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Caught By Menace Sneak Peek #2 #Grabbed #sexy #scifi

13 Jun

caughtbymenace_msr

Caught By Menace, the second book in my wickedly hot scifi romance GRABBED series, releases from Ellora’s Cave on June 21, 2013. I posted the first sneak peek last week. You can read it here. And now for sneak peek #2!

Blurb

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.

Excerpt

Nearing the door to his playroom, Menace realized Naya was being awfully quiet. The fine hairs on the back of his neck stood on edge. He tapped the door frame, activating the mechanism that pulled it wide open, and stepped into the room. The sight that greeted him left his mouth gaping wide open. “How the hell did you get loose?”

“Oh, nice of you to come check on me now!’ She shot an angry glare his way. With one ankle still cuffed to the chair where he’d placed her after her shower, Naya frantically worked to pick the lock. “What if I’d passed out chained to this chair?”

“There are sensors in the cuffs. They measure your pulse and respiratory rate. If you’d been in any distress, I would have been alerted.” Menace shook himself from the stupor of finding her nearly free. “How the hell—”

“For a soldier, you’re really bad at frisking.” She stuck out her tongue at him. “Always check the cheek, Menace. You’d be surprised how easy it to hide something like, oh, a hairpin, in there.”

He remembered the small black pins she’d been wearing in her hair during the Grab. He’d been sure he’d taken them all when he’d pushed her into the bathroom for her shower. Apparently he’d been wrong.

In a flash, she worked the final cuff free and jumped to her feet. She raised her hands as if prepared to fight him. “Get back, Menace!”

“Or what?” He laughed and shut the door. He pressed his thumb to the keypad there, activating the biometric lock. “You’ll stab me with a hairpin?”

She glared at him, her dark eyes flashing with such intense hatred. “Don’t tempt me.” She snatched up the chair and wielded it like a bat. “Maybe I’ll knock you upside the head with a chair. How does that sound?”

“Like first-degree assault,” he muttered.

“Exactly! Now get my clothes and get the hell out of my way.”

Menace let his interested gaze rake her naked form. His cock instantly responded to the sight of so much silky brown flesh. The memory of her struggling beneath him in the forest sent heat rolling through his stomach. So small and hot, her body had instantly called to him. The sight of her naked skin made his heart race.

Her perky breasts heaved with every shallow breath. Her nipples had drawn tight to dusky peaks. Not from arousal, of course. Fear. Cold. All those things could elicit the same response.

His needy gaze moved lower. His fingers just itched to ride the gentle slope of her curving waist to her full hips and thighs. Though petite, she carried more weight than most of the women he’d seen from her planet. She had the sweetest curves he’d ever seen. What he wouldn’t do for the chance to worship between her thighs.

“Are you deaf? Where the fuck are my clothes?”

Her waspish tongue ripped him from his lusty thoughts. Frowning, he said, “They’re in the laundry. I’ll give you clean clothes in the morning. If you cooperate,” he added, figuring this might be one of the few bargaining chips in his arsenal.

“Cooperate?” She scoffed loudly and let the chair drop with a noisy clatter. She gestured to the wall of implements he’d so carefully organized. Some of the floggers and crops and canes he’d had for years. Others, like the gags and clamps and toys, he’d chosen in preparation for bringing home a new wife. “Look, I don’t know what you think is going to happen tonight, but I’ll tell you this, Menace. The only person getting their ass beat tonight is you.”

And there it was. Under all that bravado, she was afraid. She was scared. Of me.

The knowledge hit him hard. Realizing he’d gone about this all wrong, Menace quickly reassured her. “Naya, I told you earlier today that I will never hurt you. I meant that. Never will my hand or any of those things,” he pointed to the wall, “touch you without your consent.”

“Well, don’t hold your breath! My consent to be battered and abused will never come.”

“Battered? Abused?” He reeled in shock at her strong language. “Naya, domestic discipline and a little rough love between a husband and his wife is not abuse. So long as there is consent,” he added. “It’s sexy. It’s exciting. It’s intimate and loving.”

“Sexy? Intimate? Loving?” Eyes wide, she vehemently shook her head. “I’m sorry but this torture chamber isn’t inspiring any feelings of sexiness or intimacy.”

“That’s because I’ve screwed this up,” Menace admitted. He took a cautious step forward. “I should never have followed the usual protocol for claiming a wife. I should have done this differently.” He exhaled roughly and ran his fingers through his hair. “Can we just—can we call a time-out here?”

Her expression softened. The fists that had been raised and ready to pummel him slowly dropped. “All right.”

“Thank you.”

She gestured to his hand. “Why the hell are you carrying around a sock?”

He glanced at the white sock and sheepishly smiled. “I came in here hoping to offer you a truce. I didn’t have anything else white in my quarters.”

Surprise filtered across her beautiful face. “A truce? Why?”

“Because this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, Naya. I don’t want a war with you. That’s the very last thing I want from you.”

She swallowed hard. “What do you want from me, Menace?”

“I want…” He faltered and search for the right words. “I want a wife and a family. I want you to be here when I come home in the evenings, Naya. I’ve spent the last twenty-four years of my life training, fighting, training some more and trying not to get killed. I’ve earned the right to some comfort, to some happiness. I want—I want that with you. Let me make you happy.”

She moved closer, the caginess gone from her once-mistrusting gaze. Now she looked at him with sadness in her dark eyes. “That’s not the way happiness works, Menace. The people in a relationship have to be happy by themselves before they can be happy together.” She hesitated. “Are you happy, Menace?”

“I am,” he replied honestly.

“But?”

“But I’m lonely,” he admitted, baring his secret to her. “Were you happy in Connor’s Run?”

“Most of the time,” she confirmed.

“But?”

“But it’s a hard life down there on Calyx,” she said.

Menace seized his opening. “I can give you a better, easier life here, Naya. You’ll never be hungry. You’ll never be cold. You’ll have access to medicine and technology. You’ll never be alone again. I will take care of you.”

“Why?”

“Because owning a wife, mastering a woman, it’s a precious thing. It’s the one thing I’ve strived for all these years. Owning you is my reward.”

Her voice grew tight and annoyed. “I don’t want to be owned.”

He understood her frustration with her new classification. “The laws are the laws, Naya. I own you now, but that doesn’t mean you’re property. It simply means that I’m responsible for you. I will never treat you any differently.”

“Yeah, sure you won’t.”

“I won’t,” he insisted.

“You own me, Menace. We’re different.”

“On paper,” he said. “In real life, it’s nothing like that. Don’t think of yourself as being owned. Think of yourself as my partner.”

“Your partner?” she repeated in disbelief. “You just said that mastering me is something precious. How can we be partners if you’re my master?”

“I want to be your master when we’re in here or in my—our—bedroom. The rest of our relationship would be equal.”

She rubbed her cheek and shook her head. “I don’t understand, Menace. It doesn’t make sense to me.”

“It’s because we’re from two vastly different cultures.” His gaze skipped around the playroom as he tried to think of a way to explain this to her. Noticing the way she rubbed her upper arms, he unbuttoned his uniform shirt and slipped it off his shoulders. “Here. Take this. You’re cold.”

She eyed the offered shirt for a distrusting moment before finally taking it. “Don’t think this is winning you any favors.”

He chuckled softly. “Believe me, Naya. I’m starting to understand just how hard I’m going to have to work to earn your trust.”

“Good luck,” she said grumpily and slipped into his shirt. “That extra appendage between your legs has automatically put you on my shit list.”

He grimaced. “Could we maybe tone down the language a bit?”

She blinked at him. “You have a problem with cursing?”

“I do.”

“But you’re a soldier. You’re, like, a soulless killing machine. You hunted me down like a rabbit and dragged me back to your ship like a prize. I’m supposed to believe someone cold enough to do that to me doesn’t like to hear a good fuck you once in a while?”

He gritted his teeth at her description of him. “I am not a soulless killing machine. Every single life I’ve taken in battle has stayed with me.” He tapped his chest. “I carry the horror of war with me every day. It’s not a game to me, Naya.”

Her cheeks flushed with embarrassment as she finished buttoning the shirt. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”

He sighed and slashed his hand through the air. “It’s fine. It’s forgotten. I’m sure you’ve spent most of your life hearing awful things about my people.”

She nodded. “So far most of them have proven true.”

He followed her gaze to the wall of impact-play implements. Remembering her earlier statement, he clarified, “This isn’t a torture chamber, Naya. This is a playroom.”

“Playroom?” She laughed. “I think words may not have the same meaning in your culture as they do in mine. A playroom is where kids keep their toys.”

“Well, this is a playroom for adults. These are our toys.”

“Your toys, maybe,” she replied hotly. Pointing at the wall, she said, “I am brutally aware of what those felt like on my bare ass. I assure you there was nothing playful about it, Menace.”

His gaze moved to the thin, snappy cane. “You’ve been caned?”

“Yep.”

“By a lover?”

She snorted. “By a principal and a teacher.” She pointed out a long leather strap. “My mother was rather fond of one of those.”

He was taken aback by the idea she’d been struck by her mother and in school. “Your teachers hit you?”

She stared at him as if he were the dumbest man in the universe. “Well, yeah. It’s called corporal punishment, Menace. You know, that thing you want to do to me.”

“No,” he said quickly. “I don’t want to beat you as punishment. What adults do in the privacy of their playrooms is in no way comparable to a grown adult beating on an innocent child.”

“To be fair, I wasn’t always innocent.”

Menace grunted in irritation. “It doesn’t matter. We don’t strike children in my culture.”

“But you go to military school at like, five, right? You honestly expect me to believe no one at the academy ever knocked you around?”

He shook his head. “Never. Not once.”

“You were obviously luckier than me.”

He was beginning to see that. Her obstinate behavior made more sense. “Why did your teachers strike you?”

She shrugged. “Sometimes it was for fighting. Most of the time it was for code infractions. My mom…” Her voice trailed off to nothing. “I didn’t always have a clean uniform for school. That was a big no-no. I finally figured out how to do my own laundry. Then, after my dad died, I missed a lot of school or I was late. Eventually I just decided it was easier to leave school than have a permanently black-and-blue ass.”

Menace let that tiny glimpse into her childhood sink in and take hold. The similarities to Hallie’s miserable childhood were so obvious. He finally understood why Vicious had taken such a drastically different route with Hallie—and why he was so overly protective of her.

Wordlessly, Menace strode to the wall and started yanking down the canes and crops and striking implements. He stuffed them in one of the drawers in the corner cabinet. Glancing back at the wall, he spotted the floggers. Those would have to go  too.

“What are you doing?”

He started to take down the floggers. “I’m putting away the things that scare you. There’s no reason to keep them out if I’m not going to use them.”

She stepped forward and hesitantly touched one of the soft tendrils of a flogger crafted for teasing and warming up a sub. “Why do you do it?”

The siren call of her body heat filled him with need. This was the closest they’d been without cursing or fighting. Calm and curious, she tempted him even more. He couldn’t help but compare her to the friend who had escaped him. He’d considered that one the epitome of his desires. Standing this close to Naya, gazing down into her dark eyes and breathing in her scent, he realized his first instinct had been dead wrong. It wasn’t the docile, sweet thing he needed. It was this young woman, this spitfire who drove him crazy.

“It’s our way,” he said finally.

She frowned at him. “What does that mean?”

“It means that our women are different than yours.” He placed his armful of floggers on the nearby restraint table. He selected the one she’d touched, the easy warm-up flogger, and handed it to her. “This is a flogger. It’s used for hitting fleshy parts.”

“Fleshy parts?”

“Buttocks, thighs, breasts…”

“I see.”

“There’s some new research that shows that the biochemical makeup of our Harcos women is vastly different than yours. Your bodies react much differently to endorphins, adrenaline and oxytocin.”

She glanced away from him. “I don’t really understand what that means. I never—I didn’t finish school, remember?”

His gut clenched at the shame filling her voice. Daring to touch her, he tipped her chin and forced her to meet his gaze. “It’s all right. You may not have book smarts, but you clearly have street smarts.”

She didn’t pull away from his touch. “You learn quickly how to survive. I can do math and I can read, obviously. I just don’t have much of a science background.”

“Would you like one?”

She looked surprised. “What do you mean?”

“Some of the wives have lobbied for a school program. It starts in a few weeks, I think. I’m sure Hallie can fill you in on the details.”

“Hallie?”

“My friend’s wife,” he explained. “She was Grabbed six months ago. She’s from Harper’s Well. That’s close to you, right?”

She made a face. “It’s nearby—and a hellhole. I mean, even when my life was at its shi—crappiest,” she hastily corrected, “I gave thanks that I wasn’t born in Harper’s Well.”

His lips twitched with amusement at the way she’d skipped over the profanity. There was hope for her yet.

“So tell me about these endorphins,” she instructed.

He let his fingers drop from her chin. “Women from our planet require pain to find pleasure. It’s just the way their body chemistry works. It might be something as simple as a nipple pinch to send them over the edge into climax. It might even require something as hard as a thorough caning and predicament bondage. But your women?” He eyed her carefully. “Your bodies respond much more quickly and easily to pleasure.”

“I guess.” The prettiest shade of pink colored the very tips of her ears. She kept her gaze averted and gestured with the flogger. “So people—my people—really enjoy this?”

“So far,” he confirmed. “The locker room talk is that most of your women enjoy multiple orgasms under the hands of their mates.”

Her shocked gaze snapped to his face. “Multiple? Is that even—I mean—no way, right? That has to be bullshit tall tales between friends.”

Menace decided it was now or never. He fingered one of the long, wide strands of the flogger and held her disbelieving gaze. “Let me show you how good I can make you feel, Naya. Hop up on that table and give me an hour. We’ll test out the locker room stories.”

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

15 Mar

grabbedbyvicious_msr

GRABBED BY VICIOUS releases on March 29 from Ellora’s Cave. This is the first book in my new GRABBED series.

In this scifi erotic romance series, Earth descendants who limped into a far corner of the galaxy on generational ships were given refuge and Calyx, a planet of their own, by the Harcos, the dominant, powerful race that controls the solar system. Now, many years later, a civil war rages among the Harcos. The battleship Valiant has been sent to patrol the area around the planet Calyx. Aboard this ship are some of the most vicious and battle-hardened men of their generation–and they’re all looking for wives.

The big, sexy sky warriors earn points through valor in battle. With enough points, they’re eligible to enter the Grabs, a race where young, unmarried women chosen by their village lotteries try to outrun them. Very few succeed but Halllie wants to be one of them.

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.

Inside Scoop: Our heroine endures trials and mild violence with strength equal to that of her warrior mate. (She also endures a collar and light BDSM, but she quickly learns to like that part.)

EXCERPT

She’d never run so fast in her life. Lungs burning and ribs aching, Hallie leapt over a downed log and hit the mossy ground running. Her heart raced as she sprinted through the woods.

She couldn’t get caught. She had to evade the wild-eyed, vicious-looking man hot on her tail.

Her gaze darted around the forest for natural markers. She’d studied the grid all morning and had mentally mapped out various routes through the woods, all of them leading her straight to the safe zone. If she reached that space of refuge first, she couldn’t be Grabbed, couldn’t be claimed by one of those fearsome warriors from the sky ships.

Panic gripped her belly at the sound of snapping twigs and rustling brush behind her. She kicked up her pace, bare feet pounding the ground even quicker. Though her thighs and calves were on fire, she had to go faster. She might collapse when she reached the safe zone but that was better than being captured by that blue-eyed devil.

They were a strange people, these Harcos warriors. Unlike her ancestors who had arrived in this star system aboard a generational ship from Earth, the Harcos people were native to this sector. They were a warrior race of incredibly technologically advanced humans. They were larger than the average Earth descendant and ascribed to a rigid, militaristic society.

But they’d given Hallie’s ancestors this small planet named Calyx. Instead of firing upon the generational ship that had limped into their solar system, they’d rendered aid and brought her ancestors here to this beautiful, wild place. They’d established a sort of quarantine around the planet and viewed those Earth pioneers as an endangered species of sorts. No one came on to the planet, and no one got off, for nearly four hundred years.

Until the war raging in the system spilled on to Calyx and the insurgents came…

Hallie’s ears perked to the crunch of twigs and ground cover under heavy boots. She gulped but kept running. The image of the massive warrior made her belly tremble.

She’d noticed him watching her from the dais before the Grab began. One glimpse of the white-haired man who towered over the others had struck fear in her heart. She’d never seen a shade of hair that pale on a man in his prime, nor had she ever seen arms so thick and corded. The all-black military garb didn’t do much to soften his intimidating image. She’d noticed the insignia on the left side of his chest. He wasn’t a mere soldier. The man was an officer, which meant he was the most ruthless of the ruthless, one so brutal and vicious he’d managed to survive countless battles and proved himself more merciless than the other men.

And he wanted her.

She’d known the second their gazes clashed that he was going to chase her. Her only advantage? Her small size and speed. All those late-night runs for the political dissidents who called themselves Red Feather, and the early morning training runs, had finally paid off. She’d always known this day would arrive and had always known her only chance to escape her village and this backward planet was to survive the Grab, earn her rights as a free woman and buy passage on a transport ship to the colonies.

Of course, she hadn’t planned on it happening so soon. She had her sister to thank for this nightmare, but those troubling thoughts could wait. Right now, Hallie had to focus on survival and evasion.

In the distance, she heard a squeal of excitement. She wasn’t surprised. Most of the women chosen in the lottery saw it as a stroke of good luck. They’d twittered excitedly when rounded up this morning and placed in the pen hastily constructed in the village center. The men from the sky ships Valiant and Arctis who had earned enough points to participate in the mating ritual had stood atop a raised stage to survey the stock. They’d leered down into the pen in search of the tastiest morsels. Hallie and a few of the other women who shared her view of the barbaric Grab ritual had kept their gazes fixed on the race grids.

She understood why some women viewed the Grab as an exciting prospect. Life in Harper’s Well wasn’t exactly hell, but it wasn’t an easy existence. Backbreaking labor in the fields and the monotony of housekeeping and childrearing seemed never-ending. The town council enforced an agrarian, pacifist and natural lifestyle. In exchange for protection from the horrors lurking in this end of the galaxy, they had agreed to provide the more superior Harcos race with food, other goods and women for breeding.

The life expectancy for a woman in Harper’s Well was incredibly low. It wasn’t much better in The City. Her own mother had died at just thirty-four years of age from a complicated labor. She’d lost the baby too. Hallie didn’t think she’d ever forget the bloody scene or the screams of agony wrenched from her mother’s throat as the baby descended breech. If they’d lived in The City, or even the outlying outer space colonies, in places where medicine and science were encouraged and actively practiced, her mother would have lived. Here, though, there were no hospitals and no doctors. To even consider such a thing was akin to heresy.

Hallie wanted to escape all that. Watching her mother die a senseless death had shown her what lay ahead in her future. If she wasn’t Grabbed by a Harcos warrior, she’d end up married to a farmer and have ten children by thirty, if labor and delivery or some other illness didn’t kill her first. Her daughters would endure the same fate. There were no universities. There was no freedom of choice.

But the stories she’d heard about what happened to the women taken away to the sky ships terrified Hallie even more than the idea of facing a bleak future here. Belonging to one of those ruthless killing machines was too frightening. No. She had to win this race. She had to escape the Grab zone and reach safe territory.

A menacing laugh echoed in the wilderness. Eyes wide, she glanced over her shoulder and spotted the blue-eyed, white-haired man. He flashed his teeth in a grin and sprinted toward her. Her stomach lurched. She raced forward. “No!”

Her gaze scanned for some place to hide, some way to escape this man’s clutches. There was nowhere to go. Even if she climbed a tree, she was sure he’d follow—or simply knock it over. The man was built like a bull. Knowing her luck, he’d probably throw his shoulder against a tree trunk and uproot it with little effort.

The fine hairs on her arms and the back of her neck stood on edge. She gritted her teeth as panic started to take hold. Adrenaline saturated her blood stream. She had to get away. She had to—

“Oof!”

Two burly arms wrapped around her waist and lifted her from the ground. She screamed and kicked, refusing to be taken quietly. Her violent thrashing knocked her captor off balance. He started to fall forward and she flinched, certain she was about to be smashed between his huge body and the hard ground. Instead, he spun and bore the brunt of their impact. They bounced twice and skidded a few inches on the grass.

Something primal ignited in her brain. He’d gone down. She was on top. She had to escape.

She slammed both elbows into his chest and scrambled free from his grasp. She slipped and barely evaded his clutching fingers.

In an instant, he was on his feet and chasing after her again. She jumped a couple of logs and decided a zigzag pattern was in her best interest. She just had to keep him at bay a little longer.

The sight of the small stream up ahead filled her with dread. It was just deep enough to slow her down if she waded into it and tried to swim, but it wasn’t very wide. She eyed the ancient tree she’d played in as a child. The old knotted rope they’d all used to launch themselves into the water still hung there.

Not bothering to slow down, she leapt onto one of the boulders they’d used as a diving board and snatched the rope. Her momentum carried her forward. She held tight to the rope and prayed it would sling her close enough to the other side. It was going to be a nasty jump but she didn’t have a choice.

Hallie let go of the rope and flew like one of the tree squirrels she’d laughed at as a child. She hit the opposite bank at an odd angle. Mud squished between her bare toes. She tumbled forward but quickly regained her balance and started to run.

The sound of a branch snapping seized her attention. She glanced over her shoulder just in time to see the man falling into the stream as the rope slackened. At any other time she would have laughed her ass off at the sight, but right now it was her only chance to get free. Falling into the stream and swimming to the other side would slow him down.

She rushed into the forest, her mind racing as she compared the natural markers to the map of the Grab zone. She realized how close she was to freedom. It spurred her onward. Her entire body ached but she pushed through the pain. Better to endure one night of discomfort than a lifetime of misery with that monstrous man.

She burst through the tree line and spied the roped-off area denoting the safe zone in the distance. Hope exploded in her chest. I’m going to make it!

In the next instant, all that hope was dashed.

Somehow, her would-be captor had caught up with her. He grabbed her again, this time taking her to the ground with finesse. His soaking-wet clothing hadn’t slowed him down much.

Now the cold wetness seeped through her thin shirt and shorts. She fought him every inch of the way to the grass. Even when he pinned her smaller body beneath his, those strong thighs clamped on either side of her waist, she twisted and snarled. She tried to slap him but he was too quick. He snatched her wrist and yanked her arm above her head. He hastily secured her other wrist in the same big hand.

When he leaned forward, she held her breath, certain he was going to hit her. She’d heard the stories of their brutality. After the way she’d fought him—and nearly won—she supposed she’d probably wounded his pride. Eyes closed, she waited for that first strike, certain the pain would be unlike any she’d ever felt from her father’s fist.

But it never came. Instead, the most shocking and unexpected thing happened.

He laughed.

Her eyes popped open at the rich, rough baritone. He’d tossed back his head as he laughed, his neck elongated and the smallest hint of a tattoo peeking out from his shirt collar. When he gazed down at her again, it wasn’t with derision or anger. It was amusement that glinted in those pale blue eyes. He stroked her cheek with his fingers, the rough fabric of his black gloves rasping her skin. “My god, but you were worth the chase.”

Hallie didn’t know what to say to that. He was glad she’d almost beaten him?

“I’ve never felt more alive in my life,” he admitted. He lowered his face until it was mere inches from hers. He studied her intently. “You’re so beautiful.” Then with a twitch of his lips, he added, “But I think you’re going to cause me a great deal of trouble.”

“Let me go,” she begged.

“Never.”

“You don’t want me. I’m not the docile kind of woman your people prefer.”

“Oh, I know.” His lips ghosted across her cheek. “You’re exactly what I want, though.”

She closed her eyes and tried to ignore the strange heat blossoming in her lower belly as his lips moved across her skin. Keenly aware of his strength, she tried to remain perfectly still. So far, he seemed amused with her. She didn’t want to anger him.

“Look at me,” he ordered, his voice gruffer now.

She didn’t dare ignore him. He pulled something from his pocket.

Hallie shuddered in revulsion at the sight of the simple white collar with its silver latch. “No. Please.”

“Sh,” he whispered. His lips, surprisingly soft and gentle, pressed against hers in a chaste kiss. She tried to struggle beneath him but he was just too powerful. The collar encircled her neck, not very tightly, and locked into place. Silent tears dripped from her eyes and spilled onto her cheeks as his lips hovered near her ear.

“Mine.”

***Swing by next Friday, March 22, for the second half of this hot opening scene!***