Authors: Emma Paul
All rights reserved
Copyright 2012 Emma Paul
This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission.
Sizzler/Encounter Science Fiction
A Renaissance E Books publication
PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF EMMA PAUL
"Brava to Ms. Paul for reminding readers that erotic romance isn’t just about the bump and grind, but about the journey the characters take to earn their HEA!
was a joy to read and very deserving of a JERR Gold Star Award."
–T. S. Peters, Erotic Romance Reviews
"PRISONER OF DARKHAVEN is a very fun book that will have you searching for your very own demon."
–Just Erotic Reviews
"Talk about hot aliens, they are drool worthy in many ways :D God, why can't all males have those dreadlocks :) You will see what I mean!"
–Amazon Customer Review, by Beth
Corbin sat on the crumbled foundation of his communal hut. The sky dimmed to a crimson shade indicating the sun began to set. He had been sitting here, as he always did, for longer than usual. Two years after the Trellian's attack on the East Commune, piles of ash and debris still littered the grounds.
Reconstruction continued at a slow pace. The attack came by surprise during the annual Harvest Celebration. He should have been there. The nagging guilt burned in his gut. Instead, he spent that night gluttonously feeding his ... damn! He
have been there.
He looked around knowing the attempt to rebuild the two hundred huts and dwellings was futile. Nothing would grow for at least another decade from the badly charred ground.
Across from the devastated Commune, a cemetery served as a memorial for all the families that lost loved ones. Most of the graves were actually empty, only containing a personal item belonging to the victim. It looked eerily serene in the midst of all the green, blue and red vegetation of the Yor jungle. A reminder of how he had failed so miserably.
They had recovered very few remains. A single tear rolled down his cheek. One of his dreads came around and wiped it from his face. He pulled out the shell necklace his mother always wore. She had given it to him on her deathbed as a token of her never-ending love.
He was only thirteen when she died. Part of him had died with her that night. He looked up at the evening sky, wishing again for the blessed Ancients to wake him from this nightmare.
Hopelessness and guilt plagued him. It had been his fault. It didn't matter that Kaden and the other Chiefs had said otherwise. Corbin knew the horrible truth. He failed miserably to protect his commune and its inhabitants.
And for what? His own selfish needs?
Teagan, his father, had it right; he was a disgrace.
His beloved mother had been the only person that made his childhood bearable. A flicker of hate flared in his chest, remembering how his father had driven her out of their home. The memories poured back. His father’s ever-ominous presence always tormenting him, even now at the age of thirty-two.
He clamped the surging emotions down, unwilling to taint his mother's memory with self-pity.
He lifted the
wine bottle to his lips and took a long swig. The tangy metallic taste burned a path down his throat. This was his last bottle. He had gone through a case of twenty-four bottles in a little over three days.
It did little to appease his cravings for the
-powder. He used his last batch of the drug this morning. Shame gripped him.
Look what you have become...
He had stopped justifying his addiction long ago. At the same time, he needed something, someone to blame for his steady demise.
As much as he wished he could stop himself, Corbin knew he would be taking another trip to Planet Azuri
before the night was over. Azuri offered much more than just Ra wine. The pleasure planet gave Corbin a reason not to care...
Not to care about the responsibilities weighing heavy on his shoulders, the self-deprivation he has lived with all his life and the nothingness he felt deep in his soul. The attack two years ago on the East Commune only delved him deeper into his own private hell.
Corbin took one last swallow, tipping the bottle until he held it upside down over his mouth. He shook it until the very last drop fell on his tongue. Tossing the empty bottle into a heap of trash, he got up and made his way to the shuttle holds near the barracks.
His muscles tensed. He stopped in front of the hold, and turned slightly towards Kaden. Fuck. He was the last person Corbin needed right now.
He rolled the tension from his shoulders and braided his dreads to acknowledge Kaden's higher rank. "Yes, Dar Kaden."
"Why did you not participate in the Mating Hunt this afternoon? Your brother, Joran, has captured himself a pretty Nubian."
Damn, not the hunt again...
Held every spring just before the Harvest Celebration, the Mating Hunt gave every non-mated warrior a chance at finding a compatible Breeder to bear the next generation of Dreg warriors. Breeders were a blessed necessity for Yor and his people.
The Mantra, an insect-humanoid species, under the direct supervision of the Galactic Governing Counsel, transported several dozen new Breeders each year to Yor during the harvest season.
Many Dregs felt the Counsel's laws too stringent, concerning the number of Breeders delivered to Yor each year. Especially since the Mating Hunt was now made open to other galactic species looking to acquire their own Breeders.
Corbin had once been a staunch supporter of that view. These days, the thought of another Breeder in his life burned like throwing salt in an open cut.
Ever since his former Breeder's condemnation just over two years ago, Kaden tried to encourage him to participate in the annual tradition. He captured Kiana in a mating hunt five years ago, after using his status to force her participation.
The relationship was doomed from the start. Kiana resented him and defiled their mating by blatantly fucking other Dreg warriors. The shame of her betrayal, and the fact she aborted all the pregnancies he had fathered, wounded him to the core of his being. The image of her face, full of disgust for him, still haunts his thoughts.
"I'm not ready for such a commitment. How is Carina? Her belly swells every day."
Kaden smiled at the mention of his Breeder. Carina was pregnant with their second child. "She is much relieved that Samuel keeps my mother busy during this pregnancy."
Corbin chuckled. Alura, Kaden's mother, all but drove Carina insane with her constant "help" up until their son Samuel was born.
Kaden's expression turned serious once again. "Corbin I'm worried about you. It has been months since you have participated in any communal gatherings. If there is anything you need–"
Corbin cut him off, "No Kaden. I don't need anything. Just some time alone."
He laid his hand on Kaden's shoulder and forced a smile. Kaden nodded, although his expression remained skeptical. Corbin sensed that the Dreg leader wanted to argue his point, however to Kaden's credit he let it be.
"Well you know where I am, if you change your mind."
He clapped Corbin on the shoulder and walked towards the Pavilion where everyone was gathering to welcome the new Breeders.
Corbin watched him walk away before turning around and entering the shuttle hold. The small, bullet shaped, one-man cruiser sat alone at the far end of the huge domed hangar. Most of the shuttles were stored in underground holdings.
Ever since the near war with the Grub two years ago, the Dregs kept all the shuttles operational and regularly maintained. The Grub had kidnapped Carina, with the help of his former breeder Kiana, to use as a living host to their king’s larvae. That fact made it easier for Corbin to keep his shuttle accessible, without having to answer annoying inquiries from Kaden or the other Dreg leaders.
He waived his hand over the signature pad on the podium next to his vessel. Immediately a computerized voice acknowledged Corbin and unlocked the force field encompassing the vehicle. With the field down, Corbin entered a code on the keypad and the dome above split open to allow lift off.
He climbed into the pilot's chair and set his coordinates on the three-dimensional star map that appeared before him the moment he sat down and locked his harness. A tremor seized his hand when he grabbed hold of the control stick.
His gut clenched. He groaned feeling the familiar pangs of anticipation stir to life within him.
Planet Azuri looked like a debauchery of sexual depravity. Princess Yani could not believe she came to this horrid planet to wed a man whom by all accounts was the most perverse of his species. It was not that she opposed sex. On the contrary, Yani loved sex.
Her people were very sexually liberal. However, even on Zen, her home planet, certain laws prohibited some public displays. Most Zenians preferred their privacy when it came to sexual relations.
She realized her sour mood had more to do with the lack of consideration for her safety by the Azurian royal family. Prince Gor, her soon to be husband, did not even have the decency to meet her shuttle transport when it landed.
As a result, she had to wait like everyone else for a transit bus on route to Krull City, named after the Azurian Emperor, and where the royal family resided.
She had insisted on taking the trip alone, and dismissed her entourage before getting off the royal Zenian convoy ship. Now she wished they had stuck around until her transport came. Of course, she had expected to meet an Azurian greeting party at the terminal.
She looked around and grimaced at the brightly colored display of sex-for-fee advertisements constantly floating above her head on three-dimensional holo-boards.
The terminal itself was a collage of rails, standings, Grills and vehicles, to suit the physical specifications of all the different alien species that resided on Azuri. It seemed to Yani that the only commonality was the overly sexually explicit imagery that assailed anyone the minute they walked out into the streets.
Sex, it seemed, was the cohesive glue that held this society together. Azuri, Yani had been told before she traveled here, did not have a very stable socialized integration system. Azuri’s royal family had a hard time reining in the mini mêlées, which happened several times a month. Another reason a Zen princess shouldn’t be left alone on a public commuting station without some form of protection. She scowled, very un-lady like, and cursed under her breath.
Yani did not often use her status to get preferential treatment, but she was a princess for the love of
It was even more reason for her to be extremely indignant with the Azurian royal family, especially Prince Gor.
She gritted her teeth just thinking about her pending nuptials. Her marriage to the Prince of Azuri was simply a political move to expand Zen's trade interests.
She was the eighth daughter of twelve princesses and princes, born to King Anton and Queen Mari of Zen.
I won't be missed that much
... she thought wryly. In fact, when news of the plans to have a Zen princess represent their planet in an "arrangement" with Azuri had been made public, her brothers and sisters actually made bets on which daughter would be sacrificed.
She thought it was funny at the time, until her name was pulled from the proverbial bag. If being a princess didn't suck before, it sucked now.
A tortured groan stole Yani from her thoughts. She looked over her shoulder to see the threesome that had been going at it since she set foot on the transit stop.
The grilled floor beneath her feet vibrated to the strokes and undulations of the two Azurian males and an Aquarian female. The woman must belong to one of the males, since a lovely red-jeweled collar adorned her slender neck. It didn’t surprise Yani that these barbarians would share their females with others. The male at her rear had his large, triple ridged, cock between the lovely green-skinned woman's ass cheeks, driving in with gusto.