Posted by Lexxie Couper on Thursday, May 1st, 2008
It’s here! Available now! My entry into the Changeling Press Spaceport series, Highest Bidder.
Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite…
Spaceport: Highest Bidder
All rights reserved.
Copyright 2008 Lexxie Couper
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God, she didn’t want to get married.
Naya Kistara stared out at the congregation, ignoring the enrapt expressions on the faces of the massing hundreds. Was it too late to take off? To steal a ship and disappear into Allied Planet space?
Reverent hands lifted her ceremonial robes from her shoulders and she let out a wry sigh. Definitely too late.
The cool air of the temple kissed her flushed, naked body, rippling her scented flesh into a mass of tiny bumps. She resisted the urge to run her palms up and down her bronze-dusted arms. She might be cold, but any moment now, the Sub-Priests would begin their mellifluous chants, the door to the temple would open and in would walk her future husband. Gloriously unclothed. Proudly aroused. Ready to take her prized virginity there and then on the Altar of K’Ryst.
What he first laid eyes on could greatly influence what she’d become after the ceremony.
Saving the people of Old Earth — her people — from annihilation was all very well and good, but she didn’t want to become a sniveling wimp in the process. If her husband saw a woman with dignity, spirit and strength, perhaps that’s what he’d think of — lust for — during the “Joining.”
Suppressing another sigh, Naya lifted her chin. She could only hope.
A commotion outside, like the smashing of a thousand panes of ancient Earth crystal, suddenly shattered the worshipful silence of the temple. A high-pitched wail came from outside, piercing and terrified, only to be whipped away and silenced by the roaring wind. Around her, the congregation began to shuffle, shooting glances at each other. Nervous.
Naya frowned. She’d yet to meet her future husband, but surely he didn’t require destruction to announce his arrival?
There was another wail from outside — louder and torn with agony — and as one the congregation gasped. Naya’s eyes widened. God save her, what kind of man was she to –
A shattering boom rocked the hushed temple, showering the Joining congregation with disturbed marble dust, rat shit and bird lice from the ceiling. Naya flinched, raising her arm to shield her eyes. Fine particles of grit fell on her shoulders, in her hair, and she brushed at her flesh, smudging the iridescent bronze dust coating her body. A swift intake of breath to her left made her start, and she turned her head, frowning at the attendant standing beside her. The man gazed at the strip of newly exposed flesh on her shoulder, and Naya couldn’t miss the sight of his pulse suddenly hammering in his neck.
“Deviant!” the High Priest snapped, barging between Naya and the gaping attendant. “Do not look upon the reiphia’s flesh!”
Naya started, giving the scowling High Priest a stunned look. He looked her in the eye for a split second and his face filled with heat before he turned away, stepping past the altar and raising his arms. “Do not be concerned.” His deep voice boomed throughout the cavernous room, bounced off the grimy walls. “All is well. The Joining will –”
With a sudden eruption of splinters, the Great Doors burst open. Naya squealed, ducking as flying debris flew all around her.
For a still second nothing happened, and then an icy Earth wind gusted through the gaping hole, lashing at her naked, vulnerable body, pinching her deeply bronzed nipples into rock-hard nubs of flesh.
Naya didn’t take any notice.
Because right at the very moment, ten massive men covered in armor and furs stormed into the temple. Ten men with intricately scarred faces and wicked weapons.
Ten men looking at her.
Naya’s heart leapt into her throat. Mentuan slavers. Mentuan sex-slavers.
By the Old God, she was in trouble.