"We require wives. A review of the populated planets in your region revealed that Earth females are the closest genetically to our species. Thus we have decided to take one thousand human females with us."
As these words are broadcast over Earth media, Janis Stone blacks out. She awakens on an alien colonization ship, one of a thousand human women destined to become Brides of the Terilian colonists.
At first outraged by the kidnapping, Jan soon finds herself intrigued by Delos, the Terilian doctor who serves as liaison to the human Brides. Despite his pointed, furry ears and the pelt down his back, Delos' muscular physique and wonderful scent draw Jan like catnip attracting a feline. The two embark on a sensual journey, exploring their species' sexual compatibility.
But their new love is threatened when a higher-ranked male desires Jan. As she plans a mass wedding for the thousand Brides, she dreads the upcoming "Spring Running", the mysterious rite where Terilians will mate with their Brides. Will the wrong groom claim her?
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from One Thousand Brides by Solange Ayre
Jan's new quarters were small, eight by eight feet and seemed empty. Delos demonstrated the voice command that brought a computer console-table out of the wall. Drawers pulled out as well, containing several bright tunics. Another command and a large round bed opened above their heads. Jan frowned, wondering how she was supposed to get into it.
"Will I share this cabin with my husband, once I have one?"
Delos' eyes widened. "Live in the same room together, you mean? Of course not. People require privacy."
She tilted her head, looking at him. She kept picturing him naked on the bed, his eyes half-closed while she touched every inch of him. She'd never felt this way before--certainly not with Gary. "Why do I feel an irresistible urge to touch you?"
His startled eyes met hers for a moment, then he glanced away. "I thought you understood. The Transition has made you susceptible to Terilian male pheromones. All of us are exuding them to a great degree, this close to the Spring Running."
He was trying so hard to be scientific. Couldn't there be a simpler explanation--that she was attracted to him?
"But I didn't feel the urge when Taddus licked me." The memory gave her a nerve-jangling sensation unrelated to pleasure.
"What did you think of him?" She heard jealousy in his voice.
"Taddus made a speech. You spoke from your heart."
Delos seemed pleased. Gazing at him, she was distracted by the way the ends of his hair fell softly to his shoulders. "May I touch your hair?" Your face, your body...
As she drew near, the cocoa smell intensified. She wanted to rub her nipples against his chest. Lie beside him and entangle their legs.
She reached upward, running her palm down his hair. It was soft, like the fur of her tabby cat, back home. She wanted to stroke it again and again. She moved her hand slowly from the crown of his head all the way down, ending at his bare shoulder. Her palm caressed his shoulder and moved down his arm.
His eyes widened with apprehension and he took a step back. "When you touch me, I want to mate. Immediately."
"Why is that a problem? I thought we were brought here to become wives to males like you."
He turned away, breathing hard. The spicy odor in the room increased. She knew, with her newly enhanced senses, that he was struggling with intense desire.
"Yes." He spoke with difficulty. "But we swore--all of us--that no one would have intercourse until the Spring Running."
Disappointment shot through her, even as the impulse to touch him increased. She desperately needed to think about something else.
She looked around, searching for a more neutral subject. "How am I supposed to reach the bed?"
"Most of us like our beds near the ceiling. But you probably can't jump that high yet."
Before she realized what he intended, he scooped her into his arms. She shivered at the sudden intimacy, even as she wondered how a slender male like him could lift her so effortlessly. He crouched, then sprang into the air. In another moment, she was lying on the bed, Delos beside her.
Her heart raced from the leap. Even more disturbing was his proximity. She had to keep fighting the need to stroke her palms over his body.
"Can you all leap like that?" she asked.
"Yes. And you will too, once the cellular uptake is complete."
Jan raised her eyebrows. Now that she'd lived through it, she realized she'd enjoyed the sensational leap through the air.
There was a downside, though. Suppose the Brides decided to resist? If they eventually convinced the Terilians to take them back to Earth, they'd be freaks.
Her mind shying away from the disturbing thought, she bounced lightly on the bed. Unlike the hard hospital bed, this mattress felt malleable, almost as though there was jelly under the woven cover.
What would he do if she parted her thighs and stroked herself? Would he be shocked, or would he watch eagerly? She wondered why she felt such a strange need to tease him, to provoke him.
She'd better start working through the Brides' list of questions. "We're all curious about what you males look like naked."
His brow creased. "We're much like humans."
"Have you seen any of the Brides without clothing?" Not that our tunics conceal much.
"That's different--I'm a doctor."
"Well then, doctor, you shouldn't be embarrassed about bodies." She didn't want to reveal how interested she was in seeing his most private features, so she threw a challenge into her voice. "Or are you afraid to reveal what Terilian male anatomy looks