Book One of
As embattled worlds welcome a long-awaited cease-fire, High Commander Ty Draycie seeks evidence against a rebel force undermining his family’s rule of their growing kingdom. Under royal insistence, he takes along on his mission a gorgeous, raven-tressed alien priestess who will serve as lure for a traitor. Disbelieving space tales of shape-shifters, Ty’s mind is filled with want for the pink-eyed witch.
Priestess Zia Valentis has lost much to this shaky new peace. Now a genocidal monster hunts her. Her defense awaits in the majestic white tigress, the priestess’s companion-spirit in the Second Universe. Safety lay in the virile high commander’s guard, but falling into his sensuous temptation will cost her the sacred shift forever. Could she steal Ty’s healthy genes for her dying world without suffering his great power to smash her plans?
The vicious Desert Viper gives chase, ready to eliminate the shape-shifting priestesses of Pygras beginning with Zia, the shifter held by his worst enemy, Ty Draycie.
I hope you enjoy Magnetic.
[ This excerpt is rated PG-13. The story is
definitely rated R. ]
The double moonlight sparkled the black-sand beach. Zia checked again to spot a semi-naked Ty body-surfing among the kinetic inky breakers at night. He was obviously a strong swimmer.
Sitting in the dry sand before the waterline, she pressed his shirt into her face to catch his enticing scent, to seal it in her mind, but the longing to save a part of him for herself only served to scatter her thoughts. She felt alone, and she couldn’t imagine a life without the job she’d just watched turn to dust. She’d lost everything worth having, and there was no resurrecting her joy of life. She would return to Pygras holding little from which to weave a new life. Where would she go? What would she do? No doubt she would return to the temples for service and find happiness there. What else was there for the priestesses?
Thought, thought, thought. One after another. She thought too much. Hours at a time she considered the past, the future, only to finally escape her prison and find the day devoured.
Time sneaks away like that, disguised as thought.
“Butterfly…” came her temple nickname from a deep voice, soft as a whisper just above the lazy whisk of the wind.
She turned and found the high commander standing there in dripping, clinging breeches where the water met the shore.
Ty spanned the short distance between them and landed on his knees very close beside her, uncaring of the sand his wet trousers picked up. His gray eyes turned silvery by the young moons.
“What makes you look so sad?”
Tiny droplets drizzled down his darkly-tanned torso. His dark wavy hair sprung with the release of drops of water. Her stomach churned. The smell of him and the sea together moved her.
“Are you homesick?”
“No, Ty. Not homesick. I’d been clinging to a lost hope. And I just gave up on it.”
His thumb stroked a tear from her cheek she hadn’t realized was there, and all her contemplations fled her mind. All the cells of her body perked to his contact.
“Nothing worth hoping for is forever lost.”
He bent to her, and his mouth scooped hers into a slow and steamy kiss, his lips feathering hers with soft stabs. His arms overtook her, and she sank into his warm embrace on instinct. All she conscious of was how the wine taste of him, the scent of the sea mixed with his own, and what his kiss did to her. The nibbling caress of his mouth made her shiver, and want to stay and keep kissing him. His arms around her, touching her…intoxicating her. Much more of him, and she could lose herself in his embrace.
Shocked at her own willing response, she receded from his arms, denying herself his attention before her enjoyment of this kiss spun out of her control. Priestesses were taught to deny their carnal sides. Her sight wandered over a shirtless Ty, all tan, hard muscle in moonlight. Twinkling drips of seawater raced down his body. Was she about to live her most trying experience in temptation?
Yes. Yes, she was. About to endure battle against herself. Her chastity was a key component in her shift. She had to defend that…against every gorgeous, semi-naked man who aimed to take it from her, no matter how hungry his outstanding kiss made her feel. No matter how strong was his personal magic.
Moonlight glistened his wet black hair.
“No, Ty, this cannot happen. It’s a mistake. Let’s return to talk of planets and wars and people who cannot get along.”
The handsome high commander cast his sight out to the sea, silent in thought for a while. His every move to gather his dry clothes caused his muscles to glide over his large frame beneath sun-kissed flesh. The poetic motion reverberated through her with rolls of titillation. Ty was a fine physical machine.
She should probably stop noticing how achingly sexy he was.
The silence was painful.
Finally, he turned to her, his expression thirsty.
“Zia, teach me something of your culture. Is it wrong on Pygras for two people who want one another to give each other pleasure?”
Her eyes posted over the roar of the dark sea to keep her concentration. “N–No. It’s just not good and right for me.”
“That can change, Butterfly. Isn’t that what butterflies have done? Changed from a grounded creature to one that flies?”
Struck by his metaphor, she turned to him, and Ty tossed her a big grin, throwing all gravity of the moment away to the wind.
“Could I have my shirt back?”
Discovering her fist still locked around the cloth, clutched in a death grip, she handed the linen to him, offering a weak smile for an apology. He now had a splotch of sweat-pressed wrinkles on his shirt.
“I don’t see much of your smile, Butterfly. It beats the Pygras out of your fist.”
Her smile fell straight to the sand. “Stop denouncing Pygras, and I’ll not call your entire race a bunch of bloodthirsty, war-craving butchers of—”
“I get the gist. You have a deal.”
Her smile returned, and Ty appeared happy for it.
They chatted companionably as he redressed himself, which happened all too slow for her. High energy spent keeping herself from appreciating him cut into her strength.
They were friends suddenly, not just reluctant partners in service. It was as if the kiss had given them something extra of each other, and they knew one another now, a welcome feeling that had broken down a barrier.
“You’re beautiful, you know. I don’t think you realize it.”
She smiled graciously, but did not comment on his taste. Retrieving his vest for him, she unearthed the letter delivered while he had fought the waves.
“Oh, yes. This came for you while you swam.”
“Did you plan on giving it to me?”
“Of course, I did!” she snapped. “If you remember correctly, you surprised me with your return.”
“Yes, that’s true.” He smiled again. “But you never told me what was wrong.”
“And I never will.”
His mouth bowed in challenge, then he tore into the missive.
She watched the grin desert his expression as he read aided by the bright moonlight. His eyes moving from the bottom to the top of the page, the high commander reread the letter again in silence, his glee dissolved into a grimace.
“What is it, Ty?”
“This was written on my paper, probably on my very desk.”
She was struck silent and felt wary.
Ty retrieved his communicator from his vest pocket and requested a search of his office for listening devices or booby traps. When he closed the device, Zia placed a hand on his forearm. “What’s happened?”
He passed the note to her as though she could read the gibberish.
“It’s another threat to the thrones. This one’s personally addressed to me, directing me to hand the soon-queen of my government, my cousin’s bride, over to the rebels. And they’re offering me my cousin’s throne for the service. All in the name of honor.”
Horrified at its suggestions, Zia stared at the cryptic square letters of the missive, but the writing made no sense to her.
Is this what honor looks like on planet Rhonta, now our ruling world?
“You wouldn’t do it. Would you?
“No. But this note delivered means the Watch knows where we are at any given time. We can assume we’re being watched right now.”
Ty smiled smugly for interested eyes. “The Crown could not have asked for better timing.”
Zia’s fingers rose to stroke her lips still tingling from his kiss changing her.
* * *