This anthology includes stories by
Imogene Nix, Ashlynn Monroe,
Jaye Shields, and Beth D. Carter
Genre: Science Fiction/Futuristic Romance
Publisher: Beachwalk Press, Inc.
Date of Publication: October 20, 2014
Number of pages: 197
Word Count: 70,000
Cover Artist: Fantasia Frog Designs
My Review (3.5 stars)
TANGLED WEBS by Imogene Nix
In the course of a single day Gia Montgomery loses her job and discovers that her boyfriend—now ex-boyfriend—is a two-timing sleaze. After downing a bottle of wine, she catches sight of Cedun in her backyard. He’s the Ba’Tua heir who has been living on Earth for several years. Gia struggles to ignore the strong attraction between them, because she’s sure he’s seeing someone else. Someone very close to her, in fact.
When the situation with her ex turns nasty, Cedun finally has a chance to set things straight between himself and Gia, but nothing is as simple as it seems. Cedun must protect Gia and sort out an impossible love-life tangle before it’s too late.
Content Warning: this title contains sexy aliens and feisty heroines, together with enough action—of every kind—to keep readers on the edge of their seats
THE SPACESHIP CAPTAIN’S Wife by Ashlynn Monroe
Some treasures are the hardest to see.
On a dying planet, treasure waits for an honorable man to claim it. Captain Ric Julius believes the cargo of gems is what he’s come for, but there is one jewel he never expected. Her name is Kateri, and she changes everything.
Saving the woman’s life, and making a fortune in the process, requires only one thing of Ric—his freedom. In order to obtain the gems he has to agree to take Kateri to safety…and to make her his wife. Every man has a price, but is Ric willing to pay in full on a debt he owes to a dead man on a decomposing world?
Content Warning: contains sensual sex scenes
HIS HUMAN by Jaye Shields
Can a human clone trained to kill also learn to love?
Elara Roberts is the captain of a space shuttle sent to retrieve a group of cloned soldiers from the planet US-2. As soon as she lands, the shuttle is overtaken and all of her men killed.
Svarog aka Rogue, is the leader of a rebel group of clones who desire freedom. He’s been trained his entire life for one thing—to kill. But when he lays eyes on Elara, the only woman he’s ever seen, his first instinct is to love. Taking her for himself, his new mission becomes exploring the body of the creature, and punishing any other clone male who dares come close.
Elara witnessed how easily Rogue killed her men and fears she is next. But instead, the beast seems curious and more lustful than anything else. Her best survival strategy is to play along. But when she gets a chance to escape she realizes she may not be ready to leave Rogue behind.
Content Warning: this story includes a deadly, devastatingly sexy clone who isn’t above foul language and dirty sex
GRAVITATION by Beth D. Carter
Can Bree and Niah’s love overcome their species being at war with one another?
Bree has spent her whole life hiding from the aliens who destroyed what was once Earth. When she stumbles across a wounded alien, common sense tells her to kill him before he can kill her, but her compassionate side refuses to obey. Instead, she helps him.
The two forge a temporary truce when they’re forced to band together for protection. But as the days slip by, the alien Niah won’t leave her, and as friendship gives way to something more, she can’t help but wonder when, or if, them being on opposite sides will break the fragile bonds of love forming between them.
Content Warning: contains sexual content, strong language, and some violence
Get it now for just .99
TANGLED WEBS EXCERPT:
Turning away from her position, Gia caught sight of movement from the corner of her eye. This time she looked out the window and in her garden was a Ba’Tua male.
“Holy hell, what’s he doing here?”
Gia headed for the door just as Cedun was removing his Montgomery Industries t-shirt by the side of the pool. Her mind was sluggish and her coordination impaired, and she slammed into the edge of the door as she scurried through it.
“Shit!” The curse escaped her mouth as she kept moving, her hand rubbing the injured section of her side. “Cedun, what the hell are you doing in my backyard?” In her haste, she didn’t see the hose on the deck and tripped.
She did notice the bright violet of his eyes—wide and startled—and the bronzed rippling muscles as she cartwheeled, flailing for something to grab onto, then she was falling backward. It’s all so slow! A thunk sound married with the explosion of pain in her head.
The water closed around her and invaded her mouth and lungs. Her chest burned as the water weighed her down. Just as it all seemed too much, strong, vise-like arms slid around her middle, hauling her up to the surface.
“Do not struggle, Gia. Let me help you.” He did, hauling her out of the pool and laying her flat on the concrete.
Then he rolled her over as she hacked and coughed. Water gushed from her mouth and nose, and she moaned once the indignity was over.
“Now, De’ Gia, tell me why you ran out of the house and threw yourself into the pool. De’ Valerie told me that you had been removed from your post. It cannot be that which is distressing?”
“Job,” she corrected, quietly hoping to stop his liquid voice. Her head and chest ached viciously, and all she wanted was bed. “I want to go to bed.”
Cedun stilled. “Is that not precipitous?” A smiled crept over his face, and it turned her insides to molten lava.
Clarity speared her. Their grasp of the English language was literal. She said she wanted to go to bed and was speaking to him, ergo, he thought sex. Horror filled her.
Cedun was probably the most relaxed and least repressed of all the Ba’Tua she’d met. Gia also suspected he’d been involved with Valerie for some time. After all, Valerie was still young at forty-two.
Gia groped for his t-shirt, meaning to push him away. The realization of being so close to Cedun’s muscular and unclothed chest flooded her as her hands made contact with hard and well-formed naked flesh. He’d removed that covering before her fall into the pool. Heat flared beneath her fingers as her heart rate sped up. “Cedun, I didn’t mean…”
He chuckled. “I laugh with you, De’ Gia.”
She struggled to free herself. “Go laugh with someone else.”
THE SPACESHIP CAPTAIN’S WIFE EXCERPT:
Why am I doing this to myself? Damn, if I didn’t need the money… But he did.
As the girl came to kneel beside her father, Ric realized he’d rather face a laser pistol-wielding hijacker than this woman. The traditional charado robe that consisted of many layers of light, sheer fabric did nothing to hide the outline of her body. His mouth went dry and sweat stung his eyes.
The older woman offered him a light meal of native Darooian nuts and fruit. Ric shook his head. He didn’t want to risk polluting himself with radiated food. But this transaction was too important for him to offend them.
“Forgive me, I am far too full of…of joy to eat,” Ric said.
Marit’s woman gazed at him for a moment. Her shrewd eyes narrowed with doubt, but she nodded and pulled the offered tray away.
The kneeling girl was so still he couldn’t even tell if she was breathing. His host was watching the silent female with an unfathomable sorrow. Then he turned to study Ric without speaking for a drawn out length of anxiety-filled time. Ric fidgeted nervously.
Oh damn, I hope I haven’t blown this. I’ll lose the ship without this deal. Ric tried to hide his worry from the other man by keeping his face expressionless.
“We only eat food that arrives in bio locked containers. Our offering is safe. Kateri has not left this house since she was a girl of ten. She has spent half her life hiding from death, it’s long past time she was allowed to live,” said Marit in the gentle tone. There was no anger or censor on his face, just sadness.
The quiet girl flinched. The movement was subtle, but Ric was used to watching for the slightest tells during negotiations. The girl’s posture stiffened.
So she was twenty. He relaxed a bit. She was a decade younger than he was, but at least she wasn’t some underage child.
Embarrassed, Ric looked away. “Forgive me,” he said, unsure if he was apologizing for the planet’s destruction or his behavior.
“You have nothing to apologize for. Caution is an admirable trait. Integrity is another thing I respect. She will make a good wife…”
Marit paused as a string of quickly spoken Dar, their language, interrupted him. Her outraged voice drifted up from under the veils and proved she had a bit of spirit.
The older man’s fatherly tone ebbed between anger and softness. Ric only caught a few words, but he was almost positive the girl hadn’t known she was part of the conditions for this export.
When she was silent, Ric could see her shaking. The strangest urge to comfort her came over him, but he shoved it away. Perhaps it was the camaraderie of being tricked, but the protectiveness her reaction stirred in him didn’t go away.
She muttered something, and he fought to suppress his grin. He had the most inappropriate urge to peek under her veil and see her expression. Was she seething with rage, or was she pouting? He wanted to know. The veil tormented his naturally overactive Metrician curiosity.
“Kateri is a good girl, dutiful. She is…uncomfortable leaving her family behind,” said the anxious man democratically.
Ric cleared his throat awkwardly. He could respect the answer. If he truly cared about anyone, he wouldn’t want to leave them to die either. A planet hadn’t died since the days of old Earth. Pain squeezed his heart in a metaphoric vise. Guilt. His people treated their world like it was garbage, and yet Metricia would live on long after Daroo was space dust.
“Don’t look so dour, Captain Aydric Julius. We will die with our gods, but our daughter will live on for us and remember our names. Saving her life is worth risking my soul,” Marit said quietly. “She is the most precious gem in your cargo.”
Ric nodded. No one had ever loved him as this man loved his daughter. It was astounding and humbling to be entrusted with her life. He’d never wanted such a responsibility thrust on him, but now that it was, he couldn’t turn them down.
Is she willing to marry a stranger? What am I getting myself into?
Ric could tell the girl was looking at him. He wanted to talk to her and make sure she was willing. He didn’t believe in much, but his honor mattered to him.
HIS HUMAN EXCERPT:
“Why do you want to go to Earth so bad?” Elara asked.
Rogue didn’t answer readily, instead, he appraised her, his gaze lingering on her sweat-soaked blouse. “You haven’t been here long, woman, but surely long enough to see this planet rivals the hell that the humans make us read about. It’s dry here, hot enough to melt the skin right off your body during certain seasons. Those tunnels you saw dotting the landscape, those were burrowed by one of US-2’s many creatures. Leave my side, and they’ll snatch you up and swallow you whole. It’d probably be an easier death than you deserve.”
“Excuse me?” Elara glared at him. “Did you keep me alive to insult me to death?”
“Why would you sign up to take men as slaves, take them to a war they can’t even understand?”
“I’m not the bad guy here!” Her voice echoed through the cave, the sound suddenly making her feel more brave.
“Neither am I. Unless I’m crossed.” He stood, still nude, his well-muscled body towering over her. “Now that you’re my captive, perhaps you can appreciate what we are fighting for. Freedom.” With that, the clone walked away from her. She glanced away, trying to avoid looking at the well-carved butt cheeks as the massive soldier walked away. He had a perfect body. The kind of body that was built to kill.
Elara’s mind spun. Not only had two clones tried to rape her, but her epic plan to seduce Rogue didn’t work. He’d never before had a woman, and she still couldn’t please him. Yet he’d protected her from those men.
As far as Rogue was concerned, she wasn’t sure what happened. He’d seemed so close to coming. He’d moaned, but then he’d been disgusted by her, shoving her away. She should have been happy that his cum didn’t fill her mouth, but it also meant her death.
But if he was going to kill her, why didn’t he just leave her to those men?
Finally alone, the terror of the day washed over her. She’d watched her peers murdered, she’d gone down on her captor, and she’d nearly been raped by two killers. Tears leaked down her cheeks, quickly dried by the intense heat on US-2.
Just as soon as he’d left, Rogue returned. His strong hand pulled her out of the fetal position to face him. When he saw her tears, he sneered in disgust. “I’m leaving to retrieve rations. Don’t try to escape.”
Hope bloomed within her. Of course she’d try to escape. Was this clone daft? She just never thought she’d be left alone to try.
Elara thought back to the initial attack on the space shuttle. The interior had sustained damage, but clearly the clones had been careful, obviously planning to try to take it to Earth themselves.
Rogue pulled on his military cargo shorts, not bothering with a shirt. He pulled a sachet of lotion out of his pocket and slathered it over his hard chest and chiseled stomach. It was a body meant to punish.
She barely heard Rogue’s final warning before he departed. Something about danger. Duh. Elara may have been surrounded by a planet of rebel clones, but she was a military captain, specially chosen for this very mission. Her femme fatale Plan A had failed, but now she had no other choice but to try to ass kick her way off this planet. She was sure as dead anyway, might as well die trying.
Niah’s leg must be healing nicely if he was able to move around to her side of the cold fire pit. She should be feeling fear because now he could easily overpower her. Kill her. Only he did neither. He just laid there with his hand on her hip and his eyes staring deeply into her own.
This was wrong. So horribly wrong.
And yet…it didn’t feel wrong.
And that scared her more than anything.
“Shh,” he whispered, and his hand ran soothing circles across her hip bone.
Bree closed her eyes because she couldn’t stand looking at him anymore, couldn’t face the attraction she was developing. And somehow she must have fallen asleep because the next time she opened her eyes it was daylight.
She sat up quickly, looking around. Niah was gone. His leg splints were in a nice pile, the only testament that he’d been there. She ignored the stab of pain that pierced through her and told herself it was better this way. He had gone back to his people, to where he came from. It was time she went to where she belonged.
As she gathered her things and slipped her backpack over her shoulders, she thought about when she asked him to save one life as a thank you. Well, it seemed like he’d done just that.
He’d spared hers.
About the Authors
Imogene is a mother of two, compulsive reader, and bookstore owner. She lives in regional Queensland, Australia with her husband, two daughters, dog, cats, guinea pigs, and chooks. She has a particular fondness for vampires, star ship captains, and things that go bump in the night (especially vampire types).
Imogene has tried many varied roles in her working life including kindergarten assistant, teacher, principal, and kindergarten and child care director, but rates owning a bookstore and writing her own novels as the absolute highlight.
In her mother and wife alter ego, she has traveled widely and lived in some very unique places including Far Western Queensland, Cape York, and even Tasmania. She loves to travel and rates China and Hong Kong among her favorite destinations.
Ashlynn Monroe is a busy working mom. She loves her kids and family. Her greatest joy is creating stories to entertain others, and she hopes they bring a little more romance into the world. She’s been writing since her teens, for her own enjoyment, but decided in her thirties to share her imagination with readers. Ashlynn enjoys biking, camping, reading, video games, and filling her home and life with love. If she’s not working or chasing her children, you can find her daydreaming up her next tale of romance.
Jaye Shields is a flight attendant by day and romance author by night. Her addictions include reading, travel, and other activities not even a romance writer will confess to. She’s in a committed love affair with her readers, so don’t be shy!
BETH D. CARTER
Beth likes writing about the very ordinary girl thrust into extraordinary circumstances, so her heroines will probably never be lawyers, doctors, or corporate highrollers. She tries to write characters who aren’t cookie-cutter and pushes herself to write complicated situations that she has no idea how to resolve, forcing herself to think outside the box. She loves writing characters who are real, complex, and full of flaws, heroes and heroines who find redemption through love.
Beth has been pretty fortunate in life to experience some amazing things. She’s lived in France and traveled throughout Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. She’s a mom to an amazing little boy, and she’s surrounded by friends and family. She hates washing dishes but loves cooking, hates washing clothes but loves wearing them. Her favorite color is red, but she looks best in black (it’s slimming). She hates people who don’t pick up their dog’s crap in public places, people who don’t use turn signals, and people who are rude and condescending. She especially hates discrimination in all and every form. And although she loves holding a book in her hand, she absolutely adores her ereader, whom she’s named Ruby.