Cover & Excerpt
by Tina Christopher
Celestial Surrender Book Four
Sydney Radnall is no man’s toy, despite fate’s attempt to make her just that. A kidnapping puts her at the mercy of a sadistic Feral commander. Being held prisoner is bad enough, but her Naema blood is powerful. In her current Vampiric company her presence is like ringing a dinner bell.
In an attempt to break her, the commander makes her the pet of two of his lieutenants. Miguel is one of the most dangerous men she has ever met, but she can’t stop the attraction blazing between them. Then there is Jayden, a Vampire who is as surprising as he is sexy. Two Vampires she should not be attracted to, should not want to surrender to, should not trust.
But things aren’t always what they seem. Secrets and lies shadow their connections, making it impossible to see clearly. What are the chances of her finding lifemates while surrounded by enemies? And making the wrong decision could not just shatter her heart. It could cost her life.
Genre: Erotic Sci Fi RomancePurchase links: EC Amazon ARe Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Space, Vampires, Ménage, M/M/F, M/M, Action, Spies, Undercover Agents, Light BDSM, Paranormal, Futuristic
Release Date: October 22, 2014
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Excerpt & More
When the Feral Vampire strode up to her, a malicious grin curving his thin lips, fangs glistening, Sydney Radnall knew she would never again allow anyone to take her blood. She would die first.
There were three of them. The other two stayed slightly behind, fanning out and blocking the entrance.
Marissa, the young human who had been taken from Parvati at the same time as Sydney, stood beside her. Their shoulders bumped. Marissa’s shook, but she raised her fists as if to fend off the three Vampires with her bare hands.
No way in fucking hell.
Sydney straightened her shoulders, rolled her neck and took a step forward. She smiled.
The lead Feral’s gaze narrowed.
She didn’t give him a chance to respond, but leaped and rammed her knee into his groin. He folded over with a whimper. She grabbed a hunk of his hair and slammed the bottom of her palm into his nose. Cartilage crunched as she jammed the shattered bones into his brain.
Eyes wide he dropped to the floor. Dead.
Sydney panted. She touched the cold synth-metal wall of the spaceship for a second but stopped herself from rubbing her sore hand. The other two Ferals gaped at her. She wanted to smirk, but she’d lost the advantage of surprise.
They recovered and converged on her. Before they had taken even one step the door slid open and Tall, Dark and Dangerous, the man—no, the Vampire—responsible for her kidnapping, strode in.
He appeared to grasp the situation with one look and grabbed the nearest Feral, killing him with a quick twist of the neck. The third attacker froze.
Sydney took a couple of steps back to give herself more room. She would fight to the bitter end.
“Honorable Radnall, what are you planning to do?” His seductive voice slid across her in an inappropriate manner. He was taller than her, something that didn’t happen often. His skin was darkly tanned. Thick dark-brown hair framed his arresting face as if he hadn’t had the opportunity to get it cut for some time. His eyes gave nothing away. With every movement, every inch of his muscular body, he demonstrated he was a warrior.
She had trained with men like him, had been taught by them, but she had never managed to best even one of them.
He crossed his arms before his chest. The final Feral moved against her. Dark and Dangerous gestured and two of the Ferals who had accompanied him grabbed the attacker.
Sydney was not surprised he was the leader. The power of a highly trained warrior and powerful Vampire cloaked him. He raised a brow at her.
Unlike her attackers his eyes were black, not red. The red identified Ferals as Vampires who drained their prey of blood while inducing horror and panic. In one of the few instances of cooperation between the three major species, the Naema Senate, the Vampire Council and the human government had agreed that Ferals were an unacceptable danger. Law enforcement as well as civilians had permission to shoot Ferals on sight without repercussions.
Over the last year or so scattered Feral groups had come together under one leader to smuggle humans as blood slaves, a crime that, if it became public knowledge, would incite another Human-Vampire War. A war far more devastating than the one three centuries ago.
She mirrored his stance. “My parents told me not to talk to strangers.”
His lips quirked. “Miguel Calatrave, at your service, Honorable Radnall.” He gestured to the dead body. “Now, if you would please explain?”
She couldn’t defend herself against his voice. Goose bumps rose in its wake.
Sydney stood even straighter. “They entered with one clear intent. An intent that I won’t allow.”
His nostrils flared, but the flash of rage was gone too quickly for her to be certain. It seemed the Ferals had ignored his orders.
“You will not allow? All right, Honorable Radnall. You have one out of the way. I took care of another. How will you deter anyone from coming in here to drink your or the human’s blood?”
She stared at him. Was he serious? Why would he want her to kill one of his own?
Sydney swallowed and observed the Vampire being held by Calatrave’s men. He’d clenched his jaw. The skin across his face was stretched tight, muscles bulging, making his two keepers struggle to hold him. His red eyes, eyes that proved he had killed humans without compassion, blazed.
She didn’t have much time.
Her chest tightened and she looked back into Calatrave’s jet-black eyes. His expression was impassive.
Her first kill had been self-defense. The next one had to be an execution.
The last man she had killed had been a traitor to her country and her planet.
A traitor to her species.
A traitor to her.
Nine months ago she killed him when she was barely alive after he’d come close to draining her of blood. Then she had been in a daze. Picking up the gun and firing had been like a dream. It had not involved the clear intent she had now.
But this confrontation was what she had trained for. She blamed the Ferals for giving her bastard husband the idea to sell her blood. Without their horrific smuggling operation he would have had no buyer. Without them to support her husband she would not have been at death’s door. This was an opportunity to even the field.
The Feral growled. He pulled back his lips, baring his fully extended fangs.
Use his emotions against him , her teacher’s voice echoed through her mind.
Her muscles tightened in preparation. His rage was his weakness. She would take him down and therefore rid the galaxy of one more monster.
Sydney turned to the Feral and raised a brow. He pressed his lips together but didn’t respond in any other way. Sydney slowly moved closer. The two keepers stepped aside and released him. The Feral studied her and slid sideways. They circled each other.
With a sharp snap she allowed her blood-red wings to become visible.
Distracted, he gaped.
She lunged and tried to punch the side of his face. He weaved to avoid her. Sydney rammed her upper wing bone into the other side of his face. He screamed as his nose broke. Blood dripped over his chin.
She had bruised her knuckles. Her wing bone ached from the impact.
The Feral growled and wrapped his arms around her waist, trapping her arms at her side. She stiffened her fingers and jammed them into his groin area. He growled and jumped back but grabbed her by the neck, yanking it to the side, his nails digging in.
He nearly has you. Panic threatened to seep through. Falling back on the training she’d immersed herself in after The Incident, she slammed one of her steel-toed boots into his shin. He flinched but didn’t let go. She slammed her forehead against his injured nose. He leaned back enough for her to yank her arm out his loosening grip and plowed her fist against his Adam’s apple with all her might. He choked and released her, struggling to breathe. Gasping he sank to his knees, his face turning blue. No one moved. The Feral fought to breathe and finally collapsed on the ground.
Calatrave studied her for a moment. Then he addressed the two Ferals with him. “Honorable Radnall and Miss Adevo are not to be touched by anyone. Breaking this order is a death sentence.” He didn’t take his eyes off her as he spoke.
Sydney clasped her aching hands to hide their shaking. There was so little inflection in his voice he could be talking about the weather instead about killing his own people.
The Ferals nodded and hurried out. Calatrave walked up to the wall and pressed a sequence of buttons. “Send a cleanup crew.”
“Where are you taking us?” Marissa’s voice croaked as she asked the question.
He looked at her. “Somewhere you never wanted to see.” He turned to Sydney. “You will be safe until we land in a few hours.” He entered another sequence of numbers. “The door will now work for you. You are able to lock it, but be aware that if you don’t open it when I come for you the privilege will be removed.”
“Understood.” Sydney studied him, her body filled with the need to run away from the dangerous man before her. But at the same time he drew her in. She wanted to step closer and discover if his body was as hard and masculine as it appeared, stroke her fingers along his strong jaw and caress his lips with her own.
She froze. He threatened not only to her life but also to her mind.
Miguel scrutinized the Naema before him. She stood tall, only a little shorter than his six-three, and very slender, but not fragile. No, tight muscles ran up and down her body and her Naema heritage gave her additional strength. Her blonde hair was cut pixie short and her aquamarine eyes carried darkness.
She had passed his test. Maybe she would have the strength and fortitude to survive being Nasir Zwelenki’s prisoner. He’d done his best not to find her when Nasir’s orders came down. When she’d made the stupid decision to travel to Dahir, a planet close to the central core of the system, without any protection she’d taken things out of his hands.
He had seen a lot in the five years he’d been with the Ferals, most of it things he wanted to forget. But watching Sydney Radnall, a highborn Naema, defend herself against Feral Vampires had impressed him. Her determination and courage had captured his attention.
His position was too important to risk going against Nasir. Miguel would do his best to keep the intriguing Honorable Radnall safe, but there were bigger things at stake. He mentally grimaced when he looked at the human he’d been saddled with through the idiotic actions of a now dead man. Miguel sent a quick message through his internal comp. He would sell her to two of his best customers, Tank and Finn. Miss Adevo looked like she would appeal to their taste and he needed her out of his hair. If she stayed she could be used to control Sydney, and that he would not allow.
Sydney had killed and had killed quickly. There was no doubt what had happened with her husband had turned her into a survivor. He didn’t know what was in store for her, but he knew she would need that strength.
For the first time in years Miguel found himself hesitating.
The human cleared her voice. “What are you planning to do with us?”
He saw no reason to pretty things up. “You will be sold as a blood slave to two Vampires.”
She understood his subtext and turned deathly pale. He expected her to drop to her knees, but she didn’t. It appeared he had more than one warrior in captivity. It would be up to Tank and Finn to deal with her. He had enough on his plate.
“If you want my continued cooperation she stays with me.”
Miguel looked at the Naema. “For now she does, but customers are already lined up.” He met her gaze and let the shadows of what was to come shine in his eyes. “You do not want her with you after we have arrived.”
Sydney swallowed. Tension invaded her body.
He shook his head. “Or she can die right here.” He didn’t want to kill the human, but the stakes were too high to leave anything to chance.
The human stepped beside her and briefly touched one of the Naema’s outer wings, which were still visible after she’d used them as a distraction. She flinched at the touch and snapped the blood-red beauties together behind her back.
So they are indeed sensitive to the touch. Miguel had heard rumors, but nothing had ever been confirmed. Naemas didn’t allow outsiders to touch their wings.
“Sydney, let it go.” The human’s voice shook. “I’m grateful for your protection.” She lowered her voice, probably unaware of Vampires’ heightened senses. “I can only fight if I’m alive. You have protected me this far. I don’t know what you’ll have to face, but it will be even more difficult if you’re worried about me.” She raised her chin. “I will survive. When I’m free I’ll bring the might of the Sentinels down on these assholes.”
He remained silent. It would do no good to explain to her that the human Sentinels would never learn the truth. If knowledge of the Ferals’ actions leaked out it could destabilize the shaky peace between the three major species in this galaxy. The Vampire Council would not allow it. Miguel waited for them to finish their not so secret conversation. “What will it be?”
The women turned to him. Sydney glared and her wings disappeared through the inter-dimensional portal Naemas learned to control from an early age. Her wings were still there, but no longer visible or touchable. “It’s not as if you’re giving us a choice.”
He didn’t respond. Unlike most people he looked at in this manner she did not shift or fidget. Instead she copied him. For a moment Miguel wondered what she saw, but he pushed the thought aside. It wasn’t important.
After a couple of minutes of silence it was the human who replied. “We’ll remain here during the flight.” She swallowed and her voice wavered. “When will I meet my…my buyers?”
“They will be waiting for you when we arrive.”
Her knuckles turned white as she clenched her hands even tighter together. Sydney balled her fists and her face turned blank. Her gaze was fixed behind him. Her lips moved, but he couldn’t make out what she said.
He filed her response away. The doors slid open and three Ferals entered, stretchers hovering beside them. They laid them out, moved the bodies on to them and floated them out of the room.
He gave the two women a small bow and walked out of the brig.
Sydney clung to control as hard as she could as she checked Calatrave’s promise. She locked the door and rubbed her eyes.
She’d nearly lost it. Not knowing how to process the rage tearing through her she had turned to counting the infinitesimal marks on the wall over his shoulder. Numbers were beautiful and always made sense. She could rely on them as they would not change. One plus one would always be two. People changed. Numbers stayed the same.
Numbers were her safety blanket. A safety blanket she had worked very hard not to fall back on. It meant she left reality and all its dangers behind. More than once over the years Tanasha or another friend had to physically shake her to bring her back to the here and now.
Calatrave’s departure had stopped her from sinking into the zone completely.
That left her still filled with outrage with nowhere to go. It went against everything inside her to just let Marissa go. The young woman wouldn’t be able to stand up against two Ferals for long, no matter how determined she was.
She met the human’s eyes and realized Marissa knew, but behind the fear was a look Sydney had seen every day in the mirror since the day she’d killed her husband. The bone-deep resolution to survive. It gave her hope. Maybe this human could do the impossible.
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