Raine’s caught in an impossible situation. She needs to get to another planet to help her friend. Forced to take a temporary position on a Feiral trade ship, she’s surrounded by trouble and shifters determined to build a clan. She has secrets to keep, but the gorgeous captain could be a problem. She has to distract him—and a few nights of hot sex might work.
Connal knows Raine is more than she appears. He looks forward to peeling away the layers of her deception as much as stripping the clothes from her beautiful body. The hunger between them deepens even as he struggles to get past her defenses before she leaves his ship.
When they’re thrown together again, Raine’s faced with a choice. Walk away from Connal and choose the life she knows, or take a chance and grab the passion and love that waits.
Excerpt: Here Raine finds out that even a game of handball can lead to trouble when dealing with a sneaky Feiral Captain
Connal stood there wearing a too-innocent smile on his face. Her eyes ran over his mussed hair. To get her mind off going over there and smoothing it back into place, she lowered her gaze to what he was wearing and nearly groaned. His skin-tight, sleeveless blue and yellow shirt emphasized the breadth of his chest and the muscles in his arms. The snug, black shorts at his hips left little to her imagination and ended just above the knee. He wasn’t making it easy to resist temptation.
“Would you mind a partner? I need to get some exercise too.” He stood in the doorway as if he really had doubts about her answer.
She was certain he knew she’d say yes. Raine fumed. She suspected the jerk knew she didn’t want to draw any attention to herself and was blatantly using that against her. She’d have loved to have an excuse, any excuse, to walk right out that door, but thinking about Krissa and the danger she was facing focused Raine’s thoughts. For Krissa, she’d endure these exchanges with the captain and try to get out of here without getting into deeper trouble.
“Sure.” She smiled and bounced the ball on the floor. If she was lucky, she could “accidentally” hit him a time or two with it.
He took a position behind and to the right of her. She smelled a light spicy scent, but couldn’t identify it. That didn’t surprise her. Her sense of smell as well as taste was a little off because of the drug she was using to mask her scent and prevent her from finding her mate while on this jaunt.
When he was set, she threw the ball as hard as she could. As it hit the wall, she dropped back. She saw Connal run forward. He caught the ball and threw it almost in the same motion. Mentally, she couldn’t help admire the lithe grace of his body, but she didn’t have time to think about it. She ran forward to take her turn.
She caught and lobbed the sphere at a sharp angle so that it hit the back wall and careened off the side wall. He cursed beneath his breath and dashed for it, catching it just before it hit the back wall again. She smiled and ran to get it when he hurled it. She lost track of time as they played, intent only on the game. He tossed the ball at a low, wicked angle and she ran for it. She was so intent on getting to the ball before it hit the back wall that she didn’t notice him in front of her until she hit his chest.
Air exploded from her and she grabbed his shirt. The world seemed to tilt and she realized they were falling only a breath before they hit the floor. Slamming against his chest again didn’t help her get her breath back. Her chest felt tight and she was acutely aware of her body pressing against his. His arms had locked around her, holding her tight to him, probably to prevent her from being hurt during the fall, but he hadn’t released her. She pushed against his chest, trying to put a little distance between them. It only pressed her hips more firmly against his. She was too damn aware of the way his cock pressed against her stomach and how hard that part of him felt. She wanted to grind against him and forget about all the reasons why she should keep her distance.
“Sorry about not moving out of your way.” He brushed a hand over her hair. “Are you all right?”
“I should probably be asking you that question. I ran into you and I don’t think you had much of a chance to shield yourself from that landing. Are you hurt?” She looked up at him. His lips were tilted up into a friendly smile and she didn’t see any sign of pain on his face.
His leg moved a little and one of her legs fell between his. She hadn’t thought it would be possible without removing a few clothes, but the situation became more intimate. Her pussy was pressed against his muscular leg and his hand slid down to her buttocks. His fingers molded over the curve and it was all she could do to stop herself from rocking her hips forward. She swallowed heavily. Damn, this had to stop now.
“I’m good. You didn’t hurt me. You feel wonderful.” He drew in a deep breath. “Although this wasn’t how I envisioned learning that.”
“Um, thanks. How about we get up, before this gets too… We have a game to finish.” She bit her lip. She hadn’t intended to say anything about it getting too involved or too hard to resist. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out what she’d meant. The captain was far from dense. He’d know what she meant.
“I think you owe me a forfeit for nearly taking me out. You could have hurt me and I wouldn’t be able to complete my duties.” His lips straightened and he looked utterly serious.
“I could have just as easily been hurt and you were the one who didn’t get out of the way like you were supposed to.” She raised an eyebrow, trying to resist the urge to grin at the blatant flirting.
“According to some you should have been watching out for the other player as well as where the ball is going.” His hand tightened and the leg between her thighs lifted, pressing against her more firmly.
His muscled leg pressed too close to her aching clit. She longed to grind down on the thick column to get the pressure she needed, but forced herself to remain still. How in hell could he tempt her so much without really caressing her? If she stayed on top of him for too much longer, he wouldn’t be left in any doubt of her interest in him. Her juices would soak right through her shorts and probably through his.
“They’d be wrong, but let’s say I pay this forfeit. What would it be?” She tilted her head and waited for him to answer. She really expected him to ask her to join him for dinner. That was something that would allow him to get closer to her, but still not be too threatening.
“I want a kiss. If you kiss me, I’ll release you and we can go back to the game.” His eyes locked on her lips.
She had to fight hard not to slick her tongue over her lips. Damn, that was a step she hadn’t thought he’d take this quickly. But it was just a kiss, she reasoned. She could control it, keep it light and friendly. Maybe it would even dissuade his pursuit. If he thought there was no chemistry between them, he might back away from her and let one of the other men approach her. That could only work to the better for her. None of them drew her as much as he did. She couldn’t stop thinking about what it would feel like to fuck him anytime she was near him. That was supremely bad, because she needed to remember the mission and what was at stake at all times.
“Okay, a kiss, but once I kiss you, you have to let me go. I’m two points away from beating you.” She planted a hand on his chest. She pressed up enough to let him know that she was serious.
“One kiss and I’ll let you go.” He seemed smug now that he had her agreement.
She didn’t know if a kiss was all he wanted. Maybe he just wanted to see if they were compatible or to see if it was more than curiosity and surface attraction. She couldn’t control his reaction, but she could do her best to keep the kiss short and cool. And then get off him.
She took a deep breath. She brushed her lips lightly over his, determined to make it as impersonal as she possibly could. He didn’t make a move, leaving her to kiss him. She knew a buss on the lips wasn’t what he meant and he’d call her on it if she tried to keep it that short. She lapped at his lips until he opened them for her. His lack of reaction challenged her. She wanted him to at least respond to her before she pulled back from the kiss. She stroked her tongue against his. His hand laced through her hair. He tasted so good, she wanted to taste more and especially to see more. His tongue brushed against hers and he sucked at her tongue as if trying to draw her into him. The hand at her butt tightened, pulling her against him. The pressure of his thigh pushing against her pussy nearly made her moan. It felt too good. A low growl rumbled from him. She felt it through her entire body and it sent a thrill of excitement through her. She’d never had a shifter lover and the primal sounds of appreciation shot through her, inciting a deep need to respond.
She tore her mouth free from his. Her breath came in harsh pants. That hadn’t gone as planned. There had been nothing light or impersonal about that. Kissing had been a mistake. She’d thought to dissuade him from pursuing her, but she’d proven something entirely different to herself. She wasn’t going to be able to stay away from him even for the few days of the transit to Forunes. What in hell was she going to do? The pull to him became worse every time she saw him. It was the most intense attraction she’d ever felt to a man. She felt so out of control it scared her.