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Welcome to the Dark Side!

We are writers mainly from Australia and New Zealand who write speculative fiction with romantic elements. Be it fantasy, paranormal, dark urban fantasy, futuristic and everything in between.

Tuesday 26 November 2019

DarkSider News for November 2019 - Part 3


Wait....there's more November news...


Please make welcome to the DarkSiders:

Susannah Kade 
Susannah lives in Adelaide, but spent her childhood in the English countryside chasing butterflies on sunny days and jumping in puddles when it rained. She loved nothing better than to spend time
daydreaming and making up magical stories.

Her ideal day is a writing day, with essential breaks for dog and cat cuddles, and taking time for tea in the garden. (Disclaimer: if it's pouring with rain or blowing a howling gale, she might be wrapped in a soft fluffy blanket and huddled on the couch with a book. Okay, let's
be honest, she might occasionally pick up the TV remote.)

She writes adventure romance set on Earth and other worlds, with a
sprinkling of magic in many of her stories.

Lauren Rose 
Lauren Rose is a paranormal fantasy romance writer from South Australia. She has a fantasy short story filled with romantic elements published in an anthology, and has many more stories underway that she hopes to share with the world soon. With a BA in English and creative writing, and an MA in editing and publishing under her belt, she has always had a connection with reading and writing, and is looking forward to a career where she can work with and help others who share the same passion.

When she’s not reading or writing she’s binge watching TV shows, playing video games, or harassing her cats with her partner in crime. You can find out more about Lauren Rose and her current WIPs at laurenrosewriter.com


Dane's Redemption is a short story bSusannah Kade in the anthology Weird and Wonderful released on 5 November.

Eighteen authors explore several lesser-known holidays. Featuring sweet country romance and sex in the big city, there's something for all romance readers. Polar bear plunges. Sexy neighbors. Even a cute shifter or two. This anthology has it all! Come celebrate

Buy links available from Books2Read

A Siren's Song is a short story by Lauren Rose in the anthology Salty Tales released in February.

The sea has a way of speaking to your soul, of casting its captivating spell and drawing you to its sandy shores. Dive into this multi-genre collection of sea-themed stories to discover what secrets are kept beneath the waves. Sirens, mermaids, and beach-combing serial killers are just a few of the characters you will meet on your adventures beneath the surface of this anthology. Love, suspense, fantasy—there’s a salty tale here for everyone.

Available from:

Alien Redeemed by Marie Dry (Book 7, Zyrgin Warriors) was released on 29 October.

On a harsh alien planet, in a faraway galaxy, Sarah, a gentle human woman, is determined to start a new life, far away from the hardship she endured on Earth and the pitying glances of her friends.

Once on Zyrgin, Sarah finds that, instead of being the empress and helpmeet at the side of the Zyrgin leader, she is merely his breeder. She is trapped in a gilded cage, not allowed to go out and interact with the other women on the planet, until she's proven her loyalty to the empire by birthing Zaar’s child. After her traumatic experiences in the raider camps, and the resultant PTSD, Sarah doubts she could ever make love to her Zyrgin warrior.

Zaar assures her he has a superior plan to cure her of her problem. But is he able to reach through all the barriers Sarah has erected against true intimacy?

Available from:

Kiss of Eon by Anna Hackett  (Book 4, Eon Warriors) was released on 22 September.

When the vital alliance between Earth and the Eon Empire depends on her playing war games with an arrogant, infuriating Eon warrior, what could go wrong?

Terran Captain Allie Borden has her orders. Take her ship, the Divergent, and strengthen the alliance with the Eon by carrying out training exercises with the Eon warship, the Desteron. The only problem…one annoying warrior who gets on her nerves like nobody else. Forced to work with Second Commander Brack Thann-Felis, Allie finds her diplomacy skills stretched to the limit…and her body betraying her with a white-hot desire that’s getting hard to ignore.

Brack Thann-Felis is dedicated to his ship, his warriors, and his job. Watching his parents’ disastrous marriage has ensured that he will never mate or fall in love. Working with feisty, opinionated Allie tests his patience, but the more time he spends with the dedicated captain, the more he finds he can’t stay away from her.

As mysterious, dangerous sabotage events strike their ships, it becomes evident that someone wants their alliance to fail. They might have traitors among their crew and they both know it has to lead back to their enemy—the ravenous insectoid Kantos. Soon, Brack and Allie find themselves in a fight for their lives, with only each other to depend on, and a growing desire that will not be denied.

Available from:
Amazon US | Amazon Aus |

Seducing the Huntress by Mel Teshco (Book 3, Nightmix) was re-released on 25 November.

She wants to kill him. He wants to possess her body and give her ultimate pleasure.

Isabella suffered an unimaginable loss at the teeth and claws of a vicious nightmix. She grew up wanting nothing more than to hunt and kill every last shape shifting black panther in the kingdom.
What she doesn’t expect is to go from hunter to hunted. Never expects to be captured by the nightmix monster, Reuben, and taken to his cabin, where he plays her body like a finely tuned instrument. Their erotic connection is explosive, but Reuben is the enemy.

Or is he...?

Available from:
Amazon US | Amazon Aus | Apple Books | B&N | Kobo |

Nightworld Academy: Term Three by LJ Swallow (Book 3, Nightworld Academy) was released on 21 November in audio format.

Term Three is in session. Let the games begin.

I’m back at the Nightworld Academy and looking forward to a new term, but life isn't any easier. I’m still reeling from the events at the Winter Ball and Tobias’s revelation. Now, a new face on campus is about to throw everything into turmoil.

My relationship with the guys grows more complicated. I’m worried Ash is drifting away from me. I’m no closer to finding how to stop Jamie’s death, and my feelings for Andrei confuse us both. Amelia’s also behaving oddly, and I’m worried she’s planning something stupid. Is somebody trying to pull us apart?

Add in the rivalry of the academy games, and this term will test friendships.

A prank leads to a frightening and confusing vision unlike anything I’ve experienced, and I’m now certain the biggest danger to the academy is somebody or something already here.

Amidst all the confusion, one thing is clear. I need to work on perfecting my new abilities and holding us together before the Dominion infiltrate the academy and my new world comes crashing down.

Available from:
Amazon | Audible |

Sloth by Lana Pecherczyk (Book 4, Deadly Seven) was released on 26 November.

She’s a hacker, a legendary gamer, a badass vigilante… if she can get herself out of bed. 

Nothing much appeals to Sloan Lazarus, except the burning hatred for the man who stole her heart and then ghosted her—right after she confessed her crime-fighting secret. When he turns up two years later, completely complacent and hot-as-sin, Sloan is determined to make his life a living hell. Then she discovers he is her lifemate... and her unstable powers kick in. 

After being dishonorably discharged from the army, Maximillian Johnson has come to the sin-soaked Cardinal City to make a difference. A dark secret drives his motivation, and coloring outside the lines of law enforcement with the Deadly Seven is just what he needs. It doesn’t hurt that he gets to work with the beautiful woman who still holds a long denied place in his heart. 

Problem is, the fanatical Syndicate are closing in, and just when the Deadly Seven think they’re making headway, they take two steps back. Sloan must learn to make peace with the brooding security specialist, or suffer the consequences of being imbalanced. If she can’t learn to trust again, and control her devastating new powers, life will be worse than a living hell… it will be deadly.

Paranormal Romance meets The Avengers in this epic series where the heroes must find a lifemate, or become the deadly sin they're destined to destroy. Full of steamy romance, humor, thrilling action, family dynamics, band of warriors, alpha heroes and strong heroines. If you like your superhero shows, but want more romance from your Lois and Clarke, then you’ll fall head over heels the Deadly Seven. Binge this series in Kindle Unlimited.

Available from:
Amazon US | Amazon Aus |

Envy by Lana Pecherczyk (Book 1, Deadly Seven) is now available in print.

Crime rages in Cardinal City. The fanatical Syndicate's answer is to be judge, jury and executioner, even if that means destroying half the world to eradicate sin. The only thing standing in their way is a family of fearless vigilantes known as the Deadly Seven.

Evan Lazarus, the youngest and most inexperienced of the group, blames himself for the mass tragedy that tore his heroic family apart. As they self destruct, he travels a dark path towards vengeance and redemption, slowly falling prey to the sin he was created to fight. Envy eats at his heart. Finding balance in a partner who embodies his sin's opposing virtue could be his only hope. The last thing he expects to find is his soulmate.

Doctor Grace Go almost died in the blast that killed her parents and now seeks justice for the survivors. When her investigation crosses paths with a fiercely protective but damaged hero, she is intrigued. The more she sees him, the more he ignites a desire she thought long gone, and the easier it is to stay ignorant to the secret that could ruin her opinion of him forever.

When a figure from Evan's past emerges, in league with the Syndicate, their evil scheme threatens to destroy everything he holds dear. Pushed to the limits, he will have to pull his family from the brink of oblivion and become the hero the city needs... or will envy drive him to destroy Grace and his only chance at love and redemption forever?

Paranormal Romance meets The Avengers in this epic series where the heroes are as deadly as the sins they were created to fight. Full of sizzling romance, fated mates, band of warriors, alpha heroes and strong heroines. If you like your superhero shows, but want more romance, then you'll fall head over heels the Deadly Seven.

Available from:
Amazon US | Amazon Aus | Book Depository |

Greed by Lana Pecherczyk (Book 2, Deadly Seven) is now available in print.

Griffin Lazarus’ restraint is notorious within his superhero family. His mastery over the sin of Greed is second to none. What they don’t know, is a shameful secret drives his discipline and one slip could mean fatal consequences for anyone close to him. When he’s forced to work with a beautiful, feisty reporter poking around his personal life, his control swiftly unravels. Everything about her throws his beliefs into chaos. She’s arousing, loud and infuriating, and craving her could be his undoing—or his redemption.

Lilo Likeke, an altruistic reporter for the Cardinal Copy, is hunting the story of a lifetime. Who are the Deadly Seven? If she can nail her unicorn story, she’ll finally prove her apple falls far from her corrupt family tree. When her mobster father is kidnapped, and she’s drawn into his web of chaos, she soon learns you can’t outrun your past, but you can choose your family. Trusting the man behind the mask might kill her story, but it also might save her heart.

With the Syndicate breathing down their necks, none of it could matter if they don’t live to see another day, and Griffin has no intention of losing the woman he covets, even if that means embracing bedlam…

If you like your superhero movies and TV shows, and your paranormal romance band of warriors and fated mate books, then you'll fall head over heels with the tortured heroes and sassy heroines of The Deadly Seven.

Available from:
Amazon US | Amazon Aus | Book Depository |

Wrath by Lana Pecherczyk (Book 3, Deadly Seven) is now available in print.

Betrayed. Alone. Angry.

Wyatt Lazarus's ex-fiancée betrayed him in the vilest of ways, and he failed to see it coming. Now alone and ashamed, the unquenchable influence of his sin fuels his anger. Instead of redeeming sinners—he ends them. Wrath becomes his identity until a brutal mistake throws him into the path of a cheeky yoga instructor in need of a savior.

Misha Minski believes in karma, but after years of suffering blackmail from an old mafia acquaintance, it’s hard to stay strong. Soon her number is up. Rather than spend her last days wallowing in self pity, she’s determined to enjoy one last night of pleasure with her new mysterious protector, but instead, finds something much more—a future. 

But when the evil Syndicate join forces with Misha’s psychopathic blackmailer, Wyatt must push through his bitterness and reunite with his heroic family, or the woman who gave him back his voice will be lost to him forever.

Available from:
Amazon US | Amazon Aus | Book Depository |

Non spec-fiction

Undetected by Anna Hacket (Book 7, Treasure Hunter Security) was released on 21 October in audio format.

Finding undiscovered treasures is always daring, dangerous, and deadly. Unidentified contains two action-packed novellas starring sexy archaeologists, feisty treasure hunters, and tough former Navy SEALs on the hunt for two priceless Incan emeralds.

The Emerald Tear: Ambitious Archaeologist Oliver Ward leads a dig in the wild jungles of Ecuador and collides with feisty, independent treasure hunter Persephone.

Oliver Ward loves getting his boots dirty on fascinating digs, and investigating strange ruins in Ecuador is no exception. When bandits threaten his team, a small, tough treasure hunter bursts into his world to save the day. He finds himself captivated by the bright, vibrant woman and sucked into a wild and dangerous treasure hunt for a lost Incan emerald.

Daughter of a con artist, Persephone Blake trusts no one and has a plan - find and sell artifacts until she can retire on a white-sand beach. But her plans are derailed when a handsome, smart, and stubborn archaeologist pushes his way onto her hunt. She finds herself irresistibly tempted by Oliver, and as they trek deeper into the jungle, danger follows. And Persephone isn't sure what is in more danger - her body or her heart.

The Emerald Butterfly: Former Navy SEAL Diego Torres finds himself helping the one woman who drives him crazy - the DEA agent who boarded his ship and handcuffed him.

Injured and tortured on a mission, Diego Torres was ready to leave the SEALs and loves being captain of his salvage ship, the Storm Nymph. As he begins his vacation, he planned for solitude, late mornings, and drinking beers while watching the Florida sunsets, what he didn't plan for was the gorgeous DEA agent who boarded his ship several months before. And he really didn't plan for an underwater expedition in search of a shipwreck and a priceless Incan emerald.

Sloan McBride's grandfather dreamed of finding the Emerald Butterfly his entire life. Now he's dying and she vows to find it for him...even if she has to work with the hard-bodied ex-SEAL she got off to a very wrong start with. But as Sloan and Diego work side by side, dogged by dangerous black-market thieves Silk Road, they uncover a scorching hot passion. They will do anything to protect each other, including calling in their friends from treasure hunter security, and they'll risk everything to beat Silk Road to the emerald.

Available at:
Amazon | Audible | iTunes | 

Undetected by Anna Hacket (Book 8, Treasure Hunter Security) was released on 1 November in audio format.

Darcy Ward has sold her soul to the devil. Okay, not quite the devil, but she did agree to work with Agent Arrogant and Annoying - aka Special Agent Alastair Burke of the FBI's Art Crime Team to lay a trap for infamous black-market antiquities ring, Silk Road.

Darcy loves shoes, computers, caffeine, and working at her family business, Treasure Hunter Security. The only thing missing is her dream of a once-in-a-lifetime love, like her parents share, and a man who'll put her first. She's not so crazy about Silk Road trying to kill her family and friends, nor is she fond of an order-giving FBI agent and his distracting cologne. Using a trio of cursed diamonds as bait, she's working hard to set a trap for Silk Road in the Dashwood Museum, but as the black-market thieves escalate their attempts to stop Darcy, she finds herself swept into Alastair's strong, protective arms.

Alastair Burke is driven by vengeance. He's dedicated his life to taking down Silk Road and its mysterious leader, the Collector, and now he finally has his chance. He can't allow anything to distract him - especially not a sassy, smart woman who tests every bit of his control. But as the opening gala of the cursed diamonds exhibit approaches, the thieves target him and Darcy with a series of deadly attacks...and Alastair realizes he'll do anything to keep her safe.

With the FBI and the former SEALs of Treasure Hunter Security at their backs, Darcy and Alastair are caught up in a dangerous game of cat and mouse, and their fierce attraction. But with lives on the line, Alastair will find himself caught between his desire for revenge and keeping the woman he's falling for alive.

Available at:
Amazon | Audible | iTunes | 

A Dusty Christmas by Lilliana Rose was released on 22 October.

It’s been nearly a year since Blaise moved to the country in the name of love, and Dusty opened her heart to a city boy. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for either of them. This is their first Christmas together, and it could make or break them.

Has he proven his worth as a city boy to be able to survive living on the farm? Does he really need to prove himself, or is Dusty expecting too much?

Blaise wants to move to the farm, but Dusty is hesitant. Can she really trust him? The irrational doubt has risen from nowhere, and she’s grappling to work through it. It doesn’t help that the farm is also her mom’s home and three can be a crowd.

Can they work out their differences and make the final commitment to a future together?

Available from:

Losing Bash by Khloe Wren (Book 9, Charon MC) was released 22 September.

Life has never been easy for Jake “Bash” Alfonsi, but he’s always found a way to survive. Even when his father gave into his PTSD demons and took his own life just days before he turned twenty-one, he got through it. He even managed to go on and find a few slices of happiness in his life. But this latest hand life dealt him is his hardest challenge yet. Will Bash be able to rise once again, or will he get lost in his pain forever?

*** Losing Bash is book 9 in the Charon MC series, but can be read as a stand alone ***

Available from:
Amazon US | Amazon Aus |

Finding Needles by Khloe Wren (Book 10, Charon MC) was released 22 October.

In order to find a future, they’ll need to put their past behind them.

When Ryan “Needles” Perry left his hometown in Texas as a teenager, he’d had zero intentions of ever returning. But then he never would have guessed that after his father died, his mother would fall for a load of garbage that lands her in one hell of a mess that he needs to come home to clean up.
Elizabeth “Bess” Brooks was Ryan’s closest friend growing up and when she finds out his mom is in trouble, she reaches out to tell him. She wants to see his mother safe and will do whatever she can to help, but she vows that it won’t include falling for his rough biker charms.
Life hasn’t been kind to either of them in the nineteen years since they’ve seen each other and now they both have secrets that could tear them apart for good, or bond them together forever. But will they survive to find out?

*** Finding Needles is book 10 in the Charon MC series, but can be read as a stand alone ***

Available from:
Amazon US Amazon Aus |


Lusting the Enemy by Mel Teshco (Book 1, Nightmix) is currently FREE...

Akeisha is on a mission to be chosen as part of a harem for the desert king, Judas. She’ll use her body to entice and beguile, do anything it takes to save the near-extinct larakytes, her shape shifting silver panther tribe, from Judas’ human subjects, who are trying to eradicate them.

She never expects to succumb to the wild ecstasy in his arms, a pleasure that threatens to expose her inner cat even as it transcends anything she’s ever felt from one of her own kind.

Falling in love with a human enemy was never part of the plan, but maybe there’s more to Judas than meets the eye.

Available from:

Kadin by Mel Teshco (Book 1, Dragons of Riddich) is currently FREE...

The dragons will search the universe for their one true mate...

Grace has a special ability. She senses  paranormal beings. It’s the perfect trait to have as an operative for the Paranormal Detection Agency. A pity her next target, Kadin Marres, doesn’t just trigger her paranormal senses … he triggers her lust too.

Kadin has been aware of the elusive Grace for some time now and has waited patiently for her. She’s a dragon breeder, and once he finally has her, he isn’t about to give her up. Not even if it means she goes from hunter to hunted.

Available from:
Amazon US | Amazon Aus | Apple Books | B&N | Kobo |

Stone Cold Lover by Mel Teshco (Book 1, Winged and Dangerous) is currently FREE...

Heiress Loretta Shaw is notorious for her loose morals and sexual needs. Trouble is, it’s taken her one too many one-night stands to realize that no man can extinguish the sexual fire she feels toward her guardian, Cray Diamond.

A long-ago curse made Cray immortal—a gargoyle, a guardian, who is impelled to protect a human chosen by the curse. He is imprisoned in stone during daylight hours but dusk returns him to flesh and bone to carry out his immortal duty.

That Cray can shift between human and living gargoyle at night bothers Loretta not one bit. She’s seen him naked many times and her desire for him—in any shape or form—knows no bounds. She’s tired of his resistance. He’s her gargoyle … and she wants him in her bed.

WARNING: There are no closed bedroom scenes in this story, read if you like you stories hot :).

Available from:
Amazon US | Amazon Aus | Apple Books | B&N | Kobo |

Vorn and the First Comers by Donna Maree Hanson (Tales from Argenterra) is currently FREE...

A choice between life or death...

Kushlan Silvertongue has been commissioned to write the Tales of the First Comers, Tales of Argenterra.

This novella is the story of Vorn and the First Comers and their journey from violence and death to the beautiful magical land of Argenterra, the Silverland.

Mighty warrior, Vorn, leads the survivors to a new land and sets in motion a civilisation that lasts for over one thousand years.

Discover the origins of the given magic and how the first comers made the oaths that secured that magic forever.

Available from:
Amazon US | Amazon Aus | Apple Books | B&N | Kobo | Google Play |


Mission: Her Freedom by Anna Hackett (Book 6, Team 52) will be released on 26 November.

Soulhunter Academy by LJ Swallow (Book 1, Soulhunter Academy)

Keir. Nephilim. The impossible target. The guy whose soul is the key to my freedom. Is my training at the soulhunter academy enough for me to take him on and win?

I'm a half-angel trapped in a bleak world controlled by the ruling high angels, and I have one means of escape: sign my life over to their academy and become a soulhunter. If I survive the training, my mission is to enter the human world and retrieve souls trapped in demons. Once I collect enough souls, I’m free.

But nobody told me the whole truth about what soulhunter life entails—or why so many fail.

*Soulhunter Academy is the first book in the series. This is a partial rewrite and re-release of the first part of the original Soul Ties series which was unpublished in 2017. The new books will continue and complete the series

Non spec-fiction

Inking Eagle  by Khloe Wren has a new cover and the whole series is now available on Kindle Unlimited for a short time.

Book 1
Amazon US | Amazon Aus |

Series link
Amazon US


Keri Arthur, Imogene Nix and Lilliana Rose will be at Ballrooms and Books Event to be held in Sydney on 1 February 2020.

You can get tickets from Eventbrite. They also have a Facebook page

Keri Arthur, Imogene Nix, S.E. Gilchrist and Khloe Wren will be at Newcastle Book Boyfriend Author Signing to be held in Newcastle on 26 September 2020.

Keri Arthur, Imogene Nix and Khloe Wren will be at Books In-Sight Author Signing to be held in Melbourne on 1 August 2020.

Congratulations to all our DarkSiders!

Thanks for sharing in our news. Until next time, happy reading!

Saturday 23 November 2019

Darklight On ... Marie Dry

Today's Darklight On is ... Marie Dry

Thank you for having me on Darklight On.

I thought I’d talk a little about my writing process, or lack of a process. I’m a pantser, I don’t think my brain is wired to write any other way. For those that don’t know the term, a pantser is a writer that doesn’t plot, but just write by the seat of their pants. Add to that, I write out of sequence and you get a rather interesting writing process. That said, before I start writing I have to sit down and work out the characters and I spend a lot of time on that. I need to know the characters and how they will act in certain situations. What makes them happy and sad or so mad they can commit murder. 

Every time I start writing I have a clear idea of where I’m going with the story and each and every time the characters have different ideas. They end up with different issues and journeys than I had in my head. I thought to just go with the flow and not do any character development, but then the characters remain quiet. It’s as if they get this sadistic pleasure out of making me do all that work and then ignoring me and going their merry way. Their other favourite trick is to beat the back of my eyeballs until I see things their way. No, it’s not my writer’s imagination, they really do that!

Writing Alien Redeemed was no different. Though for some reason this book took me much longer than any other book to write. I’ve mentioned in several interviews that I even drafted a facebook post in my mind, trying to find the words to tell everyone waiting for this book, that the Zyrgin Warriors won’t have a last book and the series would just end somewhere in the middle. Thank goodness I didn’t have to do that. 

I met up with a friend from yoga, Chantall and I chatted to her about my characters. She is a psychologist and I loved her insights. Suddenly I could see past what happened to Sarah in the raider camps, to the person she was becoming through sheer determination. She and Zaar struck sparks off each other and I typed Zaar’s superior plan to win his human, a little bemused and amused at what I was typing. But the characters were at the wheel. Thank goodness they were, because going on the reviews and feedback from my readers, they knew the best way to tell their story.



On a harsh alien planet, in a faraway galaxy, Sarah, a gentle human woman, is determined to start a new life, far away from the hardship she endured on Earth and the pitying glances of her friends.

Once on Zyrgin, Sarah finds that, instead of being the empress and helpmeet at the side of the Zyrgin leader, she is merely his breeder. She is trapped in a gilded cage, not allowed to go out and interact with the other women on the planet, until she's proven her loyalty to the empire by birthing Zaar’s child. After her traumatic experiences in the raider camps, and the resultant PTSD, Sarah doubts she could ever make love to her Zyrgin warrior.

Zaar assures her he has a superior plan to cure her of her problem. But is he able to reach through all the barriers Sarah has erected against true intimacy?

Read on for Chapter One

Zaar, ruler of all the known galaxies and soon to be ruler of the unknown galaxies, didn’t want another breeder. Didn’t need another fragile female to betray him and call him barbarian, and then kill herself.
Shortly after Zaar’s breeder ended herself, the Wise One, the religious leader of the Zyrgin Empire, found the scrolls—Zaar still thought the timing rather suspicious—that predicted that a small, golden woman, with the birthmark of swords, would redeem his honorZaar had ignored it. He didn’t believe in prophecies and didn’t consider his honor lost. 
Unfortunately Zurian’s breeder had shown him a likeness of her friend that had been sold into slavery. The woman had the mark of the swords, and word had spread like wildfire through the ranks. When Zacar’s warriors had rescued the human female, Sarah, with the mark of two swords crossing on her skin, he knew he’d have to take the puny, golden-haired human, with the mark of the prophecy, as his breeder. He might be the most powerful person in the known galaxies, but in this he had no choice. Would she hate living on Zyrgin, like his first breeder did?
Many times after her rescue from the raider camps, he’d come to her room camouflaged, to observe her. To try and find something about her he could use to refuse taking her. Instead she fascinated him with the odd things she did.
He stood against the wall of her room, invisible to her eyes, and observed her hiding food, putting pieces of cloth on the floor, and then she’d sit staring at it for hours. Only to pack it back into a basket. The odd things she did fascinated him. He wanted to touch her golden hair, wondered if her pearl-colored skin would be as soft as it looked. Wondered where her head would fit against him when she stood in front of him. That first time in come into her room, she’d sat trembling in the corner, softly moaning, her eyes staring unblinking in front of her, as if she saw images only she could see. But every time he returned, she’d been different, stronger.
He’d left her and had killed as many raiders as he could find. He’d also taken a personal interest in the men in his dungeon. He might not have wanted another breeder, but he would avenge her.
Months had passed since that first time. He couldn’t stay away—kept coming back to observe her unseen. 
Zaar materialized, camouflaged, inside the room where his breeder sat on the floor, wearing what the humans called jeans. It wasn’t proper, the way it looked on her, but he enjoyed seeing the way it stretched over her hips. Sitting on the floor, she was trying, without much success, in his opinion, to unravel what looked like balls of peasant silk. She never sat on a chair if she could sit on the floor. It was a habit he didn’t think a delicate human female would have.
She muttered something he couldn’t make out, even with his superior hearing, and yanked on a string entangled with several others. 
Zaar looked her over critically. No doubt he had the most beautiful breeder in the empire, but everything about her was alarmingly fragile. A Zyrgin like him needed a woman that was strong mentally and physically. He’d experienced firsthand the results of taking a weak woman as breeder.
Female footsteps came from outside and he stared at Sarah who didn’t react. The bad hearing of the humans never ceased to amaze him. How did they function without hearing and with their bad eyesight? A bell rang and his breeder jumped up and went toward the door that opened to allow Zurian’s breeder to walk in. 
Julia touched Sarah’s shoulder briefly and then stepped back. “How are you doing, Sarah? How’d the visit with Hester go?” She asked that every time, and Zaar couldn’t see the reason for the repetition. Hester was the therapist they’d found to talk to the women about what happened in the camps. 
“I almost punched her in the face yesterday.” Sarah threw a punch in the air; her stance was wrong and the way she punched wasn’t effective at all. 
Julia laughed. “Obviously our training sessions are working. But please don’t beat up our therapist. You have no idea how difficult it was to get someone with those qualifications.”
Zaar had conquered many planets, but Earth was the first planet they found where the intelligent life forms, the humans, were close to making themselves extinct. He would honorZacar’s promise not to do conquest on the humans, but they needed managing. The scarcity of trained doctors and these therapists showed how they’d mismanaged their planet.
Sarah lowered her fists and shrugged. “Okay, she can live, but if she tells me one more time about healing tears, I’m punching her.” She made another odd jab with her small fist.
Julia laughed. “Honestly, if you can actually manage to land a punch, I’d volunteer to go out and find a replacement for Hester. You have no idea how impossible a task it is.” She rummaged in the large, bright red bag she’d brought with her and took out a pair of pink and another pair of gold shoes. She held it up. “Ta-daa.”
Sarah frowned and looked from Julia to the shoes. “Why did you bring heels?” 
“We are going to do the exercises in these heels. The first one to lose her balance gets to make the coffee and cake.”
Zaar cocked his head, tried to make sense of what Julia said. He debated putting a stop to this plan; Sarah could break an ankle. But he wanted to reveal himself to her when she was alone. Not with Zurian’s mouthy breeder around. And he was curious to see what they’d do.
Sarah smiled and grabbed the pink shoes from Julia. She sat down in a chair and pulled off the sensible shoes he approved of and put on the pink high-heeled shoes. She stood and Zaar decided to obtain more of them for her. In Zaar’s opinion, Sarah should have the gold pair; her hair was shinier and would fit better with the shoes.
They played the program, and Zaar stood watching as his breeder kicked and jumped as the fat human in the exercise program instructed. It was no surprise when Sarah lost her balance and ended up on the floor. She threw back her head and laughed as Julia tumbled down next to her. Her human laugh sounded odd to him, but he couldn’t stop watching the way her blue eyes sparkled when she laughed.
Sarah walked barefoot to the synthesizer and ordered coffee and a cake that looked revolting. “How is Mirabelle?” she asked as she handed Julia a plate and cup and then sat down on the floor next to her.
Zaar stared down at the two human women. He’d thought they would sit at the table, demand someone serve them. Normally, if he came to observe her and she had the other women with her, Zaar would leave. He should rethink that strategy. He’d learned a lot today. She was beautiful even when she did her ugly human laughter, and she was terrible at self-defence. He’d trained many warriors, and no amount of training would turn his breeder into a fighter. It was a good thing a warrior owned her.
“What do you want, Sarah?” Julia asked in an abrupt manner.
Sarah’s shoulders stiffened and she frowned down at her cake. “What do you mean?” She pressed the fork into the cake, until it looked like mud.
Julia set down her plate on the floor and looked Sarah in the eye. “You’ve been holed up here for months, almost a year now.”
“You want me to go?” His breeder sounded tragic, as if she wanted to make human tears. Zaar took a silent step forward. He couldn’t harm another Zyrgin’s breeder, but he could deliver her to her warrior with instructions to keep her in their dwelling. 
Julia shook her head so vigorously, the hair Zurian always bragged about—that was not nearly as shiny and gold as Sarah’s—swung about her face. “No, Sarah, never. I want you to stay with us forever.” She took Sarah’s hands in hers. “You can’t continue like this. You need a purpose, something to live for. Something that makes you so happy you laugh from deep inside your belly.” She gestured at the peasant silk. “You pretend to be interested in making clothes, but I know what you look like when you’re excited about something. If it’s not your passion anymore, find something, anything that gives you a reason to get up every morning.”
Zaar didn’t appreciate her meddling. Sarah had a purpose as the breeder to the Parenadorz of all the known galaxies. That was purpose enough for her. 
Sarah’s face was unmoving, but she still pushed the cake around with her fork and that more than anything told him how upset she was over Julia’s question. He’d seen her eat warrior-sized meals and she always looked as if she could pack away more. Sarah shrugged. “All I ever wanted was to be loved, to have children, and work on my business like me and Charles had planned.”
“Charles might come b—”
“He doesn’t want me anymore,” Sarah interrupted, her voice harsh with emotion. 
“Why are you so sure of that?” 
Sarah shrugged. “It doesn’t matter anyway. All I want now is to be safe, not to be sold by people I trust.” She put the plate down on the floor and then shuddered. “I want to belong somewhere, Julia.”
“You belong with us,” Julia said.
“Not really. You are my friends, the best friends I could ever ask for. But I want what you and Natalie have. You belong with your warriors and the children. I can never have that.”
“Of course you can.”
Sarah looked up at Julia and her lips twisted in a way Zaar didn’t like. “You know what happened to me? If Charles who loved me couldn’t accept me after what happened, why would any other man? 
“You don’t know—”
“I know him. Even if there’s a man out there who could accept that, I don’t think I can have a normal relationship.” She clenched her fist. “But I want to, I don’t want those b… b… beasts to win.”
Julia took his breeder’s hands and held it. “You know, you won’t be struck dead if you call those assholes bastards. That’s what they are.”
Zaar could think of much more descriptive words to call them.
Sarah shook her head. “It’s too ingrained in me, I suppose. No matter how hard I try, the words just won’t come out.”
“I wouldn’t mind being as ladylike as you,” Julia said. They both sat silent, eating their cake, and then Julia suddenly said, “Promise me something?”
Sarah looked wary. “What?”
“If a chance for adventure and change presented itself, no matter how outrageous it seems, grab it with both hands and go for the ride.”
Sarah put down her plate again, and stared at Zurian’s breeder. “Do you know something, Julia?”
“Of course not.” Julia got up and got busy putting the high heels into her bag. If she warned Sarah about the fact that she would be Zaar’s breeder, he would pay Zurian a visit. “Just don’t let fear hold you back.”
“All right.”
Julia jumped up. “I have to go. Mirabelle is with Natalie and I promised not to be too long.” She hugged Sarah and ran out the door. She came back almost immediately. “I almost forgot, here’s the canned food you wanted.” She shuddered. “How you can eat that when you can synthesize meals, I don’t know.” With that she ran out again.
“She’s hiding something from me,” Sarah mumbled. She went to the bed and put one tin of the human food under her bed, the other she hid among the peasant silk. Making lines on her forehead, she took up the fighting stance again. 
“Stuff off, Destiny,” she said. Who was this Destiny? He didn’t approve such a person for contact with his breeder. She reached up and behind her and tightened the band that held her hair together at the back of her head. He’d noticed she did that before she tackled any hard tasks. She adjusted her stance again and still didn’t get it right. “Start Program,” she said. The image of the instructor, that had to be the worst he’d ever seen in his lifetime, appeared again.
“If you can’t spin and kick yet, turn as fast as you can, and kick hard, and with meaning,” the instructor on the TC program said. Zyrgins never gave conquered planets their technology. They improved existing technologies if it was necessary for the smooth running of the planet. The TC that allowed the humans to watch programs and badly reported news, was the most primitive of all the technologies they’d encountered. That went for the instructor of this so-called exercise program, as well. Why did she want to learn anything from this human male that had no muscles and no fighting skills? 
Breathing hard, Sarah paused the program and adjusted her stance again. “Julia’s right, I need more exercise,” she mumbled and played the clip again. Sarah turned and kicked. “Take that, Destiny,” she screamed at the same time the solid thwack sounded as her foot connected. Zaar didn’t know which of them was more surprised when her heel hit his groin.
His breeder jumped around on one leg. “Ouch, ouch, ouch.” She stumbled back from him. “What the h… What happened?”
Zaar made himself visible. 
She looked up at him and whimpered and scrambled away. “Where did you come from?” Then that Zyrgin-like spirit he’d observed in her several times, stopped her in her tracks. She lifted her head and stood her ground, her gaze flicking from his jacket to his face.
“Who is Destiny?” he asked. His breeder will not have relations with a human male.
She made lines on her forehead again and then touched her hair. “Someone I’m going to kill,” she replied. “How did you get in here?” She moved away from him, in the direction of the door. “And why didn’t I see you enter? I faced the door the whole time.” 
He glanced at the corner where the TC still played the exercise program and then looked her up and down. “You do not have the skill to kill this Destiny. It would be better if a superior Zyrgin warrior like me killed him for you.”
She gave a strange laugh. “Oh, I think I can kick his butt without any help.”
“You are small and weak and your fighting skills are inadequate.” He glared at the instructor, still showing off his marshall skills. “Learning from an inferior male like that will not help you. You need a warrior.” 
Her face leaked of color, becoming as white as the clouds in the Earth sky. “I don’t need a warrior; I don’t need anyone.” She smoothed her hands over her jeans, all the while watching him with those jewel eyes. “You haven’t told me how you got in here and who you are. I will call Zacar if you take one step closer,” she threatened. Her gaze went to the door, measuring the distance. 
Zacar is under my command and I can be anywhere I want andcalling him will not help you.” He ignored the way she trembled and looked her up and down.” You are too puny to kill this Destiny. I will kill him for you.” 
She wrung her hands. “You don’t understand, Destiny is—”
She stopped talking and bit her lip. “Thank you, but I can kick his butt,” she said. What was she going to say about this Destiny? Was it a male she met in secret? She inched to the left, still giving the door those furtive glances. 
“You won’t make it,” he said gently, not wanting to scare her. But he wasn’t about to allow her to run out, screaming for the guards or Zacar
She froze and for a moment he saw sheer terror on her face. He’d seen it on many alien faces during his many conquest campaigns. He didn’t want that look on her face when she looked at him. 
She took another step back, but pointed her chin at him. “You have no right to invade my privacy like this. Who do you think you are?” 
“I am the Zyrgin,” he told her. Obviously, she didn’t understand when he’d told her before. 
“I know you’re a Zyrgin,” she added under her breath. “Did he think I missed the green-and-copper skin, bulging muscles, ridge on his head, and those odd eyes?”
Zaar decided to never tell her how good his hearing was. He enjoyed listening to her strange ramblings.  
The Zyrgin,” he corrected.
She rocked back a little, as if the truth had hit her. She touched the band that held her hair together, then plucked at her shirt. She took two more steps back, her eyes so wide, it looked like Earth viewed from space. “You’re the emperor?”
“The correct title is Parenadorz, but you can address me as my leader.”
“If you’re the Parenz-whatever, how can you be here? Julia said it takes a year for your ships to reach us. Surely you can’t just leave everything to travel to Earth to talk to one insignificant human.” She said that pointedly, as if she wanted to convince him she was of no importance.
“Your feeble human mind cannot comprehend my powers and how I can be here,” he told her and she narrowed her eyes at him. 
She crossed her arms over her chest and tapped her toe. “Why don’t you try explaining it to me? My feeble human brain might surprise you.” She trembled so much, he was surprised her thin limbs didn’t rattle together. But she was brave, standing her ground. He was impressed that she tapped her toes at him, in spite of her fear.
“I do not need to explain anything to you. But you should know that you are the least insignificant human on this planet. As my breeder you have a status above all others.” He knew what impressed breeders. The next time he came, he’d bring jewels and silk clothes. And strings of silk to replace her peasant silk.
“B…breeder?” she stammered. And then in that undertone: “So that’s what Julia talked about? Wonder how she knew?” She sounded disappointed, as if she thought her friend had betrayed her.
“I give you the privilege to become my breeder.” He manifested and presented the gold eduki pelt.
“What’s that?”
“It is the pelt of the eduki that I hunted and killed with my bare hands. You are now my breeder.” Zaar had resolved never to do this again, and yet he felt a savage satisfaction at knowing she belonged to him now.
She shook her head, her hair swinging back and forth. She ran to the door, but he’d programed it to stay close while he was with her. “No, no, no! Not again, never again.” She slammed her hands against the door.

About Marie Dry

Ever since she can remember Marie Dry wanted to travel. She lived in Zambia, Morocco and Spain and did short stints in Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Rome, Brazil, Portugal, Botswana and Mozambique. Through all the travelling reading romance has been a constant.

She read romances since she was nine and was fairly young when she decided she would write a story that had all the elements she looked for in a romance. Her first book was published in 2014.

There are several wonderful moments in her life that she would never trade for anything. One of them is meeting President Nelson Mandela and the second being published.


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