Sensual Sentient ♥ Episode 4

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If There Be Giants

The instant their boots punched the rocky ground at the base of the cliff, Blake grinned with the thrill still rushing through all of them. “God, I love gravity!”

“That was exhilarating,” Ketha agreed. “I’ve never actually propelled before.”

“Less chatter, more science,” Sida commanded.

“And she claims I have a one-track mind,” Blake muttered, as he and Isiah started toward the mine ahead of them.

“You know, if you accidentally tazed him with a proton pistol, I wouldn’t tell anyone,” Ketha offered, while she and Sida finished unharnessing themselves.

“All comm links are still open, Lieutenant,” Blake’s rough voice pointed out.

“Gotta love an observant man,” Ketha sighed, causing Sida to grin at her with new-found appreciation.

That grin only increased, when they finally caught up to the men and found Blake standing with his arms crossed over his chest and an unimpressed scowl on his face.

“Alright, heads up crew, there’s a chance we’ll be faced with a cave-in once we reach the end of the mine, and if it’s unstable–” Sida began.

“No sudden noises, got it,” Blake finished for her, dropping the pretense of being offended under the seriousness of that possibility.

Inside the mine, their lights revealed more of the same crude tools marks along the low ceiling and walls. The deeper they went, the sharper the edges of those marks became from lack of erosion. Sida paused when Blake crouched and ran his gloved fingers over the lower portion of the wall to their right.

“Look at this,” he glanced at her. “It’s the same powdery residue caused by short or single-burst propulsion thrusters.”

“Like from a remote cargo sleigh?” she asked, crouching beside him to investigate.

“Yeah, but it shouldn’t do this,” he said, holding his glove out to show her.

Sida ran her own gloved fingers over the residue. “There’s no bonding,” she replied in confusion, when the powder transferred to her gloves, as well.

Standing, Blake looked all around them. “Given the lack of elements, I’d say these were left within the last fourteen months, give or take, but not much longer than that. They’re way too fresh.”

“Just like the tools outside,” Sida agreed, yet what that meant she had no clue. It was apparent someone had beat them there and found something in the mine worth hauling out, but what? Starblood was her first fear, but that wouldn’t require a cargo sleigh. No planet produced that much in a single vein. “Let’s keep moving.”

Along the way, they found more areas of residue and then the pottery shards started. The closer they got to the bend in the shaft, the more evidence of their ancient miners. The baked clay remnants had most likely belonged to urns of oil for torches, refreshments for consumption by the miners, or both.

“Look what we have here,” Blake said quietly, when they finally reached the end.

“Wow,” Ketha whispered. “It looks like the inside of a temple.”

Pillars built on a much smaller scale than those in the city stood like support columns along the outer walls of the mine, except the very back where the cave-in had slid down to fill most of the chamber, crushing everything in its path.

“Well, that proves your theory, Lieutenant,” Blake nodded at Ketha. “Now, you want to hear mine?”

“Nope, I’ve already heard it up here,” Sida replied, pointing at her own temple. “That was no natural disaster, it was very deliberate.”

“Which opens up a whole new realm of possibilities from a slave uprising to a civil war,” Ketha accepted grimly. “Maybe some of the citizens disagreed with slavery, or maybe they were frightened by the slaves due to their massive size and wanted to block their only way in.”

Those were both really good theories, considering where the damage had been purposely rendered.

“Captain!” Isiah hissed over the comm link from somewhere among the rubble. “Over here.”

Sida rounded the left side of unnatural stalagmites and other jutting pieces of rock or debris. Squeezing through a narrow gap, she came upon Darling crouched in the only available space, so leaned over him to see what he was so interested in.

Aquacælestis Divinus,” he exhaled, his light shimmering off a half-dollar sized puddle of iridescent liquid deep in the crevice of the rubble.

“Starblood, Ensign,” she grinned excitedly, slapping him on the shoulder. “Learn it, like it, use it. Blake!”

“On it,” he replied. After Isiah set the probe to hover near the find, he and Sida moved out of Blake’s way and waited for the report. “It’s not a lot.”

“Superb scientific deduction, Commander,” Sida remarked dryly. “I saw that much with my own damn eyes. What I need to know is if we can use it?”

“With the right amount of additives we should be able to, Captain,” Blake returned just as dryly, before turning sincere. “At any rate, we have to try, don’t we?”

Yes. Yes, they did. “Alright, you two get it contained and see if there’s more without risking another cave-in,” she ordered. “I’ll call in the request. Minnows, you’re with me.”

Aboard the small shuttle located about two klicks east of the mine, in the only clear portion of the trench, Sida sent the request to her crew still manning their ship in orbit. Surprisingly, it only took thirty minutes to get a reply back, which was fast even under the best conditions.

“Must be my lucky day,” she muttered to herself.

“Captain, Fleet Admiral Dent is coming on Vidlink One,” Lieutenant Commander Winston rushed out, her expression filled with apology.

Jumping out of the chair, Sida brushed her clothes off, straightening them and her hair in record speed. She was standing at full attention, when the screen crackled on, revealing a large, robust older man with silver hair cut to perfection. The stars on his uniform were nearly blinding, they’d been polished so profusely.

“Admiral,” Sida saluted, wondering why the top dog of all top dogs was doing something as mundane as answering a contact request.

“Captain Marx,” Joaquin Dent, five-star Fleet Admiral of the entire Galactic Interstellar Navy of Earth and its Solar Systems, aka GINESS, greeted. “You sent a request. Report.”

She knew the FADM was a no-nonsense man and the lines carved into his aged face weren’t all wrinkles, so she didn’t hesitate. “Sir, while conducting our mission to locate and verify proof of the lost planet Molta Cremyss, we discovered the existence of what appears to be an ancient mine, where one of my ensigns has found Starblood. It is a very small amount, Sir. Permission to attempt a World Opening?”

“Molta Cremyss,” Dent repeated. “Have you verified this planet is truly one and the same?”

“We have not verified that at this time, Sir.”

“But you found a mine?”

“A single shaft, sir, partially caved-in,” she replied. “To look for more Starblood could cause further damage without proper precautionary re-stabilizing procedures put into place first, which my crew and I are ready to do should you prefer it, sir.”

He seemed to contemplate that for a moment, before responding. “Meddling with an unstable environment is an unnecessary risk without a guarantee, Captain. Permission for a World Opening granted. Keep me informed.”

“Sir, yes, sir,” she saluted again.

When the screen blinked out, revealing her starmap instead, Sida slowly relaxed her stance and hailed her ship.

“Winston, was my request for contact sent through the usual channels?” she asked.

“Yes, Captain, I’m so sorry, I had no idea the Admiral would respond, himself–”

“Relax, Winston, it’s okay,” Sida cut her off. “Do me a favor, though and check into all the latest news from Earth. Send the most current links to my personal unit.”

“Will do, Captain.”

“We’ll be attempting an Opening. Send the usual roundup and tell Barnes to bring me three extra grunts. If we’re successful, they’ll be going with me. Maintain current orbit and contact Barnes if necessary, but nothing changes until you hear otherwise.”

It took another two hours for the second shuttle to arrive with the rest of her field team and the soldiers. By then, Ketha had already shoved gear packs together for everyone, and they’d loaded them on cargo sleighs to take back to the mine. When she spotted Blake and Isiah suiting up just outside the entrance from half a klick away, she halted Barnes and his men.

“Stay here and wait for the all clear,” she ordered.

Once Sida and the rest of her team were suited up, she set her Xtreme World Opener to neutralize, while Blake loaded the newly formulated capsule of Starblood into his rifle and set it to Activate.

“Comm links on?” Sida checked. “Barnes, can you hear me?”

“You’re good to go, Captain,” he replied.

“Activate gravity and pressurization systems.”

A resounding grunt of discomfort echoed through the link, when everyone obeyed. In an oxygenated environment, despite how thin, it was as good as wearing a lead suit. The weighted pull toward the ground caused perspiration to break out over Sida’s skin with the effort to remain standing, yet it would’ve been just as impossible to get knocked over as it was to lift her boot from the ground.

“Okay, Commander,” she said. “Fire.”

Blake shot the capsule at the largest, flattest portion of the cliff wall and the Starblood splattered like a paintball. It started glowing almost instantly, reaching levels that had all of their face masks tinting black as night. Cheers went off through the link, their success evidenced by the brightness. When the light dimmed and diminished completely, they were faced with a far smaller Opening than they were used to, but one person at a time could fit through without their packs. Those would have to be tossed through one at a time, as well.

Red skies came into view, suggesting the likelihood of a volcanic planet, with the dark silhouettes of thick, tropical vegetation. It appeared to be night time, but not a single one of them put much stock on appearances alone in their line of work.

“Probe,” Sida ordered.

Isiah tossed it through the Opening and watched the screen on the remote in his hands, as the readouts started showing up.

“Quite a bit more sulfur in the air than usual, but otherwise oxygen levels are really good. Better than here, that’s for sure. No indication of pollutants normally found near modern cities, which opens a few variables. I’m picking up mildly elevated amounts of minerals in the moisture, which means the air might have a tangy flavor. Temperature is a lovely seventy degrees Fahrenheit with a seventy-five percent humidity level typical of tropical climates, and the wind is a calm two knots.”

“Mildly elevated amounts, or we’ll be dead from lead poisoning by morning?” Sida questioned.

“No worries, Captain. The air might have a slight coppery taste, but that’s all,” he answered.

“Alright, suits off. Barnes, move in.”

After they’d each rolled their suits up into their packs, the crew entered the Opening one-by-one, the next in line tossing their pack to the last person to climb through. Finally, it was just Sida, who’d tossed her pack to Blake. Turning, she addressed Barnes one last time.

“As soon as I’m through, activate the Curtain, put one man here and hold base at the shuttles.”

“Yes, sir,” he saluted.

Sida climbed through the odd Opening, having to bend low and pull her knee up high to manage it. The moment she was fully, and officially, on a completely different planet, she removed her NISS helmet and turned to watch the Curtain go up. Octagonal pockets of energy replaced their view of the debris littered trench. It would keep everything from microscopic bacteria, pollen and insects all the way up to the force of a boulder running downhill in an avalanche from getting through.

Sida tucked her helmet into her pack, then pulled the cap free from her back pocket. She unrolled it and tugged it down over her head just as the rest of her crew had already done. They all wore their Standard Exploration Uniforms with Advanced Automatic Ballistic Vests over their jackets and All Terrain Boots on their feet.

“Are we dealing with volcanic activity?” It was the first thing she wanted to know.

“The sulfur content would indicate as much, but that,” Isiah paused and gestured to the crimson sky with rolling dark clouds. “is not the reflection of molten lava flow. It encompasses the entire sky and it’s steady, rather than fluctuating. And those really are clouds, not ash.”

“A Red Dwarf system?” she pondered aloud. “It’s too warm.”

“I agree, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a Red Dwarf present,” Blake interjected. “What does this remind you of, Captain?”

Sida turned to check out the small mountainside their Opening had appeared in and ran her hand over the uneven stone, frowning from the shallow, sharp-edged grooves. “It’s nearly the same as the crude tool marks from the mine. Do you think they came through and tried to start one on this side, as well?”

“Possibly,” he mused. “Maybe the natives took them by surprise.”

“Then, what? They enslaved them?” Sida shook her head in disagreement. “They would’ve just made the natives dig the mine for them afterward.”

“Yeah,” Blake sighed, before stilling and turning his light eyes on her slowly. “Sida, if this is the home of those giants…”

Startled, Sida opened her mouth, then closed it and narrowed her eyes at him. “Bad Jack! So bad!” she shot under her breath, before pivoting back to the rest of their crew. “Alright, kids, listen up. I want you three to get real comfy right here and guard this Opening. No fires. If this really is this planet’s night cycle, you obviously won’t need the heat and your rations can cook themselves.”

“Yes, sir,” the three grunts she’d stolen from Barnes saluted, then started setting up their camp right away.

“Crew, we need higher ground so we can get a better idea of what we’re dealing with, but in the meantime, we treat this like any other exploration. Remember your training, keep your weapons on neutralize with reserves at max power, until we establish contact with this planet’s possible inhabitants and determine whether they’re hostile or not,” she continued. “Also, we’re in a tropical environment, which means higher risk for carnivorous and poisonous flora and fauna, so stay on your toes and keep a wary eye out for plants that looks suspiciously well fed.”

“The optimism of your speeches always gives me goosebumps, Captain,” Blake smirked, switching his rifle settings over and feigning a full body shudder.

“Cheap thrills, Commander,” she returned, following her own weapon instructions, before looking him over pointedly. “I’m a sucker for cheap thrills.”

© A.C. Melody

♥ Thank you for reading! You can find previous episodes under The Wicked Web link on the menu bar above. Until next time….

 

 

 

 

 

 

☆ Hers, Untamed by Anna Adler is Live! ☆

☆ ☆ ☆ It’s Live & It’s Free!☆ ☆ ☆ 

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Hers, Untamed

An Erotic SciFi Romance
by Anna Adler

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Blurb☆ 

Alyssa Cressfield always wanted a pet—a big, sexy man who would look impressive on a leash. Now, she is finally ready to realize her dream. She visits a pet training center, intending to buy a trained pet. Instead she finds Jax, a fierce human-alien hybrid freshly caught from space, still untamed and unbroken. Alyssa has never encountered an untamed pet before. She can’t resist temptation; she must have him.

On Silenia, it is customary for humans to keep other intelligent species as pets and sex toys. Alyssa is kind at heart, but she is a product of her society and therefore sees nothing wrong with keeping a man in a cage against his will. Jax, on the other hand, is a space pirate who now finds himself wearing a collar and being treated like property. He has no intention of turning tame and obedient, and a battle of wills ensues. Jax and Alyssa quickly discover their undeniable chemistry, but is it enough to reconcile them? What happens when the pet breaks out of his cage?

Note to reader: This is a standalone novel featuring a romance between a human and a human-alien hybrid. While not dark, the story is set in a dystopian society and contains some raunchy sex scenes between the main characters. Recommended for mature readers.

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Buy Links☆ 

Author Bio

My name is Anna, I’m an erotic romance author, and my goal in life is never to have another writer’s block. I’ve been in love with action and futuristic stuff from an early age, whether it’s in books, movies, or video games. More recently, I also developed a taste for steamy romances. The stories in my head contain these elements in different combinations, and I look forward to putting them all on (virtual) paper – for my own amusement, if nothing else. I live in Germany with my husband, my overactive imagination, and pipe dreams of fortune and glory.

Author Links

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Chapter Reveal ☆ Hers, Untamed by Anna Adler!

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Title: Hers, Untamed
Author: Anna Adler
Release Date: May 31st

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☆ Chapter 1 ☆

“Please take a seat, Ms. Cressfield. Your guide will be with you shortly.”

Alyssa plopped into the armchair and accepted the courtesy cup of organically farmed coffee, which on this planet cost more than a month’s salary.

Happy birthday to me!

Excitement sparkled in her veins like champagne. Today, for her thirty-fifth birthday, she would realize her lifelong dream and buy herself a pet. Her gaze scanned the pristine expanse of the lobby, a hologram logo of the Interstellar Pet Training Inc. floating above the shiny white reception desk. The hot cup she nursed bore the same marking: a smiling human petting a kneeling alien. Soft music mingled with the gentle splash of the fountain located at the center of the room. Alyssa sipped her coffee, but its rich flavor barely registered.

Pet-keeping entailed responsibility. She wouldn’t be able to spend so much time running around shopping and partying with her friends anymore; she would have to be at home to feed and care for her new friend. But then again, building a relationship with her pet would be so rewarding. A pet was also a status symbol. She looked forward to flaunting her companion in public and receiving the admiring or envious looks associated with owning a pet.

Alyssa shifted her weight. She put her hand on the armrest, her fingers tapped the white leather. Finally, she heard footsteps on the marble floor, and a man approached.

“Ms. Cressfield? I’m sorry to keep you waiting. Welcome to Interstellar.”

Alyssa put her coffee down and rose. The IPT Inc. employee in his tailored suit shook her hand. “Thank you for considering us for your needs. I’m sure you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for. My name’s William and I’ll be your guide today.”

Alyssa resisted the urge to jump up and down and squeal. “Great. Let’s get on with it.”

William gestured her to walk with him.

“Male or female?” he asked.

“Male,” Alyssa replied. Females tended to be easier to handle, but a male would look more impressive by her side. A big, sexy male with muscular arms…

“Is this your first pet, Ms. Cressfield?”

“Yes.”

“What kind of training are you looking for? Do you mean to engage in pet shows or sports events?”

“No, I just want a house pet. If it turns out he’s interested in competition, I’ll train him further myself.”

“You want one with only the basic training, then. I’m happy to say that we have a large selection for you.” William gave her a broad smile. “You may have difficulty choosing.”

Alyssa grinned. “That’s exactly what I want. Impress me.”

The room they entered was lined with comfortably furnished glass exhibits, each occupied by a pet. In the first enclosure, a pale-skinned Lurexian sat reading a book. When Alyssa approached, he set it aside, moved up to the glass, and posed to accentuate his toned pectorals. His face and body were human-like, but his golden hair resembled a lion’s mane and he had a long, furry tail as well. William entered a command on his wristband, and the lights above the Lurexian’s glass cage dimmed. His skin began to glow with natural bioluminescence. He wore only a black loincloth. Alyssa licked her lips.

William seemed to notice where Alyssa’s gaze had drifted.

“Would you like him to remove the cloth?”

“Maybe later,” she said, eagerly turning her head toward the next exhibit.

They viewed several Lurexians, after which came Lizardians, fur-coated, quadrupedal Wolfmen, and tall Crasnians, with their gorgeous red eyes. The pets were all fit, handsome and healthy, and each bowed respectfully as she passed. No wonder IPT was said to be the best pet training center on Silenia.

Alyssa was in heaven, having so many good-looking males to choose from. She scarcely focused on any of them for more than five seconds before running to the next. Her heart skipped with delight as her gaze scanned the enclosures around her.

“I could spend the whole day here!”

“I fully encourage you to do so,” William said. “You want to choose the right companion.”

A glowing sign pointing to the adjoining room caught her eye. It said “hybrids”. Heat rose in her cheeks. Human-alien hybrids were the most popular sex pets. Being wealthy and attractive, Alyssa had no difficulty finding partners whenever she wanted someone in her bed, but owning a sexy creature and having him at her disposal at all times promised a new kind of excitement.

“I think I’d like a hybrid,” Alyssa said.

“Alien-alien or human-alien?”

“Human-alien.”

William proceeded to direct her to the right side of the hybrid room.

“This one is very tame and amiable,” he said, pausing in front of a tall half-Lizardian. The pet looked like a man, but he had beautiful, bronze-colored scales. “Would you like to pet him?”

Alyssa nodded. William tapped his wristband. A section of the glass wall slid aside, creating an opening large enough to fit a hand through. The pet crawled on all fours to the opening and presented his shoulder. Alyssa ran her fingers over his skin. It felt warm, and more ridged than human skin. How delightful it would be to touch him every day. She cooed at him and tried to establish eye contact, but he kept his gaze averted. He didn’t even seem to realize she was there.

Alyssa wanted a pet she could interact with. She pulled her hand away. “Do you have any that are—”

A crash split the air, making her jump.

“Damn that thing!” someone in the next room shouted.
Alyssa looked at William with a raised eyebrow. William’s jaw had tightened, but he tried to give her a pleasant look.

“I’m sorry about the noise, Ms. Cressfield.”

“What was that?”

“It’s merely the new acquisition. His cage is in the training area.”

“Oh? Can I see him?”

“You wouldn’t be interested in him. He’s not ready yet. Still completely wild and untrained.”

Alyssa came alive with curiosity.

Wild! Untrained! What are they like when freshly caught?

She straightened. “I’d like to see him.”

William opened his mouth to speak, but then seemed to think better of it. He nodded politely and walked her through a door to a different area of the facility. Whereas the pet display areas were predominantly white, decorative, and spotlessly clean, the walls here were drab gray, everything with a strictly utilitarian look. Several empty cages lined the hallway. The new acquisition occupied the cage at the end. Four men stood in front of it, wearing dark uniforms with an armband identifying them as pet trainers. One of them collected scattered pieces of equipment off the floor.

“A client wants to see the new merchandise,” William announced.

The men looked warily at Alyssa but stepped aside. Alyssa faced the cage and gasped. A human-alien hybrid; a mouth-watering hunk of hard muscle. He looked mostly human, except for the brown-and-blue scales that covered both arms and part of his left leg. His posture radiated strength and defiance. He glared at all of them, his face twisted with barely contained rage. His eyes were pale blue with narrow pupils, typical of the humanoid-reptilian S’laurians.

He was also completely naked. Shreds of black cloth littered the floor of the cage.
He stalked toward them and threw himself against the glass wall, trying to break it. Alyssa started back, although she knew the glass would hold. The hybrid pounded his fist against it until his knuckles turned bloody. He threw Alyssa a snarl, sauntered to the back of the cage, and appeared to fume silently.

Alyssa’s heart pounded. She had never seen anything so ferocious and strangely attractive. Her gaze shifted to the red smudge on the glass.

“He hurt himself.”

“We’re going to have to sedate him for a while,” one of the trainers said. “Calm him down and start all over again. He’s not responding to the training like he should.”

“How long has he been here?”

“Three weeks.”

“If you have seen enough, Ms. Cressfield, may I suggest we resume our tour?” William said.

Alyssa thought about going back to the other pets, but the idea left her cold. She couldn’t tear her gaze away from the beast hunkering in the corner. She stepped closer and tapped at the glass. He glanced over his shoulder. Their gazes met and the power behind his dark scowl made her breath catch.

I could tame him. Make him mine.

He was different from all the other pets. A flame licked her belly at the thought of owning this raging male, having this beast on a leash…

“No need. I want this one.”

William’s eyes widened. “But he hasn’t been tamed. Ms. Cressfield, this pet is extremely dangerous.”

“I know. I’ll be careful.”

“We usually don’t sell unbroken pets.”

Alyssa fixed a stern gaze on William. “I’m the client, and I want to buy this one. Do we have a deal or not?”

“Of course,” he replied, paused, and cleared his throat. “Perhaps…you would like to learn more about your new possession before we handle the transaction?”

Alyssa smiled and turned to the nearest trainer. “Does he speak English?”

The trainer scratched his head. “We haven’t exactly managed to have a conversation with him, but judging from the curses he throws at us…yes, I’d say he speaks English.”

“His estimated age is thirty-eight standard years,” a younger trainer said, handing Alyssa a data pad. “Here’s his file. Half human, half S’laurian, strong and healthy, should be suitable for almost anything if you can tame him. You can feed him regular human food, just make sure it’s low in carbohydrates and high in protein. And regular exercise is important. It should help curb the violent outbursts.”

Alyssa skimmed over the file. She couldn’t wait to have him transported to her apartment, to have him all to herself.

“I have the cage and everything else ready at my apartment. How soon can you bring him over?”

“We’ll need to chip him and run a few tests,” William said. “Would tomorrow morning be suitable?”

“Tomorrow morning would be perfect. Now, the price…”

“Yes. Please excuse me for a second. I need to talk to my superior—this specimen is untrained and doesn’t yet have a price.”

Alyssa nodded. She dreamily gazed at her new pet while William stepped aside to make a phone call. The wild creature kept his back turned to them. His muscular shoulders rose and fell with his breathing, betraying his anger, even though he remained silent. He examined his injured hand.

“You’ll take care of his hand, won’t you?” Alyssa asked the trainers.

“We’ll patch him up for you.”

“And make sure he can’t injure himself anymore. I don’t want him hurt.”

“We’ll see to it, Ms. Cressfield.”

William ended his call and returned to Alyssa. “Ms. Cressfield? I’ve been instructed to offer this specimen for 500,000 credits.”

“Half a million?” Alyssa laughed. “You can’t be serious. That’s as much as your fully trained pets.”

“He’s a very rare hybrid,” William said. “This is the first time we’ve acquired someone like him. Fully trained, he would fetch twice as much. And please remember we’ll handle the transportation and all the necessary insurances for you; it’s included in the price. We also provide a training collar and a basic pet care kit.”

A rare hybrid…now the price sounded like a bargain. And the idea of possessing a one-of-a-kind pet appealed to Alyssa. Besides, she had the money. This was what she had been saving for. She didn’t really care what he cost anyway, she simply wanted to have him.

“All right, 500,000 credits.”

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☆ A PERMA-FREE novel available now for Pre-Orders ☆

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☆ Author Bio ☆

My name is Anna, I’m an erotic romance author, and my goal in life is never to have another writer’s block. I’ve been in love with action and futuristic stuff from an early age, whether it’s in books, movies, or video games. More recently, I also developed a taste for steamy romances. The stories in my head contain these elements in different combinations, and I look forward to putting them all on (virtual) paper – for my own amusement, if nothing else. I live in Germany with my husband, my overactive imagination, and pipe dreams of fortune and glory.

☆ Stalk the Author ☆