Thursday, November 28, 2013

Waking Up Dead by Margo Bond Collins



Waking Up Dead
Genre: Paranormal Mystery

Release Date: October 8, 2013


Blurb:

When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex. Now she's witnessed another murder, and she's not about to let this one go. She's determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up in Alabama?

 






Excerpt

 

“Hey,” I said, hurrying after the woman. “Wait up.”

“I know you’re not talking to me,” she said. She stared straight ahead and pushed her cart down the middle of the aisle toward housewares.

“I am talking to you. Look. I know this is really weird, but I need your help.”

“Well, I’m not talking to you. I don’t know what your problem is, but you can take it somewhere else.”

I wanted to reach out and grab her cart, to make her stop and talk to me, but of course I couldn’t. Which gave me an idea.

I scurried out in front of her, planting myself in her path.

“Move,” she said.

“Not until you hear me out. Please?”

She moved her cart to the left. I stepped out to intercept her. She moved to the right. So did I.

“You got some kind of death wish or something?” she asked.

I laughed and shook my head. “If only you knew.”

“I’ve got no time for this,” she said. And she slammed into me with her shopping cart.

At least, that’s what she planned to do.

The shopping cart, however, slid right through me. When it stopped, the basket had sliced cleanly through my midsection. The bottom rack merged with my ankles. From my perspective, it looked like two perfectly solid objects--me and the shopping cart--had melted together. I don’t know what she saw.

Whatever it was, it wasn’t good.

The woman’s eyes widened, then rolled up into her head as she slumped to the ground in a dead faint.

I bent down to try to wake her up, but no matter how hard I concentrated on making contact, I couldn’t even touch her.

I hate being a ghost.
 
 
Author’s Bio: Margo Bond Collins lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. Waking Up Dead is her first published novel. Her second novel, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy, forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.
 
Your website address: http://www.MargoBondCollins.com

Other links you would like promoted, such as facebook, twitter:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin  @MargoBondCollin
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy
 
Be sure to add Waking Up Dead to your Goodreads bookshelves: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18428064-waking-up-dead
 
 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Character Blog Hop with Haven Pelletier

Last week we put Tony Sherman under the gun this week its time to get to know his heroine Haven Pelletier ...




Thank you for having me here, I have to admit to being a little nervous I am still getting used to being in the Spotlight.
 
Sorry to be harsh here but I have to ask: what was the appeal of you ex-husband? Honestly I think it started as a crush, the big man on campus liked me, wow he liked me. He was gorgeous and at first charming and fun to be with. He changed slowly but then so did I, I was shallow and self centered and so I wasn’t looking for a great deal of depth at the time. I got what I was looking for a pretty package with not a lot of substance to it.


            You talk about how he was always on you about your weight, when you were smaller no less. Yet this was the man who was supposed to love you? Umm… I have always struggled with my weight, I was never the tiny skinny girl and he honed in on it. Made it the button to push. He was very good at making a dig but making it seem like it really was all your fault. It was subtle at first and sometimes when you in the middle of it you don’t know how bad it is.  The person I am now wouldn’t have stood for it that’s for sure.

            Did you really have no idea about his cheating? Even when he stopped being interested in you and withdrew from you after becoming pregnant?  Hindsight is always 20/20 and yes I should have known but I really didn’t know. I really had no idea, right after it happened I kept thinking I should have seen the signs but he really was that good at keeping it hidden. And I really did think he stopped being physical with me because of my weight, but its all good I heard his new wife is pregnant, should be interesting to watch if he does to her what they did to me. That wasn’t kind was it?
 
How did you let your husband get all the money? I mean, a good lawyer should have been able to get at least some of it back?  I signed a prenup. Stupid huh?

Along those lines- if your ex-husband kept most of the money and barely gives child support, why are you letting him, or his parents, have visitation of your daughter when he doesn’t really want to see her?  I wish there was more time to give to explain-- his parents they have always been good to me, And they love Joce and she loves them. Bruce only wants his rights to piss me off, and he pays exactly what the courts told him too not at penny or gift more. But she barely knows my mom and every child deserves to be dotted on by loving Grandparents. His parents actually were supportive of me after he left. The only bad thing about Bruce leaving me was that I don’t get to see them much.
As far as him seeing her goes, the court believe a bad father is better then no father and so for now, until I am on my feet I bite my tongue and endure the few times a year he takes her for the day.


            Wouldn’t his attitude be more harmful then his not seeing her at all? I know Joce knows he doesn’t really care, but again he usually only takes her when his parents are in town so they make up for it. If he ever hurts he,  this mama bear will show her claws.
 
After your husband ‘dumped’ you, you went to stay with your parents for a while. Then your father ended up dieing. This is so hard to deal with on top of everything else. How did you cope? Did you have help, especially after your mother moved to Florida?  I think the baby was a blessing to my father in the end and for awhile my mother but she was so sad after he died and I couldn’t take care of her and the baby so when she left although it was hard I managed. I coped because I didn’t have an option not to. If I started to cry or fall apart I don’t thing I would have been able to stop.
 
How did you get the job at OMG advertising? I started as Data entry through a temp company and have slowly worked my way up. Very slowly.
 
What are you going to school/taking night classes for? I assume to further your career, but what in, are you going for a degree?  I am trying to finish my Bachelors degree. I stopped College to marry the bone head and still had a few more years to go. I am getting my degree in Business with an emphasis in marketing.
 
You seem to dress more to hide how you look (mouse-y cloths and demure make-up & hair). Is there a reason why? Lack of money more then anything else, my clothes are usually second hand and the pickings in this economy at second hand stores can be slim for someone my size. But I guess its a waste time fancying myself up when I barely have time to get done what I need to get done in the day already.
 
You haven’t dated since your divorce. That is a long time to be alone. Why not? Too tired and no time. Okay and really there hasn’t been anyone to make me want to date again.
 
When Tony shows up about your request for the promotion, you are almost hostile to him. Why? Is there more here than just issues with good-looking charmers?  When Tony first showed up I knew if he was there to speak to me about the promotion I didn’t stand a chance, so my hackles went up. I also thought at the time he was nothing more then a pretty boy with a lot of high powered influential people behind him, and yes Bruce has jaded my feeling on pretty playboys.
 
Why do you let Tony talk you into posing as his girlfriend for his family ski trip?
            You let him do this before you realize there is more to him than just the playboy image everyone sees, so…
I knew that getting the promotion was going to be difficult and watching him in the office showed me that I like everyone else didn’t have a clue as to how talented a man he was. So if he thought he could help and I get a weekend skiing into the package, it was too tempting to say no.  
 
What did you think of the shopping trip Tony took you on (to outfit you for the weekend)?  The first time or the second, the first outing I nearly called the whole thing off and I did give him a piece of my mind. He took me to a couture boutique that didn’t have a dress beyond a size 4 let alone one that was a size 18.  I was fit to be tied. No one had humiliated me about my weight since my marriage and I was damned if it would happen again. I was just about to say something when Tony spoke up and rode in like a knight in shining armor. (Of course he caused the whole mess so it’s only right he fix it.) Because he genuinely was contrite and really did tell the skinny bitch off I let him take me out again. That time I felt like a princess. I have never felt so spoiled and just having clothes that made me feel attractive again was wonderful. And the coat he bought me really was the icing on the cake, did you see the coat I was wearing hideous…really really hideous.
 
What do you really think of Tony’s family?
            Are they as supportive & loving as they seem?
They really are that nice but like any family I think there is a lot under the surface that they aren’t showing anyone.

            But they are clueless about Tony, aren’t they? I can’t fault them on that he should be awarded an Oscar, he is so good at fooling everyone. I think they want to know him but he isn’t easy to get to know. Well get to know what’s under that handsome façade. Although I do wish they would try a little harder. It saddens me that they can’t see what a truly wonderful man he has become.

            And is it just me, or was Spencer, Tony’s older brother, hitting on you? (Blushes) I don’t know what you are talking about, please don’t say that where Tony can hear you.
 
You don’t let Tony meet your daughter for quit a while. Tell us why (I do understand, but some might not). Tony can charm the socks off anyone. And I knew that as soon as she meet him she would love him and I just didn’t want to see her get hurt. Its one thing for me to get my heart broken another for her. I wanted to protect her if I could.

            Why do you finally let them met, what does Tony do to let you feel comfortable with him meeting your daughter? He put me in front of himself, he didn’t push and when he told me why he is so protective of his family I knew he would protect her too. He would protect her better then even I would. I needed her to see that there we good men out there.
 
Tony does get under your skin fairly quick. Do you see this going anywhere? I don’t know.  I hope so. (bite her lip) Its very hard not to want more with him.

            Why do you insist on keeping your ‘relationship’ a secret?  I don’t want people to think I am with him to get a promotion and I don’t want to become gossip column fodder or be known as one of his lady friends. That wouldn’t be fair to Joce. It’s hard sometimes dating a man as good looking as he is, knowing everyone is saying he could get a cover model.  Besides what we had I wanted to keep between us it seemed more special somehow.
 
Tony's Haven Book 2 in the Sherman Series is now available where ever ebooks are sold.
 
 
 Tony Sherman may be a modern day Adonis and a well-known ladies' man, but hiding beneath his carefree, playboy persona is a man who knows how to be discreet. He keeps his desire to protect all those he loves from being seen by anyone, particularly his family. Fate intervenes when he uses his charm to beg a favor from a co-worker, a women as unaffected by his charisma as she is by his looks.

Haven Pelletier is anything but the kind of woman usually found on Tony's arm or in his bed. She's mousy and rubenesque, unmoved by his Adonis appearance. But when circumstances bring them together, she sees right through his tarnished armor—to the true man underneath.

As Haven learns more about Tony, she discovers a man who might just steal her heart if she lets him. Can Tony be the knight in shining armor Haven needs? Or will the secrets in his past keep them both from finding happiness?
 

The Aspiring Romance Writers Blog: Casting Call for Aspiring Romance Writers

The Aspiring Romance Writers Blog: Casting Call for Aspiring Romance Writers:    Calling All Aspiring Romance Writers!    Are you currently writing your first romantic novel? Are you pouring your heart an...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Malicious Mischief by Marianne Harden


Malicious Mischief

Marianne Harden

Blurb:

Is it strange to have the unemployment office on speed dial? Not for twenty-four-year-old college dropout Rylie Keyes. However, her current job at a small retirement home is worlds more important than all her past gigs. Fact is, if she loses this job, she’ll fail to stop the forced sale of her grandfather’s home, a modest lakeside bungalow that has been in the family for ages. But to keep her job she needs to figure out the truth behind the death of a senior citizen found murdered in her care.

 

The victim was thought to be a penniless man with a silly grudge against Rylie. However, his enemies will do whatever it takes to keep their part in his murder secret.

 

Forced to dust off the PI training she must keep hidden from her ex-detective grandfather, Rylie has to juggle the attentions of two very sexy, very different cops who both arouse and fluster her at the same time. And as she trudges through the case, she has no idea that along the way she just might win, or lose, a little piece of her heart.

 

Giveaway:

 

The author is giving away a Nook HD to one winner tour-wide.

Rafflecopter to be provided later by Entangled.

Authors Bio:

 I love making people laugh. True, I should probably spend time on an analyst’s couch, but I’d rather spill loads of fun into my books. I’m rarely at a loss for words, which is wicked cool for a writer. And it would be poppycock to say I didn’t laze away my wonder years dreaming of far-off places.

Over the years, I’ve traversed the insanely fun back roads of Australia and New Zealand, trekked the wildly exotic landscapes of Asia and Africa, soaked up the blistering Caribbean sun, survived bitter Arctic cold to witness the Northern Lights, and lost a wee bit of my heart to the awesomeness of Europe.

My goals in life are simple: do more good than harm and someday master the do-not-mess-with-me look. I roost in Washington State with my husband and our two children.


 

 

EXCERPT

I took off in a run, the fire swelling around me in a wide circle. As I drew near, Zach recovered enough to fish out the fire extinguisher from among the trash bags. He stumbled back, pulled the safety pin, and squeezed the handle. The force threw him to the ground.

I tried to grab the extinguisher but he fought me off. “Get the hell out of here.”

I tried again. This time I managed a better grip and yanked it free. Budding raindrops had me scanning the sky as I smothered the fire with dry foam. I barely took in the wet against my skin as the rain swelled to a downpour. Then out the tail of my eye, I saw something unbelievable: Zach shaking with laughter. I blinked, turned. His eyes were glued to my backside.

My mind was already shrieking when I twisted for a glimpse. The fire had left my skirt a no-show over my ass, and the scarcity of my pink thong made it a shiny moonbeam.

Arrgh.

Zach climbed to his feet, shrugged off his jacket, and tied the sleeves around my waist.

“Could this morning get any worse?” I asked, sighing.

Bad thing, questioning fate. I heard a loud gasp. My lifting gaze tracked Solo’s raised and pointing finger as he drew near in hurried steps. A hairy forearm hung out of the van. By the age spots, I knew it was a senior, almost certainly male. A round scar, silver dollar size and ugly, marred the back of his hand. It was familiar, yet no other thoughts gelled together.

Zach rushed to the van. Solo froze, his finger still suspended. My head filled with a boatload of promises to God as Zach lifted the man’s limp wrist. I started praying big time, pondering and zeroing  in on my worst habit. I mumbled bargaining words about not screwing up at work for a day, maybe two days if the G-man needed a bigger carrot. Please don’t let the guy be dead.

“Alive?” I didn’t blink, couldn’t.

Zach shook his head, pushed aside the trash bags, and leaned in. “He’s an old dude, small and bald. He has a mustache and white beard. And he’s very dead.”

My mind clicked. A Nazi bullet had caused the scar. “It’s Otto Weiner, isn’t it?”

“The Jewish guy from FoY?” Zach asked. “The one who wears the beanie?”

“Kippah,” I said, and drew his puzzled gaze. “It’s called a kippah.”

“He isn’t wearing one now, but it’s him. It looks like he suffocated. A plastic bag is taped over his head.”

I stared blindly at the ground. I heard a squeak like a chew toy and cut my gaze to Solo. His eyes were bright like doppelganger comets.

“I’ve heard baking soda helps, or rubbing alcohol.” Not only could I not bring myself to believe Otto Weiner was dead in the van, but I was babbling like a stooge.

Solo wagged his finger. “Rylie, this is bad, really bad. What if they think you did it because of that fight?”

I sucked in air; it froze in my throat.

“That’s ridiculous,” Zach told him. “What fight? Rylie never fights.”

I inched my eyes his way. “I might have once.”

“With who?” Zach wanted to know.

My ears rang so loud they ached. “Otto Weiner.”
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Character Blog Hop with Tony Sherman

Today we are interviewing Tony Sherman from Dominique Eastwicks Sherman Family Series his story is told in Tony's Haven

 


             They call you “Golden Boy Sherman” and say you bring in business to OMD advertising because you’re famous and good-looking. So what are you famous for? I am famous for coming from a rich family and partying. Really not a damned reason I should be famous, I find it stupid, irritating, and idiotic if you must know.



          And why did you choose to go into advertising instead of following in your father’s footsteps like your older brothers?  My Dad is a Doctor and I really don’t think I am the Doctor type. My Brothers went into the “family business” well Lucas and Spencer did but although the family company does advertising I really wanted to try and prove myself elsewhere, not that it made a damned bit of difference anyway they still think I only got the job on the merit of my family. I choose advertising because it’s about making people believe they see what you want them too, it seemed like a good fit.
 
          I understand your best friend, Hunter, is now your brother-in-law and that you have problems with that. Why?  Because the Bastard lied to me…


            I would figure most people would like having their best friends in the family. I am coming around to dealing with it in my own way but it will take sometime. Don’t get me wrong I think Hunter is exactly what Jacinda needs but really I don’t want to know about their sex life…I mean I really don’t want to know.
 
              Why do you still have such issues with Hunter being with your sister? I can’t go into that here.

              And why did this seem a betrayal to you?  I won’t go into that here.
 
            From what we have been told, you are the carefree playboy. But it turns out this is just an attitude you hide behind. Can you tell us why? Sometimes you can worry and care too much.

            If you are so protective of your family, why are you basically lying to them? Because I don’t want them worrying about me, if they think I am in a committed relationship with a suitable women they wont worry about where I’m taking my life. When she dumps me they won’t be surprised either.

            And if they love and support you so much, as they seem to do, why haven’t they noticed the real you under the playboy?  I learned really young just how to make them see what I wanted them to see. Thus why I am so good at advertising. (Smiles)
 
Speaking of being the playboy, why have you kept bringing all those different women to family function? Especially if it upset your family/parents?  At the time I didn’t think they were overly concerned about the girls I brought home. And I somehow got lost in my own game. I forgot for a while that I was more then the image I displayed to the world.

            Why did you never have a relationship with any of those women? Have you heard about the women I dated…not really relationship quality.  Honestly I didn’t want a relationship. I have been known to take the Knight in Shinning Armor gig too far sometimes and to be in a relationship for me means I have to be able to protect them.
 
How can you justify bringing a virtual stranger to the annual family ski trip as your girlfriend? I was desperate and Hunter said something and when Hunter puts his two cents worth in usually it’s a good bet you should listen to it. He said don’t bring your usual bimbo. Haven was someone my family would have never expected and it would have thrown them for a moment. Far better to have them say why is she with Him then why they hell did you bring her. 
 
         A girlfriend you mentioned two months ago would seem serious to your family, wouldn’t it? Yes and she was also the usual bimbo, besides I really didn’t want to lead her to believe there was anything to our relationship.

            Did you not think your family would be effect by Haven? I knew pretty soon they would love her, Lucas is such a live cannon I wasn’t sure which way he would go or when he would blow. But I knew everyone else would adore her.

            What about Haven being there or the promises you made her to get her to go? I meant every word of them, She is already signed up for certifying seminars and classes. Of course I made some of them before I realized how damned amazing and beautiful she was. So I might have broken a promise or two there, but it was a mutual break.



            Hunter seemed to know that Haven wasn’t really your girlfriend. Are you worried what he might do since your friendship is still strained?  If there is one thing everyone should know about Hunter its that he is a loyal to a fault, Even with the strain in our friendship he won’t say anything. Hunter comes from the streets and you don’t rat out people on the streets.
 
         You say Haven isn’t your type. What is your type if you don’t have relationships? That is a great question, before I met Haven I would have said my type where ladies that didn’t want anything more from me then a good time and some free publicity in the gossip columns. She would have looked like she walked right off the pages of a fashion magazine,
 
           And if Haven isn’t your type, why do you get so interested in her so fast? Oh where do I begin that doesn’t have you slapping me across the face. I could mention her curves, but I won’t (he winks then chuckles) Haven is amazing, she puts me in my place quicker then even my mother, she certainly doesn’t see me as a pretty boy. When we talk she picks my brains and asked what I feel about things. She doesn’t just chat about fashion, or thank god the tabloids. We chat about business, and what’s going on in the world. I feel like I want to tell her everything about me…And that scares the hell out of me.
 
              You know Haven has an almost six year old daughter. Does dating someone with children bother you? It’s a new dynamic. Have you ever done so before? NO this is the first.
           
              Are you ready for that responsibility? As ready as anyone is.
 
             Do you see a future with Haven? I could see myself growing old with Haven.
 
          What about problems with work… I am not at liberty to chat about the issues at OMD, but you are welcome to field any questions you might have to my lawyer.
 
 
TONY's HAVEN
 Tony Sherman may be a modern day Adonis and a well-known ladies' man, but hiding beneath his carefree, playboy persona is a man who knows how to be discreet. He keeps his desire to protect all those he loves from being seen by anyone, particularly his family. Fate intervenes when he uses his charm to beg a favor from a co-worker, a women as unaffected by his charisma as she is by his looks.

Haven Pelletier is anything but the kind of woman usually found on Tony's arm or in his bed. She's mousy and rubenesque, unmoved by his Adonis appearance. But when circumstances bring them together, she sees right through his tarnished armor—to the true man underneath.

As Haven learns more about Tony, she discovers a man who might just steal her heart if she lets him. Can Tony be the knight in shining armor Haven needs? Or will the secrets in his past keep them both from finding happiness?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Shout Outs November 11th







This week I am doing a shout out for~

 (click on the Authors names to go to their sites)
 
 
 
 
This book I couldn't put down. It's one of the books that you just pick up and you love. Not the typical romance it has a place in my heart as one of my all time favorites.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
I first feel in love with L.B.'s writing with this series the Men of Smithfield. You can't go wrong with anything she wrote but to me this is what M/M romance should be about.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




Sabrina York


 

 
Have you ever just read a book and once you have finished you have to reread it again to make sure you read every word. That was what I felt like with this book. I couldn't put it down and I am now hooked on this author.

 
 
 
I have read everything by this author and am never disappointed, but this one is the one I love the most. I love all the brothers in this series...I am thinking its time for a reread. Be back soon.
 
 












Desiree Holt

I have to be honest I couldn't pick just one so I closed my eyes and pointed and this one is definitely a winner, Short and sexy. This author is also one of the kindest women I have had the pleasure to meet I look forward to seeing her at the conference she is co host for in February.

Wild Wicked Weekend.








Follow me here and come back every Monday to see what the next 5 authors I adore are.
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Barenaked Ladies - "Odds Are" (Official Music Video)

Breeder by Cara Bristol





Breeder

Genre: erotic science fiction romance, also, domestic discipline erotic romance

Release Date: October 15, 2013

 

Blurb

To secure his legacy, Commander Dak, a ruling Alpha of planet Parseon, purchases Omra, a breeder slave. He intends to impregnate her, produce a son, and hand her off to his anointed beta partner. As Dak and Omra discover a sexual bliss banned by law, he begins to question the traditions and ways of his people, causing him to jeopardize his command and endanger the life of the woman he has come to love.

Warning: Breeder contains M/F and M/M sexual practices and domestic discipline.

 




 


 

Authors Bio:

Cara Bristol has been writing since she could put a pen to paper, and she has written everything from mainstream long and short fiction to nonfiction magazine and newspaper articles. She sold her first erotic romance in 2009 and never looked back. Now multi-published, she has nine erotic romances and two anthologies to her name. The author of the popular Rod and Cane Society domestic discipline series, Cara writes spanking fiction most often, but her published works also include contemporary and paranormal erotic romances. Breeder is her first science fiction novel, which she is considering making into a series.

 
 
Author Links:
Website address: http://carabristol.com




 

Excerpt

If not for the sneeze, Dak would have exited the musty, dank corridor. But the muffled sound caught his attention. When he squinted into the darkened cell, he spotted a female crouched on a straw mat in the corner. He hadn’t noticed her on his way into the Breeder Containment Facility; the habitation unit had appeared empty.

Dak turned to the BCF director and sighed. “What about her?”

The beta’s already crooked mouth drooped farther in distaste. “My apologies, Commander. You don’t want that one.”

Sival’s disparagement piqued Dak’s interest. The director’s opinion had proven worthless; none of the breeders he’d preselected for inspection had rated close to satisfactory.

I would like to see her,” Dak insisted.

Very well, Commander.” Sival saluted and opened the habitation cell with a master entry card. Dak stepped into the small enclosure. The director followed, and the metal gate clanked shut.

The naked female drew into a tighter ball and tucked her face deeper into the crook of her arm. Other breeders had preened as soon as they’d noticed him and his chest-insignia identification. He wasn’t just an alpha. He was the Alpha.

This breeder’s lack of respect and failure to adhere to Protocol by acknowledging his presence struck him as odd. Dak frowned. “Is she mentally deficient?”

Sival tightened his lips. “No, stubborn, ill behaved. She would not befit an Alpha Commander.” He nudged the female’s hip with the toe of his boot. “Rise to your feet.” She did not respond, and he moved to prod her again. Dak forestalled him with a wave and grasped the female’s arm.

You will stand.” He hauled her upright. She averted her face, so he grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him. Tangled hair the color of black heating stones fell back from an oval face to reveal eyes like the Parseon moon. The glimmer of intelligence that sparked within the violet depths aroused his interest more than anything else he’d seen so far. Nature had bestowed the Parseon people with an exceptionally strong immune system so that they rarely required medical intervention, but breeders by nature were weak, and so many of the ones he’d seen had seemed dull or ill or both. This one’s skin, when unsmudged by grime and dirt, probably glowed like the pale sands of the Ospian Sea. He supposed, as breeders went, she wasn’t unattractive, although the stench emanating from her was. His beta would throw a fit if he dragged such a creature into their domicile.

Why is she so filthy?” he asked.

She refuses to bathe.”

As Dak scrutinized her facial features for shape and symmetry, he noted little imperfection or dysgenics other than her lack of hygiene and her gender. When cleaned up, she would please the eye, but to bear his sons, it mattered more that she be healthy and strong.

He released her face, stepped back, and assessed her from head to toe. He exceeded the height of most males, alphas included, while she stood smaller than the average female. The top of her head failed to even meet his shoulder. She was thinner than other breeders too, although her chest bore an abundance of fatty breast tissue. In the chill of the cell, her nipples had puckered to hard points. Despite the coolness, he was experiencing a rise in temperature. A dormant lust chose that moment to kindle, causing heat to coil in his abdomen and groin. He could not remember the last time he’d experienced such a spontaneous reaction—if he ever had. With the pads of his fingers, he probed the sides of her neck for swollen areas. The way she trembled under his touch aroused a sliver of sympathy. Breeders lacked courage, and uncertainty frightened them. Not all alphas and their betas treated breeders well. If he chose her, she would be adequately fed and housed. His command consumed his time and energy, which left his beta alone for long stretches. A breeder would relieve Corren of household chores and provide him with a physical outlet as well.

What is she called?” Dak asked.

Her sire named her Omra.”

Peace, it meant.

He parted Omra’s lips with his fingers and slipped a digit into her mouth, running it along her upper gum line to check the solidness of her teeth. At a flash in her eyes, he jerked his hand away a centisecond before she snapped her jaws together, so that her incisor only grazed the tip of his finger.

Sival’s face reddened. “Commander, I apologize. I will have her flogged.”

Unnecessary. I will take care of it.” He unclipped the sudon from his belt.