Ever had one of those days?
Celestial Soul-Mates, Book 1
Aria's career fills the void that foster care left behind, and keeps her grounded in reality. But recently, steamy, erotic dreams make her think she's working too hard.
A free trip to a luxury resort is just the ticket. Until she's ushered to a "VIP party" and abducted by an alien who insists she's his king's soul-mate. Love at first sight, let alone sight unseen, is a myth. Her increasing attraction to the ship's captain, though, is weak-in-the-knees real.
Captain Tai Gaman's mission was simple. Kidnap Aria and deliver her to wed his twin brother, King Zander. It must be the sibling psychic link that's fueling his own blinding desire for the Earth woman. As the ship approaches his planet and her sexual hunger reaches unbearable heights, it must be simple compassion that won't allow him to let her suffer. One night leaves him stunned, facing an emotional choice. Claim her as his own, or fulfill his duty to the king.
After a lifetime believing love doesn't exist, Aria finds her hands full with the love of two men. And considering the possibility there's room in her heart for both...
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April 18, 2011
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Excerpt from The King and I by Opal Carew
"You." The uniformed woman pointed at Aria. "Come with me."
"We stay together," Eva insisted as she stepped toward Aria protectively.
"No, actually you don't," the woman responded.
As the stranger grabbed Aria's arm and dragged her to her feet, Terrien stepped in front of Eva, preventing her from rushing to Aria's side. The uniformed woman led Aria to a door, which slid open as they approached. Aria glanced back to see her bewildered companions led out another door by Terrien and a couple of other uniformed men. Eva mouthed some words to Aria that she didn't understand, then the door closed behind her.
"Where are you taking me?" Aria couldn't hide the quaver in her voice.
"To meet the captain." The woman's heels clicked sharply on the floor as they marched along. "You should be honored."
Maybe she should be, but she wasn't. In truth, she was frightened and confused.
Despite that, thoughts of her steamy, nighttime adventures stirred within her and a sexual buzz quivered through her entire body. A part of her hoped this captain was a tall, dark, sinister hunk who wanted to have his way with her. She trembled in anticipation.
Good God, where is my brain? This is real, not some sexual fantasy. Yet she felt heat flush through her, hotter and hotter, as they progressed.
They stopped in front of a door and her captor pushed a button beside it. A bleep sounded.
"Send her in, Casey," a deep voice said.
The door slid open.
"You heard the captain. Go on in."
Fear cooled her blood a little as Aria stepped through the doorway, peering ahead of her to see a sitting room but no captain. The door swooshed closed behind her. She stepped farther into the softly lit room, which looked like private quarters. A big, comfy-looking armchair and couch occupied most of the room. Not exactly how she'd pictured a spaceship.
"Welcome." A rich baritone voice came from her left.
A tremor rippled along her spine. She spun around.
At six foot four and all muscle, he was the most gorgeous man she'd ever seen. His dark, slightly wavy hair brushed his shoulders and his silver-gray eyes glittered like moonlight rippling on water. Her heartbeat accelerated at the sight of him. He would definitely be the star of any sexual fantasy. Her insides seemed to melt into a pool and her vagina tightened.
Good heavens, she had to get a grip on herself. This man had kidnapped her!
"Who are you?" she asked.
"I'm Captain Tai Gaman. And you are Aria Jenkins." He pointed to a chair. "Sit."
She perched on the edge of the chair, keeping a wary gaze on him. He strolled to the couch and settled onto it, his masculine aura filling the room.
"I'm sure you'd like to know why we've brought you here."
"Yes, please." With her hands folded in her lap, and her tight, prim words, she must look like a schoolgirl summoned to the principal's office. She noticed her hands trembling, so she clasped them tighter.
"Relax. I'm not going to bite." Warmth emanated from his smile.
Relax? Was he kidding?
She stared at him with wide eyes, waiting. He leaned forward slightly.
"There is a power in the universe that takes a hand in our lives--we call it nata'tai. It provides the means to keep us healthy, as individuals and as races. To stay healthy, a race must grow. It must embrace other cultures. It must open its gene pool to other races, otherwise it will stagnate. Physically, emotionally and culturally."
A shiver raced down Aria's spine. Had she and the others been brought here as breeding stock? Were they to provide genetic material to keep his race healthy? Nausea tightened her stomach into a quivering ball as she imagined herself chained to a bed, a trail of men lined up to impregnate the alien female.
She imagined him first in line, his mouth capturing hers in a passionate onslaught, his naked body compressing her breasts tightly against his chest. She felt her cheeks flush and she tried to drive the thoughts from her mind as she concentrated on his words.
"As a race matures, nata'tai gives its people the ability to sense their tanash'ae--what you would call their soul-mate--even over great distances. To ensure a mingling of races, nata'tai directs the spirits of tanash'ae--soul-mates--to be born in different races on different planets."
"Are you trying to tell me that you've brought me here because you think I'm one of these tannashays?" She sucked in a breath. "Do you think that you and I..." Her finger flicked between them. "That we are...soul-mates?"
He raised an eyebrow. "Would that be a problem for you?"
No, a voice inside insisted, but she ignored it and sucked in a breath.
"Yes! Of course it would. I don't even know you. I don't intend to marry a man I don't even know."
He flashed a devil-may-care grin. "Who said anything about marriage?"
"Oh, I see." A blush crept up her cheeks. "When you said soul-mate I assumed you meant, you know, love and marriage."
This was all too much for her. The reality of the situation was finally sinking in. She didn't even want to think about what he actually meant. That image of the chain and the bed swept through her brain again and not as an attractive fantasy this time. Her head sagged forward as tears pooled in her eyes.
"Aria, I'm sorry. I was teasing you. I'm not your tanash'ae."
"Your tanash'ae is our king."
Her head jerked up.
"I'm supposed to marry a king?"
"Does the thought appeal to you?"
"If I believed you, which I don't, I would be honored, of course. It's like a fairy tale, in a nightmarish sort of way, but I'm not going to marry some stranger on another planet, king or not. I don't want to leave my family and friends behind."
He leaned toward her, his silver gaze piercing her delicately maintained composure.
"Aria, you don't have a family. You were separated from your mother at a very young age and she refuses contact with you."
She felt as though he'd stabbed her heart. The pain of long, lonely years in an orphanage, then a group home and foster care, slammed through her.
Of course, anyone would understand why her newly widowed mother might decide to give up her young baby when she barely had the resources to care for her other four children. It had been the responsible thing to do, given the situation. Supposedly, she'd wanted Aria to have a better life than she could provide--but wasn't being surrounded by brothers and sisters and a parent who loved her a much better choice than leaving her all alone in the world, rejected by the one person who should love her no matter what?
Logic dictated that her mother could not have truly loved her.
Aria stiffened her back against the debilitating pain, refusing to meet the man's gaze.
"I don't want to leave my world behind."
He leaned toward her, his hands folded between his knees. "If he weren't a king, you could have negotiated where you'd live. Our home world or yours. But in this case, nata'tai has given you no choice."
No choice. D�j� vu or what? She knotted her fingers together and sighed heavily. "Will I be expected to have sex with this guy?"
He smiled, kindness lighting his eyes. "That's usually what two bonded people do."
She glared at him. "Why do you think I'd have sex with a strange man after being abducted?"
He smiled broadly. "You mean, you'd have sex with a strange man if we hadn't abducted you?"
She stared at him blankly. She couldn't believe it. This alien captain was teasing her.
Oh, God. Although he looked quite human, he was an alien. A man from another planet.
She felt trapped. Fear and pain built inside her as she realized this was really happening. This man--this alien--had kidnapped her and intended to drag her untold light-years from Earth. She was being torn from her home, again, regardless of what she wanted.