Zev Vertinen has a problem. She lusts after the one man she can't have-her captain, Frederick Jannes. They have a past-ritualized and uniquely sexual-but for her to remain a pilot aboard the CMC Theseus, they can never touch each other again.Of course that doesn't stop Zev lurking to catch a glimpse of Jannes naked, or making him the star of every one of her fantasies. Then sheen engulfs the ship. And the rules that have dictated their lives are changed. Jannes has changed them.Now he will fulfill another ritual. Hunting her down and making her his. No matter the cost.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Frequency by Kim Knox
"Zev. Bridge. Now."
Yes, he was pissed off. She remembered a time when his voice had been the softest she'd ever heard, when it had spun heat and pleasure through her... She licked her lips and tasted only raw alcohol. He'd been a part of her first ritual, her initiation into the order that worshipped the planet. The unique ritual that set her on her path to be a pilot.
The taste of the shot soured her mood further. Because he'd initiated her, she could never have him. Stupid rule. For a long time, she'd had to choose the planet over her own desire. It hurt. But giving in to her want would break her connection to Uranus. A fist closed in her gut, the hint of panic taking her at the thought of losing her link, the peace of it, the way it could fill her utterly.
Zev sighed. But that fear didn't stop the fantasies.
She pushed herself off her bed and stretched. Her joints groaned, the tight pull in her muscles a pained pleasure. No. She'd imagined him taking her. Imagined it a lot. The door to the long gangway leading to the bridge slid open before her and the prick of sharp light forced her to wince. She was walking into one of her most sacred fantasies. Of finding herself in the empty gangway, of letting the hot panic swallow her, knowing she had to run, hide because Jannes was hunting her. When he found her, he would take her, kiss her, lick her, fuck her.
Zev rubbed at her temples. Insane practices. Her life was filled with them. The hunt meant something more, more than the ritual sex that permeated all corners of a worshipper's life. It was shared only between two people. It was...selfish.
She closed her eyes for a moment. Sharing that with Jannes? It was a complete fantasy.
Pushing all thoughts of him from her mind, she focused on her job. Even through the thick metal and shielding of the ship, she sensed the roiling atmosphere of Uranus, the wild whip of turbulent gases. No, she could never sacrifice her holy bond with the planet for sex with her captain.
The door to the bridge opened. Syato glanced at her, as cold and superior as always. Orlena, their navigator, kept her attention on the screens, her touch light, careful as they skirted the hazy argon layer. Her jaw had tightened. The ship's navigator hated it every time Zev turned up at the start of their tour. She'd joined Dareh with making that hatred plain.
Jannes tied her to the Theseus. She couldn't refuse his request to pilot. She hated being so fucking weak.
Zev closed her eyes, focused on her breath and offered up her first prayer. Her thanks to the heavenly body for allowing them to take the riches so generously offered. Syato muttered something under her breath and turned away, her boots scuffing against the tile. The crew thought the planet-worshippers were all crazy. And sometimes they were. But her skill kept their ship safe.
"Glad you could finally join us, Zev."
Jannes lounged in his captain's chair set in the center of the compact bridge. He didn't turn around.
With her first prayer ended, she stood to his right, her hand gripping the hard leather of the chair back. It felt warm and she couldn't stop her fingers curling in, wanting the slightest contact with him. Even if it was something as insubstantial as body heat. Jannes never touched her. Not once in the all the years she'd been aboard the Theseus. It was a constant ache deep in her flesh.
He looked up at her, his expression closed. "I should report your delay."
Zev nodded, but didn't really hear his reprimand. His mouth. She loved his mouth. Firm lips, a beautiful shape, a precise, but fluid movement. Her imagination supplied the taste, the feel of it against every inch of her skin. He didn't need to be naked. Not when she could happily stare at his mouth. And torment herself with the fantasy of his kiss.
"Zev?" His barked question broke into her thoughts.
She nodded again. "Understood, Captain."
Orlena dipped into the methane layer and more prayers spilled from Zev. They mixed with quick directions to Jannes to avoid the buffeting from the fierce currents churning through the blue-green atmosphere. He barked orders to Orlena and the Theseus wove its way deeper.
Her senses split, the noise--Callie's constant chatter had joined them--and thrum of the bridge separating from the overwhelming rush of the atmosphere. No, she could never give up the joy of knowing her planet, of the wild waves of pleasure that swept over her. Better than sex. Almost.
She frowned. Something was wrong. Fuck. Fuck.
It pushed up from the lower atmosphere, hot and wild. A violent burst of energy, blistering and heading straight for them. Her heart hit her throat. The order had warned her of this, but fuck, Jannes had been lucky. Had laughed at other captains who worried over sheen obliterating their crew. But there it was. Sheen. Double fuck.
"Jannes. Sheen. Two-zero-two degrees. Fuck. It's fast. Three seconds and closing."
He nodded, his jaw tight. She had to be crazy because she thought she saw a dark smile touch his mouth before he muttered, "Brace yourself, Zev."
Claxons rang out, deafening, ripping through the maelstrom of the planet in her blood. White-hot light surged over and she cried out. She grabbed at his chair. Her mind reached out for the heavenly body, wanting to appease, to beg for the violence and the pain to ease. But shit, it just kept on coming.
She thought she screamed. Agony smashed over her just before blackness hit.