When Chiliad-Kai Jayrt'ian, rogue space pirate, crash-lands on the desert world of Chebrri, he meets the planet's only upside...Val. She's beautiful. She's clever. She's constantly trying to blast extra holes in his anatomy.
A young cadet-warrior on the Amazonian colony Chebrri-Taj, Val found the strange...appealing...male adrift in the desert sands. She's captivated. Chiliad is the first man she's ever seen. He's a barbarian. A domineering, aggravating barbarian. And she can't stop thinking about how good it feels when he kisses her.
Fighting a forbidden passion, Val must lead Chiliad back to his ship before all hell--and a bunch of angry Amazons--break loose.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
November 13, 2009
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Crash Course by Dawn Madigan
"Val, don't you dare touch him!"
"His kind is an abomination!" Aello spat, tightening her fist on her sheathed sheko. Strands of night-dark hair, loosened by the wind from beneath her head-wrap, swirled around her anxious face. She stared from a safe distance at their oversized, unmistakably masculine catch.
"Since when are you the expert on men?" Valasca ignored her companion's indignant, sharp gasp at her taunt. In truth, she'd meant naught more than to play for time. The twin suns danced prickly heat against her skin, and yet she had no wish to rise from her crouch.
She'd just found a true, flesh-and-blood man!
How could she so easily discard such an enticing, rare capture? She swayed closer to the hefty, motionless male, her hair bathing her shoulders in starless black. The lengthy, light blue tails of her head-wrap dangled from her neck, twirled by a warm desert breeze.
The man was huge... Big hands, big feet. Big everything-in-sight. Too bad he was slumped on his face, his fascinating front buried in hot sand. The way he was turned, she couldn't make out his face, veiled by a wild tumble of chestnut hair.
She'd never encountered anyone like him before. Usually such a treat was reserved for the priestesses alone, while she, as well as Aello, were trained to lead the warring life of a trader. As much as she hated to admit it, her patrol-companion was right--they had no business dealing with his kind. Their pressing duty was to report their find to the Temple. But the pulsating auroras had broken off radio communication, which meant they had to make their way back to the settlement--about a day's flight, no stops included--to get their message across.
Val's thoughts moved to a subject far more fascinating, one sprawled almost within an arm's reach.
Was the man truly out cold? Might he already be dead?
No, the steady rise and fall of his expansive torso could hardly be missed. Val's heart pounded. She extended her left arm, her saber-arm, aiming her sheko's knob at the impressive, sand-caked man. The sticklike weapon throbbed faintly, not yet fully activated.
"Will you quit being such a total putanah?" Aello squeaked in her nervousness, her voice breaking on an involuntary high note. "Val, listen. We d-don't have the Temple's permit for this! We should be heading back--"
"He'll die if we leave him here."
"Then the Dyad will care for his soul, if he owns one! Besides, if he made it here, there might be more like him. Let's fly."
"We saw none from the air besides this one," Val insisted.
Her curious hazel gaze caressed the man's large, still form. She bit her bottom lip in thought. There were forbidden stories running around the cadet traders camps about things done in the Temple's innermost chambers. Mysterious rites performed by the priestesses alone with the captured males brought by Chebrri trader crews from faraway worlds. Worlds she'd never been to. She was about to venture off-world on her first journey as a trader, joining Lyssipe's crew. Knowing she'd finally see men--live ones, not 3-D displays--on her upcoming journey, Val had been wondering what, exactly, men were about.
Did all of them look like this one?
Her eager gaze roved over the white fabric that clung to the man's broad back. Val's assessing eyes skimmed over the man's bared shoulders, the burnished swell of his powerful arms. His honey-tan, muscled forearms were dusted with dark, curly hair. Val was fascinated by the sight. His upper arms boasted no hair, their flesh smooth and golden.
How would it feel?
A ludicrous notion hit her.
Maybe he wasn't that different from her, after all...
Or was he?
Val dared a glance lower. A search for some kind of concealed weapon was warranted, surely? Her gaze found none in plain sight, but she glimpsed lean hips and the black-swathed curves of the man's backside. She took a hard swallow as her eyes gulped their fill. The sleek material of his breeches seemed molded against the solid hardness of his thighs. He wouldn't last long in the heat, wearing such a tight-fitting garment.
Val's sable brows bunched together in a quizzical frown as she surveyed the man's intriguing physique all the way back up again.
He looked like...like...
Aello had had enough. "By the Dyad, Val!"
Val startled, her cheeks burning at her brazen thoughts. Her trembling hand gave her sheko a light, inadvertent squeeze. Before she could stop it, the weapon ignited with a soft hiss, its dull point blushing to an angry red. A burst of biting current shot into the man's unwavering flesh, swathing it with leaping bluish sparks.
Val sucked in her breath.
"Dammit!" Starship captain and space-outlaw Chiliad-Kai Jayrt'ian was done playing dead. His head had already been pulsating with the baking heat and the strain of listening to the ongoing, melodious gibberish being spoken above him. Being shot at was just an added bonus. Lucky for him the damn thing had been set to a low energy level.
He erupted from the sand with a savage groan, tossing a shock of chestnut hair off his chiseled face. His eyes shot open with startling abruptness and almost instantly squeezed shut again, unaccustomed to the stark light.
Val's mouth gaped as she stared in horrified fascination at the otherworldly sight before her.
Aello screamed in terror, stumbling back over her own feet. Scrambling up again, she darted toward the hovering wingless and pressed a palm against its gleaming alloy surface. The patrol craft's doors flowed open silently.
Val shot an alarmed glance in the direction of the wingless. Her taut thigh muscles bunched as she readied herself to pull up from her crouch.
The man moved with a power and speed she hadn't foreseen. His large, sand-encrusted hand clamped on her left wrist like a steely manacle.
"Stay, honey," he growled in hoarse command, his eyes ablaze. "I fear I must insist."
The man's throaty accent was alien to Val's ears, but she could make out the words fine enough. The man was speaking Hub-Nemean, a language taught as part of her training.
What was he doing on Chebrri?
The vibrant potency of his grip briefly stunned her. Her sheko's knob wasn't in intimate contact with the man's body, but a powerful enough energy arc could still bridge the narrow gap. A full-force charge would also fry a big, nasty hole in him. Something vague kept Val from doing just that. Instead, her right hand shot to her weapon's shaft. She flung her full weight into the man, jabbing her sheko's tip into his ribcage with brutal force.
She took him by surprise. He toppled backwards, his breath wheezing out in an agonized hiss.
He took her down with him as he fell. She raked a hard, single-handed blow over the side of the man's head, hearing him groan--more with rage than pain.
She twisted against the sand and him, her light-blue head-wrap slipping down her neck. Kicking both her feet hard into his stomach, she finally wrenched her left forearm free from his grip. Panting, Val scrambled up to a crouch and staggered toward the hovering wingless.
Unluckily for her, the man was determined and much, much stronger than she.
Val cried out as he plunged after her and seized her ankles, dragging her back down. She fell hard, facedown in the sand.
With a rough oath the man climbed atop her, almost wrenching her right arm out of its socket with a sharp, painful twist.
The air rushed out of Val's lungs with a ragged scream. Her numb fingers let go of her sheko and it dropped to the sand. An isolated, cool part of her mind prayed her leather canteen wouldn't go the same way, spilling its precious water. She gasped as the man flipped her on her back with ease. His powerful hands captured both her wrists, forcing them against the sand, high over her head. Grinding his pelvis against her, he sank heavily between her thighs, pinning her down with his weight alone. They were both breathing hard now, awash with sweat.
"Don't...fuckin'...fight me," the savage commanded with a thirst-abraded voice.
Dizzy, Val struggled to make out his words.
Sweet Dyad, what was he doing on top of her?
Panic hit her in a blinding, violent surge. She howled like a caged animal, straining against her captor as wild terror swept over her entire being. Why hadn't she shot him while she was able to? She had never had a man above her...had never had one touching her, had never seen one that wasn't a lifeless hologram. Outside the Temple's boundaries, men were a banned species on the world of Chebrri-Taj. For once she should have listened to Aello...
Speaking of whom, where had her trusty companion gone?
Val struggled to look for the wingless, writhing beneath the weight that was crushing her against the hot sand.
"Fuckin' stars, I'm not going to hurt you-- Will ya relax? Shit!"
Chiliad swore as the thrashing girl's white teeth dug a set of double crescents into his right arm. Her dark limbs were slick with sweat, making it harder for him to hold her down. There was a huge ache where his head should have been, and his sunburned skin still prickled with the energy charge from the girl's odd weapon. Stars, who else was hearing the girl's screams? He had to put an end to this madness, now!
Val managed to crane her neck to a painful angle, gasping aloud and spitting out sand. Most of it found the man's face. Good, she thought with frenzy as his expression soured. The edge of her visual field caught a white blaze streaking the low sky, the wingless making a swift escape across the arid dunes.
"No!" Val cried out with a torn breath. "Aello--you scared little piece of--"
Her screams were sharply cut off as the man's large hand clamped over her mouth. Val's free hand wrapped weakly around his wrist then sagged to the sand. Her world slowly dimmed.
"Shit," Chiliad grunted, staring down with a deepening frown at the passed-out hellcat beneath him.
He swiftly withdrew his hand from her mouth with another curse. Dammit, he'd miscalculated his own strength--and now the little demon was out cold! Alive, though, he noted with relief. All he'd wanted was to break that raging fit of hysterics...
Chiliad's sour gaze lifted to arch about the landscape. The sky's unusual brightness made him wince again before his eyes managed to take in the view.
Sand, sand, sand!
And just to make sure he got the message--more sand.
But the scene wasn't totally monotonous. It had a bunch of rocks in it too.
Chiliad gritted out an inventive oath. His aching brain tried to remember the Ambrosine's last position just before she'd made that flashy plunge through the planet's atmosphere. A hell of a fireworks show too--he'd been wondering who else might have witnessed it besides the two wildcats who'd found him.
His battered Navi-system had cast the Ambrosine out of hyper dangerously close to the broiling heart of a binary star system. Suddenly the twin suns of this cursed system had been filling his view screen.
The pair hosted a complete set of seven planets. The third one had seemed uninhabited, and Chiliad had swiftly decided it was as good a target as any to crash on.
Right now, he wasn't so sure.
"Of all the shitholes in Nemean charted space," Chiliad growled with feeling. He reconsidered. Dammit, he was probably off charted territories altogether! Rephrasing, he again ground out with menace, "Of all the shitty, gods-forsaken places in the fuckin' unknown universe--"
A soft, breathless moan beneath him drew his gaze back down. The girl's head turned to the side, her lean muscles taut against the sweat-slick prison his body made. With all the harshness drained from her face, she had a fresh, true beauty--an untamed, natural look that stacks of artificial enhancers couldn't produce. He knew all there was to know about beauty enhancers--he used to smuggle tons of the stuff, among other things of a less benign nature.
She was the most gorgeous thing he'd ever laid eyes on.