Thirza Girard is a clone. Her mirror image founded a thousand-year dynasty that spans the quadrant. The Girard family power is no accident. The original Thirza made a deal with an alien, a Tashen-Dar, who could manipulate probability. He changed reality so Thirza and her descendants are favored with opportunity; the chance, if they grab it, of achieving great wealth and power. However, it comes at a cost.
Paint—an organic technology—binds the alien Zaid in the bowels of the planet. Paint has captured him as an image for a thousand years. The time of binding is almost at an end and Thirza Girard’s clone must pay the price for the power her family has enjoyed. She must rebind him, capture him again in paint, or pay another, more carnal price.
“I should warn you, I’m Tashen-Dar, with the power and strength of my primary caste.”
A wry smile tugged at my mouth. “I don’t need that reminder.”
Zaid shrugged himself free of the top half of his suit. The shirt he wore was short sleeved and I tried not to stare at his sleek muscles…and failed. I forced my gaze up and found amusement in him. “Need or want?”
“So this,” I waved a hand over his body, biting at the inside of my cheek as he dropped the rest of his suit to the floor and stepped out of it, “is deliberate?” He wore shorts, the material wrapped tight around his muscled thighs. I couldn’t stop the rise of heat in my cheeks. Hell, this wasn’t me. I didn’t get hot from staring at a hardly naked man. I pulled in a calming breath and stopped. His scent. Warm male skin, but unlike any man I had tasted or kissed. And the idea of pressing my mouth to his neck, licking him, sinking my teeth—I took another step back. “What are you?”
Zaid wet his lips. “Ah, you’ve realized the difference.” He pressed his palm to his chest and eased it down over his abdomen. I watched him, my heart beating too hard, as his thumb teased along the band of his shorts. “This particular human race spread out across the galaxy taking everything that had a pulse.” He paused, but I only saw the slow stroke of his thumb. “They left every pleasure in their wake.” The easy, hypnotic movement exposed hard muscle and the tease of skin. “Unsurprisingly, they rule with ease.”
My heart was in my throat, the ache for him to bare more skin tightening my flesh. Bastard was making me look, but I was not staring at his cock. I was not staring at his cock.
“Thirza, you’re staring at my cock.”
My head whipped up, heat flaring in my face, and I met his golden gaze. The hunger I found there caught me in a wave of shock. He’d chosen this form deliberately. An irresistible human. Done a deal a thousand years before to fuck whoever tried to restrain him again. “Why do you want this?”
“It’s what I’m due. You’re what I’m due.” He closed the short distance between us. “The woman they grew you from made a deal. Her family would have chance worked in their favor. In return, she’d return to me and submit to my will.”
I lifted my chin and my mouth thinned. “And what do I get from this?”
A spark danced in Zaid’s eyes. “You weren’t listening.” His finger stroked my jaw and I jumped. He focused on my mouth and I ignored the urge to lick my lips. Already his scent sank into my flesh, bringing with it the need to taste him, kiss him, tease his skin with my tongue. I swallowed as his fingertip traced along my bottom lip. “Nature selected this body for pleasure.”
“I’m here to secure another thousand years of prosperity.”
Zaid’s wicked laughter heated my blood. “No.” His mouth dipped, his warm breath mixing with mine, his lips almost, almost touching, and the sweet ache of it was a pained pleasure in my flesh. “I have you now. You’re mine to do with as I please.” His soft sigh rippled a shiver over my skin. “I’ve waited centuries for you. The reign of the Girards is over.” His lips brushed mine, brief, tantalizing. “My pleasure, on the other hand, is about to begin.”
Kim Knox brews sex, magic, darkness and technology in a little corner of North West England. She writes erotic science fiction and fantasy romance for Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and others.
SYNTHETIC DREAMS and BITTER HARVEST are available now from Carina Press.
DARK DEALINGS out 26 November