Authors: Jocelyn Modo
Faced with a life of sexual servitude, Azure runs away in
search of help. What she finds on a space station in enemy territory is
soul-searing sex with her intimate—the one male in the galaxy who matches her
body, mind and spirit.
Lone, a dual blood, doesn’t want to bond with Azure, who
belongs to the race that has nearly destroyed him. But he has never felt so
loved or so moved by any female.
Together they must overcome prejudices that have kept their
races apart for hundreds of years and escape before Azure’s past catches up
with them and kills their future.
Azure Rettca knew finding the leader of the Underground Union
Movement in a crowd of eighty thousand was insane. But with her hormones raging
and a forced marriage contract hanging over her head, she was desperate enough
to plead insanity and look anyway.
Terrified her father would find her and drag her home to the
male she despised, Azure searched the Equate Space Station located in World
Two, Nashete territory. Here, every few years when casualties grew gruesomely
high from the Great Galaxy War, the two populated worlds joined together to
Nothing ever came of these discussions, Azure thought as she
tucked a curl of her powder-blue hair behind her ear and squirmed on a long,
narrow bench against a scrolling info-wall. She watched the two
peoples—Nashete, who were larger and darker, and Vitca, her people, who were
smaller and paler—walk by in racially clean clusters, sneering and threatening
each other. Their racism made her sick.
Where were all the dual bloods her father spoke of with such
disdain, the offspring of Nashete and Vitca intimates whose trinity-of-being—body,
heart and spirit—fit together as pieces of a whole? She saw none or, more
accurately, smelled none. Dual bloods were supposed to carry both the citrus
smell of Nashete and the sweet smell of Vitca blood in a combination that her
cousin Corra once described as peace wrapped in lemon sugar.
Corra… Tears sprang to Azure’s eyes as she thought of her
cousin forced into a marriage with a male who was all muscle and meanness, a
male who’d given Corra anything but peace since their marriage contract had
been sealed months ago.
She shook her head—peace was impossible when
the majority of the two races refused even to mingle. Hell, if weapons were
allowed on the space station she’d run away to, they’d all be dead a few
minutes into the discourse.
This was the most obtuse, bigoted, stubborn group of beings
she’d ever had the misfortune of seeing, and that was saying something given
the fact her family, from whom she’d never been away before, were pureblooded
Vitca who prided themselves on their separatist lifestyle and support of the
“I’m such a moron. Finding him is impossible in this crowd,”
she whispered to herself as a very large, very hot Nashete male stepped in
front of her. Her gaze locked with his for the briefest of moments and then she
took in his shoulder-length, blond, wavy hair that shone like gold, his broad
shoulders, which were squared at attention and, as he turned away…an ass made
Despite his unbelievable good looks, he had an aura of
sadness so strong that she had to fight not to cry. Something was horribly
wrong with him. His extraordinary eyes showed that his soul had not only been
broken but set on fire, flayed alive, leaving a twisted, crippled mutation that
could never heal.
His overwhelming sorrow cooled the sexual ache burning
through Azure that signaled she had reached maturity and was more than ready to
mate. But not with him. As hot as he was, her body knew he was not her
At least gorgeous guy’s deep depression was helping her control
her newly awakened hormones, which were screaming for relief that only her
intimate could give. Still, it was really too bad that this male was not the
one she was meant to spend her life with. She had the impossible impulse to try
to heal the shattered pieces of him.
But if he were her intimate, he sure as hell would not be
scanning the crowd as if he was looking for something or someone else. And he
matched only one of her trinity-of-being, her body. Her heart and spirit were
not drawn to him.
A young, babyish voice cut through the babble of the crowd.
The male Azure was beginning to think of as the gold god
turned toward a baby bot—a robot sold while in a state of learning who, like a
sentient child, bonded to its “parent” and learned from experience. Only the
very wealthy owned such advanced personal companion equipment as a baby bot.
This one was as cute as a doll, its metallic skin shimmering pink in the
brightly lit hall. She approached the male on short, wobbly legs, tiny arms
outstretched—a robotic toddler with hair the same color and cut as the male and
big, baby doll eyes the color of a clear day planetside.
“Found you, Pemmi,” the baby bot squealed, her metallic
teeth flashing silver as her smile plumped her little girl cheeks. “I told you
I could find you anywhere. Even with all these people running around.”
She did a little hop where she stood in front of the male.
He reached down and picked her up, his stance, his whole state of being
changing to a protective joyfulness that was so opposite his mood from seconds
ago that it took Azure several moments to catch up with his change.
Gathering the bot against his chest as if she were his real
child instead of a piece of state-of-the-art equipment, he smiled into her
shiny face and looked even more striking than he had before.
“I knew you could find me, Sar. You are brilliant!”
She giggled, a mechanical birdlike sound that eased the
tension and fear in Azure’s body and mind.
Innocence overcomes all
,she thought, relaxing
as the “father” and “child” congratulated each other on a job well done.
“Let’s do it again!” Sar exclaimed, squirming until the male
put her down.
With an indulgent smile, he said in a rich voice, “Last
time. We have peace talks in less than an hour.”
“Okay, Pemmi!” The robotic child raced off, weaving in and
out of the crowd on stubby baby legs that were made of metal strong enough to
punch through a wall or a sentient being’s head.
A soft sigh escaped Azure’s lips. The male turned, cocked
his head, and gave her a smug half-smile that seemed to say, I know something
you don’t know.
She squirmed under his intense, neon-green gaze, her mind
racing with questions, but before she could find the nerve to voice them, the
male nodded to her with a sudden air of solemnity and walked away in the
opposite direction from where his baby bot had gone.
The hormones firing through her urged her to go after him,
but because he was not her intimate she was able to ignore her body.
After three unsuccessful attempts at contacting Trius
Daylor, she had risked everything to travel to the Equate Space Station to find
the legendary union leader who had the ability to conceal her and Corra from
those who pursued them across the galaxy, not drool on some depressed male
model who spent ridiculous amounts of credit on experimental bots to play games
with while at peace talks.
Never mind the horrifying promise of a marriage forced upon
Azure. Corra was already trapped in a bad marriage back on their home planet,
World One, and Trius was their best chance for a better life. Too bad neither
she nor her cousin had more than a passing idea what the male Trius Daylor
looked like—other than strong, virile lethal. She was here because of a rumor
that Trius used to come to all the peace talks. But that had been with his
intimate, and since his female had been killed in the war, maybe Trius had
given up on peace. The leader might be nowhere near the Equate Space Station.
With a growl of frustration, she stood and wove her way
through the throng of people until she reached the open balcony. She looked
down to the busy courtyard several levels below, where clusters of Vitca and
Nashete talked separately of peace.
A solid, strongly built male caught her eye. He couldn’t be
much older than Azure, but the throng of servants following on his heels told
her that she was looking at a powerful person, one who just might be Trius
Daylor. And he was working his way through the crowd toward the lifter.
A thrill of excitement tightened her chest as she raced for
the lifter that was coming up, carrying the male with it. She made it inside
just as the doors began to close on her floor. With one close look she knew the
male wasn’t Trius, couldn’t be Trius. How she’d failed to recognize him as a
Vitca senator well known for his extreme separatist views, she didn’t know.
But before she could reorder her thoughts, a scent so
wonderful, so perfect, followed her into the lifter she lost her breath,
knowing immediately what it meant. She looked out the clear wall of the lifter.
In the brief seconds before the lifter began its ascent, she saw on the floor
below an intense-looking male standing with two others. He scanned the crowd
with space-black eyes that held the intensity of a male who had sensed a female
matching his trinity-of-being, triggering his hormones so that he harmonized
with her physically as well.
He was all hard lines and thick muscle, his black eyes cold,
his body built for fighting, hunting, killing. His mouth was a cruel slash
across his bitter face. In fact, the only thing warm about his appearance was
the color of his skin. Not pale white like hers or deep brown like the Nashete.
No, her intimate’s skin shone like a golden sun on a clear day planetside. The
kind of warmth she wanted to bask in, wrap herself around and sink into. The
kind of warmth she had never known from any male—family or friend. His chin
lifted and his nostrils flared, no doubt scenting her.
She swallowed hard, her throat tight. Sweat beaded on her
skin and her breath came in harsh pants. She thought she might hyperventilate.
“Gods of the unseen universe, help me,” she said under her
breath, though why she bothered to pray, she didn’t know. She could catch only
a glimpse of him from her vantage point, but if the signals her body was
producing were any indication, this was the male the unseen gods had chosen to
be her intimate, the one she was meant to meet, marry and mate with while in
the seen universe.
And just his proximity had sent her trinity-of-being into
overdrive, preparing her to bond with him. Damn it!
Azure didn’t have time for falling in love. She had lives to
* * * * *
Lone Lamin considered himself patient in all things. But
after hours of encountering prejudice from both the Nashete and Vitca races, he
wanted to punch someone in the mouth, knock their teeth down their throat and
watch them cough up blood instead of all of those rude little comments they
kept making behind their hands.
Maybe his brothers Wharm and Kanaen had been right and they
should have used the top secret Nashete transport chips to materialize onto the
station. Riding public transportation to make a statement instead had been
effective. But damned if the bigotry they’d faced on their way to the peace
talks hadn’t taken its toll on their trinity-of-beings. Still, he couldn’t
bring himself to regret his decision to come to this thing. Especially not
after their father’s murder had devastated them short months ago.
Their Vitca mother, a female with pure breeding and purer
tastes had also been their father’s intimate. A truth she could not swallow for
long. As soon as the minimum amount of time required by the peace marriage
contract was up, she had abandoned him along with her three sons when they were
still children. Their Nashete father had raised them to believe that their dual
blood made them special. Not less than the pure bloods. And they had come to
the peace talks to honor his memory. Lone reminded himself of this as another
group of Vitcas sneered at them down their long, noble noses.
“Pathetic,” Kanaen said loudly as he arched a thick, black
eyebrow at the nearest group. “Could they be any more predictable and boring?”
Wharm elbowed their youngest brother in the chest. “Acting
like an ass isn’t helping, Kana.”
Kanaen snorted. “They can smell us a mile away. Both races
know we’re dual bloods. And neither wants anything to do with us.”
“Patience—” Lone’s voice broke as the air shifted, bringing
him a scent so soft and sweet, so moving that his heart lost its rhythm and his
blood pooled low. He grew hard. Ready. Alertly waiting for the Vitca female who
was his intimate to walk into his life and accept him into hers.
“What is it? What’s wrong?” Wharm and Kanaen asked, speaking
at the same time. Their empathic ability allowed them to sense his feelings but
not know his thoughts. How could they understand his sudden shift in emotions
when Lone could barely wrap his head around them himself?
His brothers formed a triangle with Lone, facing out,
studying the throng, looking for danger, preparing to fight.
“My intimate is here.” Lone breathed her in again, his mouth
“What?” Wharm asked.
“Where?” asked Kanaen.
“Gods of the unseen universe, help me.” His words came out
deep, rough. He cleared his throat, trying to maintain a sense of calm or at
least outward decorum as he tilted his head back and inhaled. “Above us. One of
the upper floors.”
Standing together as they were, when they tilted their heads
back to look up at the higher floors, they formed what the ancient Nashete
priests called a “diamond of souls”, three sets of eyes in the shape of a
triangle, looking aloft, searching for answers. An auspicious formation that
boded well for the search and seizure of Lone’s intimate…if he wanted her, that
Despite his body’s reaction, he didn’t want her. Not even a
“Vitca.” Like his missing mother. Like his father’s killer.
She was not for him.
Lone wrinkled his nose at her sweet smell and headed outside
to breathe in some artificially fresh air. Station-wide generators recognized
his presence and clicked on, circulating air and creating a synthetic night
breeze that shifted when his brothers stepped up on either side of him, their
body heat warming him when he desperately needed to cool down.
“She is your intimate.” Wharm rested his large hand on
Lone’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze.
“I can’t. I won’t accept her,” he bit out, shrugging off his
brother’s hand as he studied the Heart Nebula that could be seen past the
pink-tinted atmo-shield. Like a watercolor painting done in shades of red, the
nebula looked like an explosion of blood and meat, framed by the vast darkness
of space and the twinkling of far-off stars. At the center of the explosion was
what looked like an anatomically correct heart—all thick muscle and glistening
veins. He’d always romanticized the nebula before, but tonight all he saw was
death and darkness.