His beast will have her beauty—but only on his terms.
Orion, Book 3
Sirena Blaze has left a string of smiling males across the galaxy—but she’s not smiling now. After two attempts to sabotage her ship, it’s time to call for backup. Her warriors deserve the best, and that means recruiting a member of the elite Serpentian guard as co-commander.
One look at Slyde Stone, and Sirena’s smile returns. She sets out to indulge in the sensual delights for which his people are legendary.
Slyde would like nothing more than to bed the famous beauty, but a secret binds the hands that burn to take her. He is a half-dragon shifter, a race thought to be nothing more than a myth. He’s real, and so is the code he must live by—he can mate only once.
Sirena’s fury at Slyde’s refusal knows no bounds—until saboteurs loose a pair of deadly serpents on board the Orion. And the infuriating man has the gall to make a wager. If she finds them first, she can have him. But if he wins, she must agree to be his alone—for life.
Product WarningsSpace cougar on the prowl, a handsome virgin in her sights. Hot love scenes, and even hotter dragon shape-shifting.
Copyright © 2010 Cathryn Cade
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
The Black Hole was the rowdiest bar in Sunspot City, one of the toughest space-ports in the galaxy. Tonight it was full of raucous dock workers, off-duty spaceship crew and space vagrants. A band sent music crashing over the crowd, along with streamers of color and light. The holo-marquee outside featured strippers. Males and females from several planets gyrated in various stages of nudity on tiny stages hovering over the crowd.
The doors were thrown open to catch any breezes that might stray in off the Solarian desert. Despite the huge fans turning overhead, the smell of alcohol, fried food and sweat pervaded the air. It was a hot night on Solaria, with tempers and lusts running even hotter.
The lovely, golden-skinned female who sauntered in from the dark seemed to have no idea of the danger. Clad in a scanty, clinging outfit of red spider-lace, she threaded her way through the tables as if walking through a cocktail party.
The instant he saw her, Slyde Stone froze with a shot of Serpentian fire-whiskey poised at his open mouth. Every cell of his body sprang to full alert. He’d never felt anything like the sheer want that seized his brain—and his cock.
She was Serpentian…the embodiment of everything female. Her auburn hair curled about her head and shoulders, framing a face with slanting emerald eyes, high cheekbones and a full mouth curved in a tiny, mysterious smile. She carried herself like a queen or a courtesan, her hips swaying, breasts moving temptingly in their precarious cradle. Her slender arms were bare, her long legs nearly so, golden skin gleaming in the lights. She held nothing in her hands, wore no adornment. She needed none. She stood out in the motley crowd like a fire-ruby in a pile of space rubble.
The females who frequented the Black Hole were either sturdy space crew as raucous as their male counterparts, or paid sex companions. There were a few others, but they were guarded by mates who looked ready to slash the throats of anyone who came too near. It was that kind of place.
And of course every male present was now watching the beauty. Slyde saw avid stares become leers, watched lips move in what he was certain were lewd suggestions. Primal anger flamed inside him. He quenched it with an effort—he was in a public place and could not afford to indulge his emotions. Besides, he didn’t need to; he was one of the best hand-to-hand combat fighters in the galaxy and bigger than most of the males in this place.
Remembering his drink, he tipped it down his throat with a shudder and slapped the glass back on the bar. He rose from his bar stool to go rescue the lovely fool, just as a huge, rough Argonautian stood up directly in her path, his purple lips spread in what was no doubt supposed to be a smile. On his pocked face, it looked more like an attack of painful gas. He was going to be showing genuine pain in a moment—at the end of Slyde’s fists.
“Hello, pretty one,” the huge Argo roared. “Looking for me?”
A hand caught Slyde’s arm, and he glanced over in irritation. The Serpentian on the next barstool shook his head, his eyes twinkling under his shock of startling green-gold hair.
“Wait,” he yelled over the crashing music. “This will be good.”
Slyde shrugged off his hand in disgust. They’d been acquainted for only a few hours, but he’d thought Izard a man of honor. “You’d let one of our women be molested by that pile of space scum?”
Izard grinned, white teeth flashing against his golden skin. “I’m telling you—just watch.”
Ready to spring across the few yards that separated him from the woman facing the Argo, Slyde hesitated. She certainly did not look frightened—or even worried. She tipped her head to one side, her hair falling across her bare shoulder, and looked the Argo up and down.
Slyde could not hear her voice, but he could clearly see her luscious lips form the word “no”.
With a roar, the Argo reached for her with ham-sized paws. Slyde watched in astonishment as the female literally flashed into action, her body twisting, slender bare limbs a chord of concentrated force. First one leg, then the other in lightning succession connected with the Argonautian’s huge head.
Though the impact was inaudible over the pounding music and the roar of the crowd, his massive body rocked with the force of the blows, arms flailing as he swayed in his tracks, mouth open, eyes glazing over.
Planting her hands on the table behind her, the female braced herself on one heel, pointed her outstretched foot at the middle of his huge chest and shoved. The Argo went over backward like a felled tree, taking a table and its contents with him.
The crowd roared with approval, even those who’d been forced to leap out of the way. Izard smacked Slyde’s arm.
“There. Didn’t I tell you?”
“Who is she?” demanded Slyde. He could not take his eyes off her as she slipped off the table, shook back her hair and smiled at the cheering crowd.
He hadn’t come in here looking for a woman, but he’d found one. And he wanted her with everything he was.
“That’s Sirena. Sirena Blaze—the Orion’s guard commander.”
Magnificent. Sirena Blaze looked across the crowded bar, panting and laughing a little from her exertions, and locked gazes with the huge Serpentian standing by the bar, obviously poised to come to her aid. His sheer male beauty struck her like a solid blow to the solar plexus. Want that, was her only coherent thought.
Even the sight of Izard, one of her guard, grinning like a crested shark-lizard over his shoulder, did not deter her from turning and walking straight to him. She had come into the place looking for a lover and she wanted this one. Oh, how she wanted. Excitement quivered deep in her loins, and she felt the spider silk rasp deliciously against her mons and her taut nipples as she sauntered toward him. She knew her scanty outfit did little to conceal these changes, and she gloried in the fact that he would see her arousal and know it was for him.
The crowd parted before her, genial after the entertainment she’d given them. Some of them knew her and called her name. She smiled lazily, acknowledging their praise, but did not turn from her goal.
He just got better as she neared him. Six feet plus of huge, virile male—clearly Serpentian, but larger and more massive than the usual lean, lithe males from her planet. He held himself with an innate arrogance that said more clearly than words he could meet any other male in the place in a fight and win. That he was an alpha, a ruler, and he knew it.
He wore his dark gold hair ruthlessly short, but it only emphasized the sculpted flare of his wide jaw and the beauty of his eyes, deep set under heavy arching brows.
And the look in those golden eyes was the best part of all. He watched her with a hungry intensity and something more she couldn’t quite place, until she was close enough to sense the way his big body tensed at her nearness. The glow in his eyes was more than desire—it was yearning.
It slammed into her like a body blow and swept through her, hot as the wind blowing in off the desert. She didn’t stop until she stood before him, her hand on the broad, hard plain of his chest, a clear invitation. “Hello. I am Sirena.”
Her shock was complete when he covered her hand with his own, bowed over it with exquisite courtesy, and then…let it go.
“Yes, I know,” he said in a deep, smoky voice. “I’m Slyde Stone—your new partner.”
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