simply enter another Grab in another of the planet’s villages or The City and find a different bride. This little one was it, even though she was nothing like the imaginary woman he’d conjured in his mind as a potential target. He’d come to her planet, a place renowned for its docile beauties, in search of a blonde-haired buxom woman of a certain age.

Instead, he’d been ensnared by this dark-haired pixie.

Before the Grab began, the women chosen by the lottery had been penned in the town square. The day’s race route had been pasted to a kiosk there. She’d been the first woman to leave the penned herd to study the boundaries and find the safe zone. Unlike the handful of women who’d joined her, she’d actually had plans in motion. The others stared at the map in confusion and fear. Not this one, though. He’d recognized the focused expression on her face as one he and his comrades had often worn. She was strategizing in much the same way he had when looking at battle plans.

In that moment, he’d recognized her intelligence and ingenuity. Choosing a bride by looks and from a distance had its hazards. Most men picked a woman who was sexy or attractive in some specific way and followed her into the woods. For a man like Vicious, his needs were a bit more complex. He could get a pretty face at any sky port brothel. No, he needed a woman capable of breeding strong, intelligent children, especially sons to fill the ranks of the Harcos forces.

He’d always assumed a blonde woman close to his height and in her late twenties to early thirties would be his ideal mate. Instead, he’d claimed the absolute opposite. He supposed there was no denying the call of biology. Something in him recognized this dark-haired sprite as his match.

Vicious fingered the collar he’d placed around her neck. Mine. He’d never really owned anything in his life. For the first time, he had something that was truly his alone. No one could take her from him. No one could touch her without his consent—and that would never be given. Some men allowed their friends to share their mates but not Vicious. This creature was precious to him. Her body would know only the touch of his hands and his mouth, just as he would know only hers from this moment forward.

The tips of his black gloves slid through the shiny wetness spreading across her cheeks. It pained him to see her crying but he wasn’t surprised by it. Not all women reacted with enthusiasm at being Grabbed. The lottery system supporting the ritual made it difficult to weed out the women who truly wanted to be here and the ones who were forced.

As a warrior, he could understand the pain of being conquered. Though he’d never been captured, he’d seen the defeat in the eyes of the insurgents and even some of the more primitive, monstrous aliens he’d bested. His little mate, so brilliant and sweet, had fought so bravely but lost to a superior opponent. There was no shame in this, but she wasn’t battle hardened and didn’t understand such things. He would allow her this moment of sadness.

He sat back on his heels and studied her small form. He caressed her arms, his gloved hands gliding up and down her sweat-slicked skin. The thin fabric of her shirt bunched up around her shoulders as he swept his hands along her arms. He wasn’t sure what to say that would make her feel better. He’d claimed her and there was no going back. “What’s your name?”

“Hallie.” Her voice wobbled. Her hands now free, she wiped at her face. “And you?”

He wrapped some of her silky brown hair around his fingers. She wore her hair a bit shorter than most women on this planet, the wavy locks only reaching her shoulders. “Vicious.”

“Oh god.”

Her eyes widened in terror. He tried not to chuckle at her unfounded fear. The name he’d been given at his pinning ceremony had been one bestowed upon him by the staff of the military academy and wasn’t of his own choosing. Every graduating class had a theme of names. His year had been a particularly violent theme.

He touched her face again, his black gloves so stark against her paler skin. “Don’t fear me, Hallie. I may be vicious on the battlefield but you will never know that side of me.”

She eyed him warily. She didn’t believe him. That much was clear. Vicious vowed to show her that he could be kind and gentle.

She worked up the courage to ask, “What happens now?”

He reached down, grasped her by the waist and hauled her off the ground. She stiffened when he draped her over his shoulder but didn’t fight him. Her submission pleased him greatly. He rubbed her lower back and settled his arm across her thighs, clamping her in place as he carried her. “We go home.”