In the distant future, Earth is ravaged by war and famine, and after generations of bloodshed settles into peace only to be invaded by the alien Delroi. General Alrik Torfa needs a mate and his seers promise mates for many of his people on the distant planet Earth. He doesn’t expect her to come easily, but is more than a little surprised to find her leading an enemy army. Outmanned and outgunned, there is no way the Earth forces can win.
Sergeant Major Laney Bradford has always played her part and served her people well, but the Delroi’s surrender demands are a bit extreme. Marriage to one of them? Not likely. But she’s fought for peace her entire life and when surrender talks are threatened by a conspiracy lead by her people, Laney must choose. Will she submit to the alien invader or lead the fight against him?
Laney looked over her shoulder to see three of the enemy warriors behind her. She arched an eyebrow.
“Come with us please. The General would like a private word with you.”
She turned back to see the boarding completed and the transport lifting into the air. Record time. I couldn’t get something done that fast if I stood over people cracking a whip and threatening a court martial.
The second transport loomed silently nearby, suspiciously inactive while she considered her options. The shortest of her “escort” was pushing 6’2. She cursed her lack of a weapon and noted theirs. No chance in a fight and probably no opportunity to run.
There could only be one reason to single her out. They called her the Butcher of Roses. Roses for the name of the town the Delroi had originally headquarted in. Butcher because there were so many civilians there. How was she to know they brought non-combatants to war with them? She would have snorted if she hadn’t felt her audience’s hard gazes on her back. So she won one battle. Well, a few actually. It was a war after all. The point was to win. When the Alliance agreed to this surrender, the Delroi promised no retribution. The ship’s ramp lowered and she sighed, resigned.
“Let’s go, Sergeant Major,” the speaker said. He was tall, broad shouldered and chested, with short-shorn black hair. His eyes were not unkind, but his hard tone made it clear they weren’t taking no for an answer. She was a little surprised no one grabbed her arm to lead her to the shuttle.
She followed him and the other two hulking warriors brought up the rear. With luck and cunning, she could find a way out of whatever ambush they had planned. She hadn’t reached her current position by being stupid. She experienced a rush of excitement. It had been a long time since she’d had a good challenge. She walked up the ship’s ramp and looked around curiously. The Alliance had captured some of these ships before but she was always too busy to check one out. It was like the inside of a small, stripped down jet. Instead of plush rows of seats, bench seats lined the interior walls. A curtain partition blocked off the cockpit.
“Welcome aboard, Sergeant Major.”
How had she ever thought that voice gravely? It was rich and smooth, like her favorite French Vanilla cappuccino. It flowed over her and worked its way into all her secret places. Bitter realization made her heart skitter to a stop. Impossible! It was bad enough to be in the enemy’s hands, but she would not let the mere sound of his voice arouse her.
Slowly she turned, taking careful note of the position of the cabin’s occupants. He held her gaze with steely grey eyes. Her skin flushed as she got her first close up look at him, heat rushing down her chest where her nipples had begun to throb painfully. She struggled to control her reaction, control her breathing. She did it by forcing herself to break the gaze, to look around and take stock, to look for an escape route.
Behind her stood a pilot in the cockpit and before her the golden-haired warrior. He leaned casually against the back wall, and she watched with dismay as the ramp rose and the doors slid closed. She was cornered. Trapped. Reaching for a center of calm she wasn’t sure she felt, she nodded in greeting. “I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage.”
“Yes.” He grinned. “I do.”
She narrowed her eyes, irritation and curiosity warring with lust. Somehow, she realized with shock, it all just combined to more lust. Her hard-earned control slipped away. Oddly, she wasn’t afraid of him. He looked too much like a golden-haired god to fear. She had the absurd urge to rub her body up against him like a cat in heat. God, Laney. Get a grip! Silence stretched as she tried to manage her response, to slow the pulse pounding in her neck and to will the dampness between her legs away. Damn the smug bastard. He knew the affect of his nearness. He smirked at her not four feet away.
“I know who you are. Sergeant Major Laney Bradford.” He dragged out her rank and name, as if savoring the taste of it on his lips. “The Butcher of Roses. I was beginning to think I would never get my hands on you.”