Denali is the most gorgeous man Mala has ever seen, one of the feline Felisians. His every sensuous movement stirs passion prohibited to unmarried women from her planet. Stranded alone with him, she knows she should resist. But with every touch, every glance, every word, he's seducing her, awakening the need, building the urge. Does he only want her because none of his kind survived the shuttle crash, though? When they’re rescued, and Denali is reunited with his kind once more, will he abandon her and seek another, a Felisian mate?
Length: Epic Novel
Word Count: 100,046
Genre: Futuristic Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Eliza Black, November 2008
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Proximity warning claxons shattered the silence in the space shuttle. Navigation Officer Selandra responded by quickly tapping pads on the Nav console with both hands.
"Sir, a ship just appeared in sensor range," she reported over her shoulder, her tone sharp with urgency.
"Identification?" From the co-pilot's seat to her right, Denali scanned his instruments and the viewscreen. Ships were rare on this frontier of space. Had the activity of the Panesh ship dropping off their passengers attracted unwanted attention to the shuttle? His muscles tensed as his fingers touched controls on the panel in front of him.
"Too far away yet." She spoke crisply while performing her Nav duties.
"Let me know as soon as you identify it."
Two minutes later, Selandra hissed at him, "Malchovists! They're closing fast!"
Shock rocketed through him, and he stiffened. Anger and hatred followed quickly, spurting fire into his veins. Malchovists were the Felisians' mortal enemies and the foes of every other species in Unified Sentient Planets, or USP. They were indiscriminant killers who raided unprotected colonies, as they'd done to the Felisians' own colony, Felis II, in its infancy.
"Wake Beratim!" he ordered Selandra, while he disengaged the piloting from the computer. He was a communications officer, not a pilot. He knew how to operate the shuttle, but in a fight or flight situation, he knew to delegate to the person with the most skill. Selandra sprinted toward the back of the shuttle, her long bronze mane flying out behind her.
Normally Felisians would fight Malchovists fiercely, but their shuttle was no match for a spaceship in maneuverability, speed or weaponry. Besides, they had their Bonwee passenger on board ....
His mind froze in horror for a second, skittering to a stop at the thought of petite Mala Avonee, captured by the Malchovists. Because of the Bonwee species' capacity for languages, two other Bonwees had been captured in the past and both had been horribly abused. The Malchovists would systematically torture, rape and starve her until they got whatever compliance or information they wanted out of her. The rest of those on board the shuttle would die, but she would be mistreated until she wished for death. No! Denali wouldn't let that happen; he would rather kill her himself than allow her to suffer at their hands.
At the sound of bare feet slapping a staccato on the decking, Denali glanced around. The shuttle pilot, Beratim, a young man of nineteen, dashed from the sleeping berths, still in his black military issue pajamas. He'd cut the top of his mane short, but let the rest hang to his shoulder blades.
Denali moved over to the Com station. As his two officers strapped on their harnesses, he turned back to the passenger section where Mala sat with her large Grimari bodyguard, Tarana.
"Belt in. We've got company. Malchovists!" He had no time to think in Basic, the language of USP, so Mala would have to translate to Tarana. He knew Mala understood the peril when he saw her face pale. He put on his harness and his earpiece and spoke into the Com, trying to remain calm, even as his heart raced. Their space ship was six minutes away for messages, even longer than that for anything more. He squelched that thought.
"This is BQN2 shuttle. We have Malchovists in this sector. We're being pursued and are beginning evasive maneuvers. Do you copy BQN-3210?"
This wasn't supposed to happen. Their voyage was a routine passenger transport, a favor for USP. Pick up Mala and Tarana from the Panesh and deliver them to the planet Felis II to await the next transport to the USP interior two weeks hence. "An uneventful trip" was how Captain SoAhnor had described Denali's first command assignment. It might turn into a ride through an exploding nova instead.
While he waited for what now seemed an interminable lag time, he turned toward Beratim and Selandra. He was in charge of this mission, so he'd do the best he could. "Any success at evading them, Beratim?"