A wickedly delicious dessert. A dark and mysterious man. A woman who can resist neither... One of many trained tasters to the sovereign, Ceta Lars doesn't want to be chosen. Compounding Ceta's fear of the unknown is her attraction to Iason, the sovereign's paladin. For years, her glimpses of his dark perfection have tantalized her, stolen into her dreams, filled her thoughts with wild, erotic fantasies. Except he's the one man she can't have. The sovereign's sentient female ship has other ideas. Her hungers rule and she wants Ceta and Iason. Together. One taste of the creamy ambrosia of her creation, and her two reluctant lovers will come together in a fire of scorching, orgasmic lust and passion that neither can deny-that could destroy them both.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Chosen One by Kim Knox
"I chose you for your abilities. Your trainers are very impressed with your palate." He snorted, and Ceta stared at him, not expecting something so natural from the man. "After all these years, it's still an odd thing to say."
Ceta swallowed and willed out her question. "How many years, lord?"
A brief smile touched his lips and the effect was stunning. Ceta's heart missed a beat. In the flesh, he was beautiful, incredible, and she felt the heat rising in her face again. "I've been the sovereign's paladin for eleven years." He straightened and the smile faded. "I choose a woman from the temple for the sovereign's protection." He let out a slow breath. "Every year his ship produces a milk which he must ingest to continue his bond with the ship. As a part of the ceremony, you as his taster, must try it before him." His mouth thinned and a line furrowed his brow. "The ship creates an ornate...dessert...for his consumption. Three of them. Once you've sampled it, the sovereign and his favored ones are free to enjoy it."
"The ceremony can last up to three days, the full time we're in orbit around Schedir-prime."
"Is the dessert poisoned?"
The paladin's eyes narrowed on her and their intensity had her mouth dry. She stopped herself from twitching in her seat. "No one would want to harm the sovereign," he murmured. "As my title implies, I am his most loyal soldier. My job is to remove any threat. Your tasting of the dessert is simply...tradition." His tongue wet his lips and Ceta stared at the sheen of moisture, wanting to lick it from his skin, to taste him, tangle her fingers in the smooth blackness of his hair. "Ceta...?"
It was almost as if the seat grew behind her, pushing her toward him, urging both of them closer together. She didn't fight the strange, unreal sensation. They were only a few centimeters apart and her heart hammered. What the hell was she doing? She couldn't--
His mouth covered hers in a soft, melting caress that pulled a moan deep from her chest. His fingers traced her jaw, light, exploring, and she opened her mouth under his, their tongues teasing. His satisfied hum curled down to her toes.
Ceta's thoughts spun. It had to be real. She wasn't trapped in the simulator with one of her programs running. She wasn't, because she'd never dared to go so far with him. "What's your name?" She had to ground herself, find something solid in the spiraling madness.
The kiss deepened and flickers of his fierce hunger had her flesh tight and aching. The arms of their seats thinned and only thin padding separated them. His hand ran over her shoulder, easing under the loosened vines to cup her breast, his thumb circling a hard nipple. Ceta gasped, arching into his sure touch.
"What's happening here?" he muttered against her mouth, his teeth biting at her bottom lip. Ceta pulled at his breastplate, holding him against her. She wanted his mouth for things other than talking. "I have never..."
"Lord, we are about to dock." The voice resonated around the room and Iason crushed his eyes shut.
He pulled back and wiped his hand over his mouth. "Understood." He stared down at the thinned seats as they flowed back into their usual shape, turning them, putting a wider gap between their bodies. "The ship wanted it," he murmured.
Ceta pressed a palm to her mouth, still tasting him, feeling the imprint of his palm, his fingers around her breast. She eased out a slow breath. "Wanted it?"
He snorted. "Believe me, I don't normally grope a candidate on the transport back to the ship." He ran a hand over his hair, smoothing it. "Seems the ship likes you."
"It likes me?"
"She," Iason corrected. "Our ship is alive and has a gender. Remember that." A fierceness undercut his voice and Ceta realized he was as loyal to the ship as he was to his sovereign. "She is also sentient." A brief smile touched his mouth before his face fell into its usual stern mask. "She favors a few of us. You should be honored."
There was that word again. "Yes, lord."
A dull thump and the vibrations running through the flesh of the ship faded down to stillness. The harnessing tendrils broke free and slithered back over her chest, shoulders. Iason stood and held his hand out to her. His touch rioted fresh need through her body and her seat jerked her forward, the paladin having to catch her, his unbound hand coming around her waist to hold her steady.
Her mouth was so close to his, it would be simple to bite at his bottom lip and draw him into a searing kiss that would most definitely lead to--
"It wouldn't be wise, Ceta." His hands gripped her hips and held her away from him. "The ship may want us to play, but you have your duty, as do I."
Disappointment soured her stomach and her gaze dropped, fixing on her bare feet. "Then why is she doing it, lord?"
"Our genes are obviously compatible. She likes to breed people."