Today my good friend Marie Rose Dufour has her first release from Secret Cravings Publishing. I've read a portion of this book and it promises to be a HIT! So run over and grab a copy HERE.
We know that we are no longer alone in the universe. Descendants of Earthly ancestors have returned to find the other halves of themselves, their destined mates.
Dragon, a scarred Serralian warrior drawn to the planet of his ancestors, never believed the Goddess had a mate for him but no matter what he believes, he’s unable to resist the pull of the planet deep within in soul.
Liz, a curvy teacher who escaped an abusive marriage three years earlier is afraid to take another chance on love. Tired of being a
bystander in her own love life, she participates in an ancient ritual to identify Serralian mates. Taking that chance changes her life forever. Can these two people overcome their pasts to become each other’s true Fated Mates?
Dragon leaned back in his office chair gazing unseeingly out the vid-window down at Earth from where the cruiser orbited the planet. His brow furrowed in concentration with the problem at hand.
“Uh…hum,” uttered from behind him trying to get his attention.
The gentleman should know from experience, he did things in his own time and only when truly ready.
“Uh…hum…” again sounded from behind him.
“Sergeant, trust me. It’s not within your best interest to rush me in my decision on this matter.”
Properly chastised, Dragon, confident he would not be disturbed again until he thought through every option, let his eye gaze back to the blue planet below. Ever since first orbit, life hadn’t been the same on his ship. Everyone had been edgy, including him. Expecting, hoping, and praying to be mated to someone on the planet below, everyone except him. He had lost faith in the dream a long time ago. Now he had to deal with a situation he never thought would happen under his command.
He adjusted the eye patch he wore over his left eye, a souvenir he received as a POW, before he slowly turned his chair around and pierced the man in front of him with a steely gaze.
“The only reason you are not in the detention center, Sergeant, is because we are friends. Explain to me why you disobeyed ship rules and left this vessel without authorization. Explain to me how a lifelong military man purposely neglects his duties. I need my Sergeant at Arms to explain it to me because as your commanding officer, I am ready to throw you in a cell, start dismissal procedures, and have your ass on the first transport back to Serralia.”
For the first time during his lecture, he saw his friend blanch at the mention of being shipped home.
Sergeant Tarlon simply raised his hand to display the vivid, red scrolling mating mark imprinted across his hand.
Dragon whistled through his teeth and leaned back in his chair resting both hands behind his head. “When? How?”
“Four days ago, the Goddess blessed me.” Tarlon bravely looked his commanding officer and friend straight in the eye. “Excuse my bluntness, Sir, but being unmated yourself, you have no idea what I was going though, being on this ship, knowing my mate waited down on the planet below me. Nothing could have stopped me, not our friendship, and definitely not my duty as an officer.”
Dragon’s face hardened and his un-patched eye turned as cold as the wind whipping across the ice plains on the North Pole of Serralia.
“Do you intend to soften me by insults and bringing attention to my lack of a mate?” Dragon sprang from his chair and stalked in front of him. Tarlon’s eyes immediately went to the floor in a show of respect. He took a deep breath and looked his friend in the eye. His unintentional insult struck deep, to go through life unmated was a fate worse than death to his people.
“I beseech you and the Goddess for my unintentional insult, my friend.” Tarlon placed a hand on Dragon’s shoulder. “I just pointed out you have no personal experience with the yearning call of the first mating.”
“That might be so.” Dragon gritted out, shaking off the hand on his shoulder and going to stand in front of the window again. “What I do know are the rules of this ship. You are to report immediately to the detention center for seven days or until I decide what to do with you!”
“But Sir,” gasped Tarlon protesting. “You cannot separate me from my mate. It would be a torture we both could not tolerate.”
Dragon sighed. He knew his punishment didn’t match the crime. It went against the very beliefs of his culture to separate Fated Mates even for a moment. Everything changed when Tarlon had shown him his mark.
“I am in quite the awkward position, my friend. Your infraction must not go unpunished, but I cannot separate you from your mate. What I can offer you is a compromise. Spend the day portion of your sentence in the detention center catching up on the backlog of paperwork, which seems to have piled up. The night portion of your sentence, you are in the custody of your mate.” Dragon glanced back and caught the brief look of relief crossing Tarlon’s face and something long dead inside hurt until he squelched it.
“You are dismissed. Please report to the detention center to start serving your sentence.”
“My mate and I thank you, Dragon. We shall say an extra prayer to the Goddess in your name.”
Dragon reached up and adjusted his eye patch. “Not necessary. The Goddess has long forgotten my name.”
“Regardless, a prayer will be said,” Tarlon whispered as he turned to leave the room.
“Yes?” He paused at the door and looked back at the lonely man standing in front of the window.
“The yearning call,” Dragon whispered reverently. “Is it as all-consuming as people speak of?” Dragon reached his hand out as if to touch the blue planet in his window, but dropped it so quickly Tarlon probably thought he imagined the action.
“More.” With the powerful word hanging in the air, the door closed behind him.