Life for Naia Vincenza is about to change. A mysterious alien, Dasyra, whisks her away with the promise of a life of pampered luxury. For a price.
Naia must undertake the mysterious and carnal rite of the reinya. She has to prove she should be chosen, that she is worthy of the role. And to do that, she must enter the maze and find the creature at its heart. But nothing is ever simple and the price Naia must pay pushes her mind and her body to the very edge of pleasure...and beyond.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Perfecting Naia by Kim Knox
The warm, heavy scent of earth filled the shadows. Naia let her fingers curl into fists before she flexed them again and willed herself to walk forward. She stopped before the black arch of the tunnel and her mouth dried. A dry wind curled around her bare thighs, teasing up across her stomach and she sucked in a nervous breath. She really had to go through with it. Enter the maze of tunnels on a planet she'd not even heard of twelve short hours before.
"Your time is short, Naia Vincenza."
She flicked a glance to the line of males standing behind her on a worn stone dais. "I know," she murmured, but still her feet stayed planted to the warm earth. "I do know."
"If you do not enter the maze then you forfeit your chance to serve in the role as our reinya." The central Tarugan, Dasyra, tilted his head. Light from the alien sun cut through the green-gold clouds and gleamed against the fine mesh of his scaled skin. "You would suffer no shame in leaving and returning to your life on Lacerta-Beta-4. Some are not prepared for the trial of the maze."
A life of pampered luxury or the choice of returning to the cramped, squalid slum of her rooms, of days working long shifts until her brain fried? How bad could the maze be compared to that?
Naia pressed her lips together. Something about being on their lush world sang in her blood. The lithe strength of the Tarugan, the aristocratic turn of their features, the ancient power that hung over them, everything seemed somehow...familiar. And she didn't know why. Maybe it was her stupid genes. They'd called her reinya, a woman whom chance had brought to them. A woman who, if she survived, would enjoy one hundred years of wealth and honor within their society.
"I'm not leaving."
"Then you must enter while the sun touches the peak of Mount Tagem."
"Yes, I know that too."
Dasyra stepped down from the podium and crossed the short stretch of cobbles toward her. Sunlight lit him and his alien beauty caught her. She broke off her stare but his fingers lifted her chin. He dipped his head to hers and placed the briefest of kisses against her mouth. Her heart skipped.
"For the journey," he murmured.
"Should I be doing this, Dasyra?" Why she trusted him, she didn't know, but something about him tugged at her. It was more than being grateful for his pulling her out of the stink of her world. Maybe it was something to do with what they thought she was.
A smile touched his mouth and he stepped back from her. "I can imagine no one else."