Talon is a hunter, a member of the team charged with protecting the outer sphere and its inhabitants. His entire life is devoted to duty and protection. And now, after ten years of preparation and anticipation, a female trophy is his reward. When Chanah inadvertently steps into hunter territory and breaks the law on his watch, she becomes his trophy by right of capture. Focused and with single-minded determination, Talon applies the same dedication to the task of transforming Chanah into his idea of the perfect trophy--a submissive who will meet all his sexual needs.
But things go awry from the start and Chanah, with her strong nature and reluctance to submit, makes Talon realize that a "trophy" is not the prize he thought it would be. Sexy, feisty, with a mind of her own, Chanah moves their fiery, intense sexual encounters from a battle of wills to a battle of emotions--a battle Talon is ill-equipped to wage but discovers the rewards are so much more.
Fate dictates her whims on those she selects to join together. Talon may call Chanah his trophy but fate will ensure that his heart becomes her prize.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Talon's Trophy by Dawn Ryder
Talon let the word bounce around his skull on the trip back to his bunk. Sweet temptation. His cock throbbed as he walked and he let himself think about sunrise. Carefully secured in his uniform vest was a set of new orders. Ten years of service was being rewarded with a chance to defend the outer sphere. His lips curled back as he tightened his control. Hunters did not get their own female unless they captured and trained one themselves. In the protection spheres there were only hunters and trainees. Females were not allowed to serve in the military ranks.
But they did live in the reserve areas that hunters protected. Outside Talon's base was a demilitarized area where females were part of groups known as families. Talon wasn't too sure exactly what that word meant, but it had something to do with the way their resources were divided among their population members. There was often a male head of the unit who controlled the disbursement of food and other supplies.
The hunters did not mingle with the other inhabitants due to their military training. In Talon's world, a threat was neutralized--permanently. For some reason, the people outside his training sphere found that manner of thinking too harsh for their way of life. It was interesting to understand that they were all members of the same race but had actually split into two separate cultures.
Two different sides of life who needed one another to continue to survive. Hunters spent their lives defending the planet. While they could produce enough food and other supplies, there was not an abundance of offspring. Outside, they did not have the skills to protect their families and farms but they did have a larger number of children. So both ways of life managed to live together without much strife. But there was strict enforcement of the militarized zone. Crossing into a hunter sphere was an infraction of law, and tomorrow it would become his duty to enforce penalty on anyone who invaded his territory. That was how a hunter captured a female. Appropriately aged law violators became the property of their hunter captor. All others would be sent to the work sphere. Law-breaking of any kind proved a lack of respect for authority, so that member of the population was removed from the demilitarized sphere to prevent their lack of discipline from influencing others.
Hunters competed for outer sphere patrol duty. It was often a dangerous posting because invasion would strike them first but they gained the right to bring home what they captured and the outside community did not voice a complaint as long as the hunters stayed behind their warning signs. It was a simple system. The females were taught to stay away from the posted hunting grounds. If they crossed onto them, they placed themselves at risk. It didn't matter a whole lot that they did not know the reason for the warnings--as far as Talon and his fellow hunters were concerned, disobedience was grounds for chastisement. You didn't need to know why an order was given but you had better obey it or shoulder the consequences. The only other way to gain a female was penal colony duty. If a hunter volunteered for transfer to the work spheres, he would be allowed to claim one female after a year of service. Talon rejected that method. He found no pleasure in selecting a female from a lineup. No, there was something about hunting one daring enough to defy law that made his blood heat.
He was going to bring back his own trophy and she would call him Master.
* * * * *
"Mia, you are heading towards disaster, mark my words!" The younger girl didn't even look over her shoulder. She kept right on moving despite the warning signs posted in front of her. Chanah ground her teeth together with frustration as she tried to think of a way to get her younger sister to respect the law and return.
"It's not that far, Chanah. Don't be so chicken."
Mia didn't even look back at Chanah as she flung her comment over her shoulder. Instead her eyes were looking at the ripe Yemuta stalks glimmering in the morning sunlight. The stalks were as big as Chanah's fist, just one of them would buy enough food for the winter. On her current side of the forbidden zone, Chanah would be lucky to find enough to feed her family for a week. The rare plant was harvested clean everywhere except beyond the posted warning signs.
But there were heavy penalties for those who violated the law. Chanah looked at the warning signs and bit her lower lip. Chanah knew better than to tempt fate. Females who went into the forbidden zone didn't always return. There were rumors of males who hunted beyond the posted warnings. But they were huge men who bore little resemblance to the men who shared her village. Those rumors told of black-clad bodies that were twice the size of a normal man. For that reason, the forbidden zone was to be respected.
Besides, Yemuta was valued by all spheres, not just her own and Chanah very much doubted the hunters on the other side of that forbidden zone were willing to let anyone steal what was theirs.
"Mia get back here! Do not disrespect the law."
Mia wrapped her hands around a Yemuta stock and began to pull on it. Chanah dropped her own basket and picked up her skirt to run. The hairs on the back of her neck were tingling as she watched Mia break her prize loose and turn to show it to her.
Horror flooded her as Chanah saw the hunter rise from the other side of the Yemuta. His eyes were sharp as they looked at her running towards him and then they sliced to Mia who was slowly walking away from him with her prize hugged to her chest, completely unaware that he was closing the distance between them.
Chanah had no idea where the idea to challenge the hunter came from. She only saw his hand raising towards her little sister and something inside her mind snapped. She pulled the wooden club hanging on her hip free and raised it above her head as she ran faster. She carried the weapon to deal with snakes, and the hunter behind her sister looked just as vile.
"Run, Mia! Run!"
Her sister's smile twisted with confusion as Chanah lunged past her shoulder and brought the club smashing down on that black-covered arm. The hunter hissed as he turned and kicked her weapon right out of her grasp. His body was a study in deadly motion. His eyes were fixed on her as she bent and picked up a rock to hurl at his head.
The missile bounced right off his black helmet and Chanah heard him laugh at her efforts to wound him. Her temper flared at his taunting amusement and she plucked her skirt higher and let her foot kick out at his crotch.
The hunter growled as she watched him stumble back under the blow. As his eyes rolled back in his head, Chanah tossed her head before she turned to run for freedom. The hunters never crossed the border--it was her only way to escape. Mia was screaming from the other side of that barrier, her sister's face was filled with horror as she stumbled even further away from Chanah.