Originally published in HOTTER ON THE EDGE 2: Science Fiction Romance Anthology, a Night Owl Reviews 4 1/2 Stars Top Pick
Bred to be a legendary lover, he was untouched...until her
When raiders targeted his homeworld, Icere—the last male l’auralyo in the universe—helped destroy the empathic crystals that were his destiny, rather than letting them be corrupted. Now he channels his passion into revenge. Tracking the raiders through the interstellar sheerways to a watery world infamous for its aphrodisiac liqueur, he finds a queen—as adrift and alone as he—forced for years into a fate she never desired.
Saya-Rynn inherited command and control from her cruel grandfather and transformed her dangerous planet into a paradise—but the price was a poison that runs through her veins. Though she feels as ancient as the seas, she finds herself awash in the hot male potency of the young Icere. When the raiders strike again, Rynn must embrace her troubled legacy, and Icere will find his place as a lover and a fighter. Together, the reluctant ruler and the deposed prince of passion find common purpose, combating the mysterious entity seeking to rule the sheerways, and claim a love as bright as the infinite stars.
Rynn approved the last of the festival plans—everything under crunch deadlines with the early arrival of the spring storm season. She’d had no time to review the cruiseliner manifests, so she asked one of her assistants to run down details on the newly arrived Icere. While she welcomed outworld ideas along with outworld credits, she knew too well that outsiders could also bring trouble.
If pretty Icere was nothing worse than the usual sycophant, making himself comfortable as a suckerfish around another world’s aristocracy, she could let that pass. If he was a threat to those she loved…
The barge had quieted for the night when she left her office. Though her primary residence was on one of the central atolls, she enjoyed the time on the barge. It was large enough to rival some of the islands for square footage and was stable in all but the worst seas, but she sensed the subtle rocking of the waves beneath the plasteel and it soothed her as nothing else could.
Her restless steps took her down one of the guest room corridors: one with the room assigned to the stranger. She should have asked her assistant to stay until Rynn had confirmed that this Icere was harmless. She wouldn’t be able to rest wondering if her son’s latest companion was anything besides what he’d shown the world.
Not that he’d shown much, considering the high-necked tunic and mysterious gloves.
Without another moment’s hesitation, she went to his room and knocked. It was late, she was being rude—even for a reigning monarch—but she didn’t care. She would see what he was when he wasn’t expecting to be attacked.
“Yes?” His voice through the comm sounded sleepy.
She entered the override code and the door slid open.
He took a step back, blinking. “Saya. To what do I owe this…visit?”
A quick glance showed her that the common area was empty. The bedroom and bath were enclosed separately, out of sight, but no other voice called out in curiosity. Still, she asked for confirmation, “You are alone?”
The corner of his mouth kicked up in a lazy smile, showing off that dimple again. “Not now that you are here.”
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