The book is with my editor, the fabulous Terri Schaefer, now. I am still wracking my brain to craft an appropriate blurb (AARGH!) — God help me.
But I’m happy to share a little bit of the beginning with y’all as long as you understand this is unedited and might look a tad bit different when it comes out.
Set up for this scene: At the end of Prime Selection, we see Iolyn Caradoc and Prime Ambassador Tor Maren coming to tell the other Caradoc brothers (Wulf and Huw) and their mates that Dr. Brianna Martin, the medical researcher whom they were not able to pick up in book two because of events in that storyline, is in danger — and that she is Iolyn’s mate, a Lost One. This scene follows a transition scene that replays the end of Book Two from Iolyn’s point of view and takes us back to 36 hours earlier to set up the danger Brianna (Bria) is in and which will lead to the call at the end of Book Two and back to real time.
36 Standard Hours earlier
Galactic Alliance Astrobiological Research Lab
Planet Oz, Tau Ceti system
Dr. Brianna Martin eyed her target and took careful aim. She nailed the male figure right between the eyes.
“Yay! See if you can beat that, my friend.” Bria happy-danced her way toward the life-sized, pseudo-reptilian male anatomy chart and pulled her scalpel from the kill zone in the frontal lobe. “Did I forget to mention I was med school scalpel-throwing champion three years in a row? Looks like you get to buy dinner.”
There was no response from her research assistant Cheri Stafford. Instead she heard a gasp and the sound of Cheri moving quickly away from their impromptu contest venue.
Primordial instincts Bria rarely had to rely upon in the medical world went on alert, sharpening her empathic abilities. Something dangerous headed their way. It smelled like a hot, fierce wind off a desert. She tasted the dustiness of it on her tongue and felt it flaying her skin.
Bria turned and walked toward her friend who stood in the entrance to the lab. “Cheri? What’s wrong?”
“Red alert!” Her friend growled the words as she made a move to cut off whoever approached.
Bria peered around her friend and saw her nemesis, Jotak M’tali.
Jotak, the chief of security for the research facility, strode down the long corridor in his ruler-of-the-planet, owner-of-all-he-surveyed mode.
“Really? Now? Doesn’t that … that…” freaking, scary, creep-a-zoid “…man understand the meaning of the word no?” As in never, no way, no how, ever in the infinite future of possibilities.
Cheri paused outside the doorway and threw a commiserating grimace over her shoulder. “I’ll venture a guess and say not. He hasn’t seen you yet. So hide. I’ll get rid of the slime-sucking bottom-feeder. He won’t get a chance to touch you again.”
“No!” Bria grabbed the arm of her loyal and well-meaning friend, the sister Bria had never had because she’d been adopted into a family with six boys. She pulled Cheri back and whispered, “He can smell me. He knows I’m here. Go … get help. Preferably someone who isn’t susceptible to his Dornian hypnotic abilities.”
“But … but … he hurt you last time.” Cheri’s eyes filled with angry tears. “And no one did anything about it.”
The incident Cheri referred to had occurred about a standard week ago. Jotak, tired of her holding him at arm’s length, had become more aggressive in his pursuit. He’d cornered her in the research facility’s storeroom, forced a kiss on her … then attempted to rape her.
Bria shuddered and swallowed hard against the sickness threatening to erupt. She still bore bruises and claw marks from his rough handling. If a janitor hadn’t happened by, Jotak would’ve succeeded in assaulting her. Her rudimentary self-defense skills hadn’t even made a dent against Jotak’s superior strength and training.
The janitor had backed her story when she’d filed the complaint with local authorities, but then the poor man had gone missing. Using his mesmeric abilities, Jotak had persuaded the local law officers that the alleged attack had been a mere lover’s tiff. Her bruises were ignored.
So … until she had security footage of an attack or eye witnesses who couldn’t be persuaded to say otherwise … or she was severely injured enough for medical treatment, no one would believe the Chief of Security was stalking and threatening her.
“If he smells you, he smells both of us,” Cheri hissed as she reversed Bria’s grip and held onto Bria’s arm. “Come with me. We both can get away.”
“No, he’ll hunt us down.” And he’d hurt Cheri, because he had no use for her. “Dornians love nothing more than to chase prey.” And to kill them. Killing and hiding a body were as easy for a Dornian as putting on clothing in the morning. “It’s me he wants.”
And he wouldn’t kill Bria. He wanted to breed with her.
Not. Gonna. Happen.
Bria gave her friend an urgent shove. “Go out the back. Now.” Her friend hesitated. “Cheri, please go … and hurry! Bring back help.”
Cheri cast one last angry, fear-filled glance at the six-and-a-half-foot pseudo-reptilian stalking toward the lab and then ran out the back exit.
Copyright, Monette Michaels, 2014