Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! Today I have a special guest--my fabulous critique partner/beta reader, Cheryl Brooks!!! Her latest Cat Star Chronicles book, Rebel, releases tomorrow, and I can tell you it's a fast-paced, action-packed (and of course, HOT) story for those of us who love Zetithians. Yes, I've read it. My well-laid plans to beta read/critique two to three chapters a day failed. :) Be sure to comment for a chance to win a copy of Rebel--reader's choice of e-book or print!
Here's a peek:
Recently retired from the Zetithian Palace brothel, Onca rescues a homeless Zetithian woman and becomes enmeshed in her crusade to liberate her friends from slavery.
Orphaned at an early age, Kimcasha Shrovenach has lived by her wits, but she’s never encountered a man she can love until she meets Onca.
Other women paid for him,
Only she gets to keep him.
The city of Damenk never slept, but parts of it did get a little drowsy now and then. Onca strolled down a dimly lit street in just such a neighborhood, enjoying the peaceful stillness. Talwat was a residential district. No pheromones or subliminal advertising fogged the atmosphere here, and it was quiet after dark, especially in the hours just before dawn.
Although he’d taken this same route hundreds of times, this day was unique. His most recent client had seemed honored that she was his last before taking a much-needed rest. She had smiled, tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear, and told him to call on her if he ever needed help. Allowing her to feel special had cost him nothing, but really, it didn’t mean a damn thing—even her name escaped him now. That session simply marked the end of a long stretch before the time when there were no appointments, no ladies waiting for the use of his body, and certainly no need to sleep at the Palace. He was going home.
There were plenty of men who would have loved his job and would never have considered taking a vacation. Onca didn’t see it that way. No matter how pleasurable or lucrative it might be, it was still a job. He recalled hearing someone say that any occupation, no matter how much fun it was as a hobby, took on all the trappings and burdens of a job the moment money became involved.
That someone was right. Since his partners Jerden and Tarq had left the business, Onca had been trying to keep up with the demand, but he was finally forced to admit that even he couldn’t maintain the pace forever. He had fucked six—no, eight—women that day. Although none had complained that he’d rushed them, he knew he had. Still, he doubted they would have blamed him for hurrying had they understood the circumstances. Onca’s days began at ten and went until four the following morning, and he’d gone from doing one client every three hours to one every two—an hour with the lady followed by an hour to relax, plus an hour each for lunch and dinner.
It’s a wonder my dick still works.
He didn’t even have that excuse. One whiff of an aroused woman’s scent, and he was ready to go again—all set to dive cock-first into a hot, wet pussy. He could think about it now, but without the scent, his cock remained flaccid. He’d even gotten to where he could stifle an erection if he smelled feminine desire in public, which was a useful skill for a Zetithian man to possess. Particularly one who worked in an area where the street pheromones had every passing woman panting with need.
He planned to put that skill to good use over the next few weeks. From now on, he was simply another inhabitant of a large city—anonymous and invisible. He had even donned clothing prior to leaving the Palace, something he’d rarely bothered to do before. For that matter, he didn’t always go home. Roncas had long since given up trying to wake him after the last appointment, merely allowing him to sleep right where his client had left him. She would wake him in plenty of time to have breakfast and a shower before his first session of the day.
Poor Roncas. The tiny Zuteran woman would be left to deal with the calls from new customers, even though Onca had told her to stop making appointments two years ago, following his return from Jerden’s wedding on Terra Minor. Instead of posting an announcement, she had opted to stay on for a week or two before taking her own sabbatical—no doubt deriving some sort of fiendish delight in telling desperate women that the resident Zetithian stud had taken an indefinite leave of absence.
She certainly didn’t need the extra pay. Onca knew precisely how many credits she had stashed away, and her hefty parting bonus would allow her to live in style for the rest of her days. He could have lived like a prince himself, had he chosen to do so. However, he preferred a simpler lifestyle. Granted, he owned a house on Rhylos, which was pricey enough, but it was a modest dwelling in a neighborhood noted more for its peace and quiet than its ostentatious display of wealth.
Until the next moment, when the blessed silence was broken by running footsteps. The smack of two bodies colliding followed, accompanied by a masculine grunt and a decidedly feminine gasp.
“Let go of me, you creep!”
The man’s chuckle raised the hair at Onca’s nape. “Not likely, girly. You’re mine now.”
Onca sighed. A knight errant, he was not, although he was carrying a pulse pistol—something Jack had insisted upon if he persisted in pursuing what she considered to be a dangerous occupation for one of the galaxy’s few remaining Zetithians.
“You’ll end up dead,” Jack had warned. “Rutger Grekkor isn’t the only jealous man in the universe. You just watch yourself, bucko—especially when you’re out on the street. And in restaurants, make damned sure you’re sitting in the gunfighter’s seat.”
She’d had to explain what she meant by that, of course. Jack had made a study of old Earth’s culture, with the result that her conversation was peppered with figures of speech that no one else understood, and she took smug satisfaction in insulting miscreants with thousand-year-old expletives.
Unlike the words now issuing from the captive lady’s mouth. They were all explicit, succinct, contemporary terms—some of them having their origins on worlds far removed from Rhylos.
A highly diverse vocabulary for a lady.
Rounding the corner, he spotted the couple. A hulking Herpatronian with enough leather strapped to his simian body to satisfy the most perverse fetish held a struggling woman against the wall of a nearby dwelling.
At least, Onca assumed she was a woman. At the moment, all he could see of her was a mass of dark brown curls peeking out from beneath her captor’s arm. Then it struck him that if her size was any indication, this was a young girl rather than an adult. Suddenly, the fact that he was armed was immaterial. A child must be defended, if only with bare hands and fangs.
However, since he was armed, he drew his pistol, set it for a light stun, and fired a shot, pinging the man in the ass. With a howl, the beast abandoned his victim and took off running.
If Onca had expected the girl to fall at his feet in gratitude, he would have been sorely disappointed by her reaction, which was more akin to the ire of a hissing, spitting cat.
“You idiot!” she screeched. “What the hell did you do that for?”
Onca stared at her, not quite believing his pointed ears. “Let me get this straight. You wanted that big ape to rape you?”
Her scowl was enough to scare off more than a Herpatronian; therefore, he concluded that she must not have been trying to escape. A quick once-over revealed a small, thin girl clad in skimpy strips of ragged green satin—attire that might have been alluring on a more voluptuous form, yet only made her look like an underage streetwalker fallen on desperate times.
“No, I did not want that big ape to rape me,” she mocked. “I’m trying to find my friends.”
“Peculiar method,” he commented. “Unless, of course, he knows something you don’t.”
Her face seemed to crumble slightly. “I don’t know whether he does or not. I’m trying to find out what happened to them. Three of them just…disappeared.”
“Why didn’t you go to the police? I’m sure their methods would be more effective—and less dangerous.”
Bowing her head, she muttered something he couldn’t catch.
“What was that?”
Her head snapped up, and she glared at him. “I said they’d probably lock me up if I said anything.”
“You mean the police are in on this?”
“No, I mean…” With a wince, she sniffed in a breath, crossing her arms over her nonexistent bosom. “I’m the sort of person they don’t like running around loose.”
“Ah, I see.” A homeless waif—and probably an orphan—which was one of the few things Rhylos prided itself on not having in abundance. “I agree. You shouldn’t be running around loose. It’s much too dangerous, as you can see. There are schools and orphanages for kids like you.”
“I’m not a kid.” She practically spat the words at him. “I’m twenty-two years old and I’ve been on my own since I was ten. I can take care of myself, thank you very much.”
At least she had said thank you. Sort of. “Did you ever consider that the authorities might have picked up your friends? If they were living on the street and someone reported them…”
She shook her head. “I don’t think so. I’ve seen that happen before. It’s very official and well publicized. The cops like to advertise when they do something good—at least, something they think is good. This was different.” Her arms were still crossed over her chest, and she hugged herself, shuddering. “All three of them disappeared during the night without a trace.” She nodded in the direction her assailant had taken. “He was the first lead I had.”
Onca refused to apologize. “Don’t worry. I can report this little skirmish to the police myself. After all, I was a witness.”
Squaring her shoulders, she glared up at him, sweeping her curls behind her ears in an angry, infuriated gesture as she stomped her foot. “You will not.”
Onca’s jaw dropped. “Mother of the gods,” he whispered. “You’re Zetithian.”
Cheryl Brooks is a former critical care nurse and native of Louisville, Kentucky, who resides in rural Indiana with her husband, two sons, two horses, four cats, and one dog. Rebel is the tenth book in her Cat Star Chronicles series, which includes Slave, Warrior, Rogue, Outcast, Fugitive, Hero, Virgin, Stud, and Wildcat. She has self-published one ebook, Sex, Love, and a Purple Bikini, and one erotic short story, Midnight in Reno. Her self-published erotic contemporary romance series, Unlikely Lovers, includes Unbridled, Uninhibited, Undeniable, and Unrivaled. She has also published If You Could Read My Mind writing as Samantha R. Michaels. As a member of The Sextet, she has written several erotic novellas published by Siren/Bookstrand. Her other interests include cooking, gardening, singing, and guitar playing. Cheryl is a member of RWA and IRWA. You can visit her online at www.cherylbrooksonline.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.brooks.963
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Brooks/e/B001JS6XN0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
This book is a must read! Leave a comment by midnight EDT on Wednesday, July 2, for a chance to win your choice of e-book or print of Rebel!!!
Romance...With A Kick!