Book 1 in the Saurellian Federation series
A slave desperate for freedom.
A warlord incapable of love.
Neither Seth nor Calla harbor false hope for their futures--until their worlds collide in war. Now the rules have changed and the stakes are higher than either could have imagined.
Seth and Calla have one chance to change their destinies and the fates of their people hinge on their choices. Only when they risk everything to find each other will they truly know...
The Price of Pleasure.
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 Price of Pleasure by Joanna Wylde
Their conquerors certainly were strange, Calla thought, carrying her basket of linens through the hostel's narrow upper corridor. For such rowdy men, most were remarkably clean. They had taken over Mistress Jenner's Hostel when the station surrendered nearly a month ago, yet during that time she hardly saw them. They spent much of their time patrolling the station shipping docks and manufacturing plants, or running reconnaissance trips through the asteroid belts. At least one was always on guard at each of the hostel's entrances, but Calla had never dared to even really look at them, let alone engage them in conversation. They were large, heavily-armed men who seemed to take their work very seriously.
They also took their play seriously. During the evenings she could hear them in the hallways, although her owner would never have let her out where she could watch them. Mistress Jenner was something of a religious fanatic, a member of the strict "Pilgrims of the Apocalypse." The Saurellians' carousing was disgusting to her, and she would never dream of allowing even a slave such as Calla to become polluted by their presence.
Calla made her way through each of the rooms, changing linens and straightening what little there was to straighten. They had very few personal possessions, so she hadn't gleaned much information about them in her cleaning. Usually she was able to tell a great deal about the guests by what they left in their rooms.
The final room, at the end of the hall, was actually a small suite. According to Jess, her best friend and cr�che-brother, the squadron's commander was staying here. Mistress Jenner seemed to hate him more than all the other Saurellians combined. Calla had heard her blame the man for everything from the recent rise in food costs to the timing of transport take-offs, which caused a shudder to run through the entire space station. Last week, Jenner had spilled hot tea all over her hands during a rough launch.
According to Jenner, the commander was the most disgustingly licentious Saurellian of them all. He even had pleasure workers spend the night with him at the hostel and hosted parties in his suite, something which never would have happened if they weren't under martial law. Mistress Jenner wasn't brave enough to stand up to their conquerors, but there was no question as to what her opinion about them was.
She believed they were evil, pure and simple. Not that she had held a much higher opinion of the Imperial troops, of course. As far as Calla could tell, the only people Mistress Jenner actually liked were her fellow Pilgrims. Given the choice between accepting Saurellian money or being turned out of her own home, however, Mistress Jenner had opted to take the money.
When she reached the suite's door, Calla didn't bother to knock before placing her hand against the palm plate to open it. There was never anyone there during the day, anyway. As she walked in, she banged her basket on the door frame, dropping several towels on the floor. Carefully balancing the large basket against her small, compact frame, she knelt down, reaching for the towels.
The action was just enough to loosen the knot dark brown hair at her nape, and the entire mass of unruly curls came off her head and down before her eyes. She fought with it for a few seconds, then gave into the inevitable and set down the basket. She'd have to braid it to get it out of the way now, she thought with disgust. She hated doing that, because braids, combined with her youthful features and the smattering of freckles across her nose, always made her look like a 12-year-old. Not that she had anybody to impress, anyway, so it really didn't matter she reminded herself wryly.
As she braided the long mass with swift fingers, she heard a sound come from the other room. She froze in place, heart thumping. After a moment's silence she laughed nervously to herself, convinced she had imagined it. Perhaps the long hours were getting to her...
Moving quickly and efficiently once her hair was out of the way, she set her basket on a low table, picked out a set of linens and headed toward the bedroom. As she opened the door a pair of strong arms grabbed her from behind, and she was pulled back against a large, unyielding form. Calla tried to scream, but the noise was instantly muffled by a hand that covered her face. Something sharp pricked her neck, and she knew she was in big trouble.
"What are you doing here?" a deep voice whispered harshly in her ear. Calla tried to answer, but her captor's hand still covered her mouth. "I'll let you speak, but if you scream I'll cut your throat. Don't try to play games with me."
"I-I-I'm C-C-Calla," she said, stuttering slightly in fear. The blade pressed more sharply against her neck. "I w-w-work here, I clean the rooms."
The man's hand and arm slipped lower, clasping her across her chest and effectively pinning both her arms. His body was hard against her back, his arm a band of iron trapping her. Even if he wasn't holding a knife to her throat, there was no way she'd be able to get away from him.
"I gave strict orders to Mistress Jenner not to have anyone come in here today. I'm going to check your story out," he said, arms not moving an inch. "If you're lying, this is the time to tell me. Otherwise I'll kill you."
"I'm not lying," Calla whispered. She could scarcely breath, she was so frightened. He would do it, he would actually kill her. She could tell from his voice that he was serious.
The man keyed a small comset attached to his shoulder with his chin. "Tiernan, this is Seth. I've caught a woman going through my room." he said. "She claims to work for the hostel. Her name is Calla. Can you confirm this for me?"
"Yes, sir," Tiernan answered, his voice sounding tinny through the tiny speaker.
Calla assumed he was one of the men guarding the hostel's entrances. He should be able to confirm her identity, although he couldn't go quickly enough for her comfort ... Until then, it was clear that the man had no intention of letting her go. His arms remained inflexible as steel-there would be no escaping.
She could feel the entire length of his body against her back, solid as a wall. His breathing was steady and sure, although every muscle was tense and ready for action. Then she felt something pressing against the small of her back. With a shock, she realized her captor was becoming aroused as he held her against his body.
Fear swept through her-if he wanted her, there was nothing to stop him. Mistress Jenner certainly wouldn't come to save her, even if orders hadn't been given to stay out of the suite. Stay calm, Calla told herself. This will pass if you just stay calm...