A book in the Saurellian Federation series.
Admiral Saul Darius is a warrior, trained to fight and take what he wants--and he intends to possess the lush, sensual woman he's spotted in the arena stands.
The last thing Master Engineer K'rilla d'Pecoraio wants is a lifemate. But when a battle-hardened gladiator claims her as his erotic prize, she finds herself in a war of her own--surrender to his will or fight to save the world she holds so dear. She's on his ship, at his mercy, completely under his power...
Or so he thinks.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Gladiator's Prize by Joanna Wylde
K'rilla bit back a sigh, letting her eyes run across the tall, hardened form of the victor. At least the day wasn't a total waste. He was really something worth looking at, she mused, licking her lips--Saul Darius, the great admiral, a hero of the Tyrian massacre. The man was a work of art, all gleaming muscles and silky black hair, and plenty of scars to prove he knew how to fight. She certainly enjoyed studying his form. All right, more than enjoyed it. There was something visceral about her attraction to him, far more than she usually felt encountering a handsome man. He seemed more alive than others, more vibrant. Exaltation at his victory rolled off him in palpable waves and she understood why the men were so eager to follow him.
He raised his arms and shook them triumphantly. Beads of sweat rolled down them, and K'rilla found herself wondering what the sweat on his skin would taste like...
Not that she'd ever find out, she reminded herself firmly. She might be stuck with the maidens, but that didn't mean she had to shed her dignity over a handsome man. Ridiculous. Then Saul turned to look at her section and she lost her train of thought.
What a beautiful man.
K'rilla licked her lips again and crossed her arms in front of her body, reminding herself of her dignity. The fabric was far too light and silky...it caressed her nipples, sending little tendrils of sensation racing down her spine. Darius had full, ripe-looking lips and she imagined them latching on to the sensitive tips of her breasts, suckling gently.
Pull yourself together, d'Pecoraio.
She knew from her work connections that he'd come back to plan the Imperial invasion. He'd be leading the fleet himself and she couldn't help but wonder how wise it was to risk an admiral in the arena. But even a pragmatist like K'rilla could appreciate the public relations brilliance of the moment. She thought once more about her unfinished work. There were fixes that needed to be made before the battle cruisers left...
"Aunt K'rilla, stand up!" Kimme said, tugging at her arm. "He's looking right this way. I swear, this is the most exciting moment of my life!"
K'rilla rolled her eyes, but she stood. No reason to spoil the day for Kimme and she might as well play up to the cameras. Millions--even billions--would be watching this moment. If by some fluke she ended up on the broadcast, she didn't want to send the wrong signal. Every last Saurellian had to project confidence and pride in their military--the odds against them were far too high to show doubts to the collected peoples of their Federation. And no d'Pecoraio had ever flinched in the face of his or her duty. Not now, not ever.
Just because the Empire was poised to crush them like bugs didn't mean they had to show their fear.
But she wasn't a young girl like everyone else in the maidens' section and she'd demonstrate a little decorum. The girls around her suddenly screamed even more wildly. K'rilla glanced around quickly, confused. Why the hysteria? Then she glanced back at the arena and saw Darius pointing right toward her, his black eyes burning through hers like coals of fire. Pure male and more than a little hungry. They telegraphed naked need and want and she felt a sudden burst of unholy, giddy excitement--could he really be choosing her?