fbpx
Back to Top

Category: Character Insights

Insights into characters and how they act or react.

He had to work with a what!? #SciFi #Romance #Excerpt

In this scene from At the Mercy of Her Pleasure, Senth gets a chance to free his brother from a cruel master, but the price is steep...

Work with a what...?

"If this job succeeds, I guarantee your brother will be freed in a week."

Senth tried not to show his glee, but a smile pasted itself across his face anyway.

The Harbinger shook his head in a way that said, What am I to do with you?

"What do I have to do for Khyff's freedom?"

"Khyffen was right. The job we're meeting about tonight is risky. I don't usually give you a choice, but this time I'm going to because of the job's importance. In return for your brother's freedom, I want a few promises."

"I'll do whatever it takes."

The Harbinger's mouth lifted at one side. "Never admit that to anyone again."

"Sorry, sir."

"Senthys, you understand why I've kept you on Shackle?"

While Khyff's master had addicted Khyff to Thrust, which put his sex drive into overload, Shackle did the opposite to Senth. Since puberty, he'd never known life without it.

"Yes, Sen'dai."

"Good." The Harbinger tapped a knuckle against his mouth, frowning at him. "You know what they'd do to you if you lost control again, don't you? Where they'd take you this time?"

"Yes, sir." He stiffened. "I don't want that."

"Keep that in mind over the next week. After five days without Shackle, you'll start withdrawal. Your heart will pound. Your head will feel like it's splitting apart. You'd be as high and strung out as Khyff is on weekends. There's a possibility of stroke if you quit cold. It's dangerous. You must taper off the drug. Do you understand?"

He nodded. "I do, sir."

"This job should take four days, so it's important to return as soon as it's over."

"Yes, sir."

"I'll dose you before you leave to ensure you have the full five-day effect."

"Thank you, sir."

"The reason I've told you all this is because you'll be working side by side with a Better."

Senth opened his mouth, shut it again, and then mouthed, Better?

"Listen to me, my young Deshai. Despite the romantic nonsense you've heard about Betters being extraordinary lovers, their kisses can poison you. If her saliva mixes with yours, she can control your mind. The touch of her hands will drive you insane. There are ancient myths about sirens, women who used their voices to lure men and then slay them. Betters aren't mythical. They're real. If she subjects you to her passion, you'll be at the mercy of her pleasure forever."

Senth swallowed against the tight feeling in his throat and nodded to show he understood.

"This woman is dangerous. Under other circumstances, I wouldn't let any of my people work with her kind, but in this case... I have my reasons. I trust you to obey me. As long as you return in fewer than five days, losing control won't even be an option. Shackle will protect you from her. Besides, if you come back to me no longer a virgin, I will know. The deal for Khyffen's freedom will be off."

"How would you know I wasn't a virgin?" Senth bit his lips the moment the words escaped, shocked at himself for even asking the question.

His Sen'dai lowered his eyelids and angled his head toward Senth like a bird of prey sighting its next meal. "Is that going to be a problem?"

Senth reached a foot back, feeling for the next lower step. "No, sir."

"You know what happens when you displease me."

"I wouldn't want to do that."

"No, you wouldn't." The Man leaned in until the dark, predatory eyes filled Senth's vision.

When Senth stumbled on the stairs, Saint-Cyr grabbed his arm, steadying him. Senth raised a hand to his brow.

"Senthys? Are you all right?"

"Fine, Sen'dai. Sorry."

"Good." He made a hand sign--a fist with thumb down and then up--which put Senth on guard. "It's time to meet your Better partner."

Check the links below to find more authors in this blog hop.

You'll find these characters mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

Could her diplomatic immunity save his brother? Excerpt: For Women Only #SciFi #Romance #MFRWhooks #MFRWorg

The diplomatic immunity of an alien ambassador might be the only thing that saves Khyff's brother...

Diplomatic Immunity

In this excerpt from For Women Only, Ambassador Mehfawni Ruh has just discovered her brother, Dallon, has been murdered. She must return to her home planet. But she's Khyff's only hope of saving his brother.

The chill in the room had nothing to do with air temperature. Now that Mehfawni knew about her brother's death, Khyff felt the collective gaze of her all-female staff stab into him. He didn't need telepathy to read their thoughts. Their body language shouted at him.

Be gone, alien. Get out. You don't belong here.

Fawni's eyes filled with tears as she looked up at him.

Khyff melted. No matter how much the others hated him and wanted him gone, he couldn't leave her alone with this kind of news. What if it had been Senth who'd died? That possibility was all too real.

Khyff wrapped both arms around her and held her tightly against him, his cheek against her hair. "Oh, Fawni, I'm so sorry."

She clutched his leather jacket and clung to him as if all the strength had seeped out of her. He stroked her hair and kissed her brow.

"This can't be true." Her voice was muffled against his jacket. She turned and faced Kata. "There's been a mistake. It has to be wrong."

Kata didn't lift her gaze. "I'm sorry, Eetzesar. The news came directly from Tzesar Ehldani."

Khyff expected Mehfawni to crumble. He could feel her shaking. But she drew herself up to her full height and took two steps away from him. With one hand on Kata's arm, she looked around the room at her staff. Ten Kin gazed back at her, their expressions full of pride and sorrow.

She cleared her throat. "Thank you. All of you. Kata, when do we return home?"

The young assistant looked up, revealing the tracks of tears on her face. "At dawn, Eetzesar."

He wanted to hold Mehfawni, bring her back into his arms, but she kept her back rigid, her head high.

"Good, Kata. I'll need you to help me with a few things." She told the others, "Get some rest. We'll all need our strength when we get home."

Her staff dispersed quietly, and Mehfawni reached back and held Khyff's hand while she talked softly to Kata in her breathy native language.

What am I going to do now? Images rose in Khyff's mind. Senth swathed in bandages, lying in the hospital. NarrAy trapped in a glass cage. Both depending on him for their freedom. For their lives. And all he could do was stand here and hold Mehfawni's hand while the hope he had for saving them made arrangements to leave.

"Senth Antonello."

Khyff's attention riveted to Mehfawni's words. "What?"

She looked up at him. "You're such a male, Khyffy. Here I am making arrangements for your brother and his fiancée, and you're not even paying attention."

"Arrangements? What kind of arrangements?"

"You didn't hear a word I said, did you?"

"Well, you were speaking Felis, so I couldn't understand you."

"Oh." She touched her chin. "That was rude of me. I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize. You're upset. It's natural. What arrangements?"

"I can't leave you, Khyffy. I want you to come home with me."

His stomach went all hollow and his head light. His chest ached. He couldn't catch his breath, couldn't speak.

Felidae? Kin. Enemies. And...Mehfawni. He breathed. "I... Mehfawni, my brother... I--"

"Khyff, I know you can't leave when you're worried about your family. I couldn't do that either. So Kata's going to make sure my diplomatic immunity is extended to Senth and his fiancée. NarrAy's a Better, isn't she?"

"Yes, but--"

"Then your brother is addicted to her. He'll need her pheromones if he's going to heal properly. We need to get her out of prison so they can be together."

"Mehfawni, I don't understand." His heart pounded so hard, he was afraid he wouldn't hear her answer. Is this what hope feels like? Is there some way to keep Sen and NarrAy safe and escape the Conqueror's choke hold?

Mehfawni gave him a look that said he should try to pay attention, and then she grasped his hands. "I read their story in the news, remember? It wasn't fair of the police to imprison her for defending her mate. At the time, I thought there wasn't anything I could do, but now that I know it's your brother, I can do something. If you come home with me as part of my entourage, you'll have diplomatic immunity, which extends to your family as well, if I wish it." She squeezed his hands. "And I do wish it."

Not if Mehfawni found out what he'd been sent to do to her, she wouldn't.

Khyff floundered, awash in a sea of emotion. His hope dashed on the rocky shore of reality, but he drew her hand to his mouth and kissed it. Maybe, if he could buy some time, he could think of a permanent solution.

Check the links below to find more authors in this blog hop.

Antonello Brothers Series

Each book in this series is standalone and each has a happy ending. No cliffhangers.
When read together, the stories reveal a detailed tapestry of events woven by immortal characters in the background.

You'll find these characters mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

Luc gets his first taste of fatherhood #Excerpt A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen #SciFi #MFRWhooks

Luc finds out what fatherhood is like first-hand.

Fatherhood - a lot of work

After rescuing a toddler, Luc must now oversee his care. He managed dinner with the help of his house-droids and the five young thieves who are part of his Thieves' Guild "family."

Luc has managed to give Senthys a bath. Next up, tucking the three-year-old into bed.

And this is where Luc gets his first taste of fatherhood.

With his hair flat against his head, Senthys resembled a wet cat and looked half his usual size. Shivering, the boy stood quietly while Luc dried him. Unlike Kin, the toddler had human feet without claws. After dressing him in a clean t-shirt and underpants, Luc wrapped Senthys in one of Nikko's old button-down sweaters as a robe and rolled up the sleeves. The garment swallowed the tousle-haired moppet.

Luc had hair like the boy's. A comb would never go through such tangles. "I don't want to pull your hair, so we'll leave it alone."

Senthys took Luc's face in his hands and looked into his eyes. "Thank you."

"Welcome. Let's get you into bed." When he re-entered the bedroom with the boy, Nikko was waiting.

"Hey, Luc. I got the bed ready for you, Senth." His Deshai pulled down the covers.

Senthys hopped in excitement. "A real bed!"

Nikko helped him climb onto it. "It's comfortable too."

"I get to sleep up here?"

"You sure do." Nikko fluffed the pillow. "I'll be right over there on the couch if you need me."

"Okay. Hug, Nikko?"

Nikko bent over and hugged him. After turning around, he mouthed, "So cute!"

"Hug?" Senthys held out his arms.

Luc gestured to himself.

"Uh huh." Senthys waited.

How was it Luc was back to feeling like he was the student trying to please the teacher? "All right." He bent closer.

The boy threw his arms around Luc and kissed him on the cheek. "Night night, Sen'dai."

Touching his cheek, Luc stepped back. He'd supervised bedtimes for his older Deshai. What did one do with a toddler?

The paper gift bag on the floor caught his attention, and he picked it up.

"The house-droids sent up something for you." He sat on the edge of the bed. "Shall we see what it is?" Luc cracked open the top, peeked inside, and snapped it shut.

Senthys sat up and grabbed the blanket with both hands, looking like a cat spying a toy. "What's in there?"

"Maybe you should find out." Luc passed him the bag.

After opening it, Senthys peeked in and then squealed. "Pocket!" He pulled out the bear. "You fixed him!" He clasped the mended bear to his chest and rocked back and forth. "Thank you!" The boy clambered out from under the covers and threw his arms around Luc's neck.

"You're welcome." He hugged back.

"You have the best house-droids ever!" Senthys stood on the bed, holding the bear's arms and dancing around with him.

"Careful!" Luc guided him to a seated position. "I'll make sure to thank them for you."

"Look, Nikko!" Senthys held out Pocket. "They fixed my bear!"

"Cool!" After getting a closer look at the scraggly toy, Nikko's eyebrows shot up. "This is fixed?"

Luc nudged him. "Trust me."

"Wow."

Hugging Pocket, Senthys climbed under the covers. He nestled his head against the pillows. "Pocket is sleepy now."

Luc smoothed covers over him and on impulse, over the bear.

"Hey, Senth," Nikko asked, "should I leave the light on in the bathroom?"

"Are--" He swallowed. "Are you scareded of the dark?"

"I used to be. But what if Pocket needs the light on 'cause he's in a new house? What do you think?"

Senthys held out the bear at arm's length, looked him over, and then tucked him back under the covers. "He says you're right."

"Good deal."

"Nikko?" Senthys yawned. "Pocket says thank you."

The young Deshai grinned. "Glad to help him out."

"Me too," the boy murmured, eyes drifting shut.

Be sure to check out all the other authors in this blog hop by clicking the links below.

You'll find these characters mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

"What's the rule?" Can first-time-father Luc teach one? #Excerpt A Stolen Heart #SciFi #MFRWhooks

Luc teaches a safety rule to Senthys.

What is the rule?

In the hoversine on the way to shop, Luc taught Senthys an important rule to protect him. Now that they've arrived, how well did the first-time-father get it across?

At the entrance, two women who were leaving both greeted the boy. One wiggled her fingers at the tyke, and each gave Luc an appreciative once over.

He'd grown used to that over the years, but this appraisal had a different impact.

More sweet than sensual.

Interesting. Women found a man attractive because he was with a child. How had he missed knowing that?

Inside, the store had a clean smell, like freshly pressed linen and well-oiled wood, with an undertone of vanilla.

Senthys drew in a lungful. "I want some cookies."

"It does smell like cookies in here, doesn't it?"

A selection of clothing displayed various sizes and colors of sportswear, casualwear, and in the back, a sign designated formalwear. Formalwear for kids? Did boys need tuxes?

Before Luc could investigate, Senthys tugged at his hand and pointed to a play area near the front of the store. "I wanna go see that."

"What was the rule?"

The boy stuck a finger into his mouth, rocking himself side to side. "Stay with you."

"That's right."

"If you go see it, I can see it." He tilted his head. "Please?"

Luc could find no fault in that logic, nor resist the appeal. "Since you asked politely. Let's go see." Holding the boy's hand, he entered the play area.

Be sure to check out the other authors in this hop below.

You'll find these characters mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

How can Luc make this right for Kaydn #Excerpt A Stolen Heart #SciFi #MFRWhooks

Kaydn shares an emotionally shattering secret.

Luc learns the truth about Kaydn

In this scene, Luc has gone three days without sleep already, and it's late at night, but he'd promised to talk with his Deshai (apprentice), Kaydn. After an apology for mouthing off at Luc, Kaydn tells him why he'd been so angry at finding out Luc had fostered a young child.

"All right, Kaydn. What is it you think I should know about the Guild?"

"No way to sugarcoat this. The Guild targets gifted children, kidnaps them, and master thieves pay to adopt them as Deshai."

Luc considered how well he knew Kaydn. Impulsive? His image should be in the dictionary next to the word, but he did not dwell in a fantasy world. "You think our Guild does this."

"I know they do. They steal toddlers from their families, tell them their parents are dead, and then they change the kid's last name, bring them in and palm them off as orphans. Master thieves pay to take them on as Deshai. The Guild pockets the money. And then because they're Guild-trained, they keep a portion of their income and on top of that, make them pay dues."

This dovetailed right into what Luc had uncovered about the girl he'd traced for Pietas. "Such an accusation runs counter to everything the Guild stands for. We've protected homeless children for generations. Given them homes and taught them careers."

"I didn't want buy it either, until I saw it myself."

"Prove it, Kaydn." What had Luc told the Grand Master that morning? "You can't accuse the Guild of such a heinous crime without proof."

"I know." Kaydn scrubbed both hands over his face. "I can."

"How?"

"I told you. I saw it myself."

"Where?"

"Orella--" Kaydn's voice broke, and he paused. "Orella Vettov is my sister. She found me a month ago. My parents died, never knowing what happened to me."

Luc drew back. "What are you saying?"

"I'm saying--" His voice wavered. "My real last name is Vettov. I'm one of the kids the Guild kidnapped."

(continued next week...)

 

Be sure to check out the other authors in this blog hop below.

You'll find these characters mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

The truth about Kaydn devastates Luc #Excerpt A Stolen Heart #SciFi #MFRWhooks

After learning that his apprentice had been stolen from his family, Luc vows to never let it happen to anyone else. How can he plan to make this right?

A plan to make it right. How?

In this scene (continued from last week), Luc must dig deeper into the truth. The words he heard were heartbreaking. Kaydn had been stolen from his family as a toddler.

Luc and Kaydn talked most of the night. His Deshai showed him evidence gathered by the older sister Kaydn had never known. While Kaydn had been learning how to circumvent the law, Orella Vettov had learned to enforce it. First as a cop, and then as a detective specializing in missing children. She'd supplied her kidnapped brother with names, dates, and statistics.

It wasn't only Kaydn who'd been taken. There were at least fifteen others, and Vettov wasn't through digging.

The realization that this had begun while he was Grand Master struck Luc down in shame. It was his duty and responsibility to know everything the Guild did under his command, and he'd failed to flag it.

Kaydn was right. Luc not only wanted to burn down the Thieves' Guild, he wanted to crush it to the last ember.

Three mortal lifetimes he'd invested in that institution: first as Cyr de Tomasson, centuries ago, then in his previous life as Neene St. Thomas, and now as Luc Saint-Cyr. Lives spent hiding his true nature to carry out the mission: protect humanity.

Different identities. Same skill. Same talent. Same passion. Same utter devotion.

Someone had tarnished everything he'd lived for. And for what?

"Kaydn." Swallowing hard against the breath lodged in his throat, Luc clasped his Deshai's hand. "I didn't do this to you, but I apologize for it."

"I know." He braced his other arm alongside Luc's. "Right now, I hate the Guild. But Sen'dai, I know the Guild could go back to what it was. We're thieves, but honorable." Kaydn pulled away. "I can't stay. It's not personal."

"I'd want to leave, too, in your situation. I can't. Not until I fix this."

"What are we going to do, Sen'dai? It's not like we can invite the police to investigate the Guild."

"I can imagine how that would go over. I'll think of something. I have contacts and there's idBot."

"Sen'dai, I don't want to destroy everything you and my brothers have worked for. And I wouldn't skip Nikko's graduation for anything."

"Until I can dig into this and figure out who knew what, don't do anything different. Take some time off. Let me do what I do best. I'll know more by Nikko's big day."

"Luc." Kaydn pointed toward the door. "What if that little HalfKin was taken?" The agony on his Deshai's face crushed Luc's heart. "What if my brothers were?"

"I'll find out." Luc set a hand on Kaydn's shoulder. "I will stop this. Nothing I can say or do will make up for being torn from your family, but I will try to make it right."

Kaydn gave him a soul-searching look, and then moved in close and embraced him. He stepped back. "I trust you."

 

Be sure to check out the other authors in this blog hop below.

You'll find these characters mentioned in many books in my story universe.
Download a printable book list and check them off as you read.


JOIN US FOR BOOKHOOKS
Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current works in progress or previously published books by possibly new-to-you authors. Thank you for stopping by. Please say hello or leave a note in the comments.

%d bloggers like this: