Princess Miali, one of the beautiful and strong daughters of Lyra, is an ambassador for Lyra. Her true identity is kept secret to protect her but it’s her beauty that puts her in danger when slavers attack her ship while she’s in cryo-sleep. When she wakes, she finds herself heading for the markets, her only company the ship’s handsome young Minervan doctor. Kosen makes Miali’s body react like no man before him, sending her hair floating with her positive emotions and making her wonder if she might just be falling for her captor.
Miali is the daughter of Captain Remi, the fourth born Lyra son, and his wife, the nurse, Emmanuelle. With the help of her father and uncle, she has been given the role of Ambassador and her royal heritage has been concealed.
When her ship is taken over by slave traders she finds that the one man she has friended has betrayed her. Her only hope of freedom lies with the youngest of her captors.
Kosen entered the trade of selling slaves in an effort to find and free his sisters when they were sold into slavery by their father. Now with blood on his hands, he's finally coming to terms with the wrongness of his choices. He longs to make it right while he's both drawn to set Miali free and to keep her for himself.
"No ... Erm, father?"
Kosen prayed that she wasn't about to point the man in his direction. If only he could fade into the darkness and disappear. He had never had to face something as terrible as this. The moment this man realised who he was and what he had done to his daughter, he was going to crush him like a bug.
"Miali has a lover.” Aksel grinned.
The heat drained from Kosen in a flash, leaving him cold and numb.
"What?” he said at exactly the same time as Miali, Taelis and her father.
Aksel's face blanched too as all eyes came to rest on him and his father stormed towards him.
"A lover?” her father said, face dark.
"Wait wait wait,” Miali chanted, her cheeks bright red.
Kosen held his hands up when her father diverted his course away from Aksel and straight towards him. Miali ran in front of him, trying to block his way.
"Wait, father, it's not like that.” Miali pushed against his chest and then looked over her shoulder at himself.
Kosen waved his hands in an attempt to tell her not to speak. If her father asked her anything that would make her think about the things that had happened between her and himself, then no matter what answer she gave him, her body would tell the truth.
"He's not your lover?” her father stopped and scrutinised him.
Kosen frowned at him and had a change of heart as he wondered why it would be such a bad thing if he were Miali's lover. He was a good man who could easily make something of himself. He had been honest with Miali throughout their time together and she liked him. So there was that little fact that he had played a part in her kidnapping, but he had surely cancelled that out by helping her?
He was about to ask whether her father objected on the grounds that he was Minervan when the man stepped up to him, sandwiching Miali between them. When she backed into him, Kosen placed his hands on her upper arms, holding her.
She was shaking.
"Father, I can explain. Kosen helped me escape those men. He was the doctor on their ship.” She held her hand up when her father's look turned deadly and he opened his mouth to speak. “Was, father. Was. He helped me escape. Now I want to help him. I need money."
"Money? Lovers? What in Iskara's name is going on?"
Kosen had the distinct impression that this wasn't going well, especially when her two brothers came up behind their father, flanking him and drawing their weapons.
"He kidnapped you. He's one of them. Step aside, Miali,” Taelis said, taking aim with his laser gun.
Kosen swallowed hard and stared down the barrel of it.
Miali stretched her arms out across him and shook her head.
"No,” she said, her voice shaking as much as he could feel her body was. “Kosen saved me. I promised that I'd help his sisters. He needs money to buy them back from their master. Please, father?"
"Answer something for me, Miali.” Her father's look softened and a tiny flicker of hope ignited in Kosen's heart. Perhaps he wasn't going to die today after all.
"Is he your lover?"
Kosen couldn't help looking at her as she struggled for an answer. Her silver hair shifted and she frantically pushed it back down. It seemed to be the only answer that her family needed.
"A Minervan?” Taelis grumbled and shook his head.
Miali whined and then said, “What does it matter if I've fallen for a Minervan? Aunt Terea is Minervan and she's the queen of Lyra!"
All three men pulled faces that clearly expressed that they couldn't deny that. Kosen joined them. It was true. Her family had no right to complain about her choosing a Minervan when they were under the rule of a Minervan female.
His eyebrows rose.
Choosing a Minervan?
He stared at Miali but her hair obscured her face. He turned her to face him when frustration got the better of him. He had to see her when he asked this.
She dropped her head forwards, looking at her feet. He cupped her cheek and raised her head up until her eyes met his.
"Fallen for a Minervan?"
I certainly did. Hell, was there ever a chance I, being me, wasn't going to fall for the mercenary?
She stared at his teeth. They hadn't cut her but they were as sharp as they looked.
"I just don't understand why you do it,” she said, frowning at his sharpened teeth.
Kosen frowned too and ran his tongue along them. The sight of it caressing his teeth made her tremble and ache inside.
"All Minervan males do it."
"I know,” she whispered and reached her free hand up, touching his teeth with her fingertips. “Why?"
He playfully snapped at her fingers and she jerked her hand back.
"It makes us ... sexy.” He grinned.
She laughed and his face fell. When she realised that he was being serious, she cleared her throat. Perhaps it did make them more attractive to Minervan females but it didn't do anything for her.
His frown wasn't shifting. He sat up and she pined for the feel of his body against hers. She hadn't meant to spoil the moment with her stupid questions. She sat up and moved closer to him where he was sitting at the edge of the bed.
He looked thoughtful. His black eyes slid to meet hers.
One eyebrow rose.
His eyes narrowed on her, holding such heat that her body flushed and her hair threatened to rise again. She twirled it and tied it in knot to stop it.
He leaned towards her and she was captivated as his lips parted, entranced by their beautiful shape and the sight of his sharp teeth. Thoughts of what he could do to her with that mouth made her heart flutter and her blood boil with desire.
She licked her lips.
He edged closer, his movements achingly slow. She looked down at his hands, yearning to feel them on her, and then back into his eyes.
He whispered one word that made any shred of reserve she had disappear.
Her lips parted and her breath left her in a sigh. He kept moving towards her and she leaned back to counter his move.
Her back hit the bed and she stared up at him as he moved between her legs.
Her heart beat hard against her chest.
Her breathing quickened.
Perhaps he was right, when he put it like that.