MetalMark by Ella Drake
Revenge may kill her…but love may kill them all.
Prince to a dying planet, Lye the Keeper has made a deal with the devil. For the price of his blood, the Drianti Syndicate offer a seat on their council…and put the end to their decade-long occupation of his planet within his grasp. Working with the Syndicate feels like betraying everything he’s worked for these last ten years, but it pales in comparison to the pain of his monthly mating imperative.
The red-haired temptress who lands in his path holds the key to Lye’s freedom–and an end to his pain–but the price is too high. Touching her would defile the royal line that ends with him. The lure to possess her, however, proves irresistible.
Privateer Jazzelina Eval will do anything to bring down the Syndicate, anything from robbing spaceships to kidnapping a prince. Anything but settle down and give up the revenge game. Or bed a mark who’s made a deal with her enemy. But once she has Lye in her hands, she can’t let him go…even if the price of keeping him is war.
WARNING: Explicit content, exploding space ships, and creepy biomechanical bugs.
A Lyrical Press Steampunk Romance
ISBN – 9781616504151 | Length – 61,000 words | ePub Page Count – 128 | Publication Date – October 8, 2012
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Copyright 2012, Ella Drake
All rights reserved, Lyrical Press, Inc.
Lye tilted his head, his dark eyes troubled. “You have as much reason to resent the Syndicate as I, it would seem. I thought you were one of them.”
“Never,” she hissed before she caught herself. She buttoned up the resentment and plopped into the chair. It groaned beneath her and made a disconcerting popping sound. She muttered, “Damn place is too fragile.”
“You’re not a diplomat?”
“Not what I’d call myself, no.”
“Why are you here?” His brows slanted down, and she battled the urge to smooth them. She shifted in her seat and caused more creaking.
“It’s…” What could she say? She wasn’t really sure what she was doing here except to kidnap the enigmatic man in front of her. “It’s complicated.”
Lye’s face cleared, a smug expression spread across his features. “The Lover’s Moon brought you here.”
“What in blazing comets are you talking about? I know you speak proper Standard, and I’m curious about that, but I haven’t understood half of what you’re saying.”
“I pick up languages easily. We had a dozen on Brutus, and I’d learned them all.”
“Smart guy.” She slumped in her seat and tried to escape the building rancor, the reminder of being ripped from school at the age of ten. Lye hadn’t earned the usual resentment she reserved for the privileged, but he would if he showed an inkling of the same entitlement she ran into from anyone with enough cred to not live in fear of the Syndicate. Yeah, she knew she was prejudiced and unreasonable. So what?
“We called our moon many things, like Mother Light or Night’s Eye. But throughout Brutus, the magical phase of our moon is for lovers. Lover’s Moon. It is the time for dedication ceremonies and, for some, the mating ritual.”
The last words, mating ritual, stated with a husky murmur, sent a zing straight through her, like recognition. Like a caress. Like fire in an engine’s fuel lines.
“For some?” she croaked.
“Yes. The royal house. The Keeper chooses his mate and when the moon is in phase, so are we. We complete the mating to carry the line of the Keeper.”
“You’re speaking a different language again.” An inkling of trepidation hooked into her gut. Her gut was better than any compass. He spoke to her as if he trusted her. This history of his people could be used against him, and he didn’t hesitate to talk. He didn’t know her, didn’t know she’d sell out anybody to take down the Syndicate.
“This.” He parted his robe at his neck to reveal flawless skin over a muscled chest adorned with a gold chain laden with an amulet. “This is the burden of the Keeper.”
The stone in the middle glowed with a constant yellow light. It mesmerized her, called to her, and a whispering in her head seemed to urge her forward, to touch, to grab, to keep.
With a halting reach, she leaned toward Lye and stroked the amber. Smooth and warm, it pulsed beneath her shaking finger.