“Lata.” Ronan breathed out her name word on a long sigh. “Try to understand.” He drew her other hand into his clasp and tightened his grip. “I can’t stay here on your planet.”
“I know that.”
“I don’t want to use you.” He paused, his eyes gleaming like the dark waters of a surging night sea. “You deserve more from a man than what I’m prepared to give.”
“One night of passion,” she whispered, unable to speak clearly over the emotion clogging her throat.
“That’s all I want.” Goddess, please don’t let me beg.
“Passion! What do you know of passion?” His voice rumbled as he struggled to speak quietly, when she could see from the stiffness in his shoulders, from the lines of tension bracketing his strong mouth that some deep emotion held him in thrall. “All these years a virgin when you should have been lying naked in a man’s arms every night.”
His hands gripped hers as a night wind blew over them, bringing his cool, star-kissed scent to her. She curved closer to capture it.
Maybe she didn’t know much about passion. But she’d felt the strength beneath his gentle fingers when he touched her. She’d felt the sharpness of his teeth behind his tender kisses, nipping her in sensitive places. Underneath the patience and control he exhibited at all times, she sensed a fierce potency she wanted to unleash. If that was passion, she wanted it. This man with the hard eyes and the tender hands called out to something deep within her.
Her gaze met his and she understood suddenly that exploring her own sensuality was part of the call to adventure that had drawn her forth from her Temple home. And she understood more—the call to explore her sensuality had been sparked by her attraction to this man. This man and no other.
But could she convince him that what felt so right to her could also feel right to him? He was a strong man, with a strong moral code. Deflowering a virgin was not something he’d do lightly—he’d convinced her of that. She drew a deep breath.
“Ronan, when you touched my hair, it felt so good. Not like when Maemae or one of my friends fixed it.” She leaned closer. “When you touched me, I felt it…deep inside. I thought that was passion—the way a man handled a woman.”
“No.” Ronan leaned into the electricity sparking between them. His gaze riveted on her lips and she saw the moment when he capitulated. “Goddess! You drive me to it.” He shoved both hands in her hair and brought her face close to his. “A man would handle you like this.” His fingers tightened just enough on her hair so that she felt the pull against her scalp.
“And here’s why a man would do it.” Still holding her tightly, both hands wound in her hair, he brought his head down, and pressed his lips against hers. Hard. Her mouth opened under his demand and his tongue plunged in. He filled her mouth, his teeth scraped her tongue, and she rose to her knees, drawn to his heat like water to a fissure, an eruption certain.
Their bodies touched briefly, one sparkle of zinging delight, and then Ronan moved.
“No.” He dropped his hands and pulled back sharply, as if he’d been scalded. “I have responsibilities, obligations. I am not free to simply lie down and partake of a woman who tempts me.” He shook his head as if he needed the negative motion to reinforce his words.
“Then you should have left me to Lucas,” she cried out, chagrin and disappointment roiling within her in a toxic brew.
“The blonde man who bid at the end?”
“Yes.” She pressed her hands against her thighs, afraid that any movement would bring her again into contact with his heat.
“Did you want him?” Ronan’s voice rumbled fiercely as his gaze snapped to hers.
“I preferred anyone to Sheckel.”
Ronan’s mouth tightened, a firm slash across his tense face. “Lucas wanted you. I could see it on his face.”
Lata shrugged, striving for a casualness she didn’t feel. It was time to try to salvage some of her dignity.
“Desire is such a transitory thing, don’t you think? If he didn’t have me, he’d find another woman.”
“Is that how you feel about desire?” He leaned closer until his breath touched her face. “If not one man, another will do?”
“I…I don’t know. I didn’t know anything about desire…until recently.”
“When you kissed me…after the auction.”
“That was a show, for the Temple elders.”
“It still felt good. Then, in my room…”
“Another kiss. Nothing more.” He waved his hand.
He could dismiss it. But she wouldn’t. She’d been kissed by Toric, and by a few other men over the years. None had affected her the way Ronan had. No other kiss had produced that tingly, melting feeling that reached from her lips all the way through her body. None had sparked a sharp yearning for more. A spark that danced within her, searching for an answering light to ignite a fire that would burn out of control.
“No, Ronan.” She looked up at him. “You know it was more than just a kiss.”
“This is more.” He drew his forefinger down between her breasts. Her nipples hardened under his watchful eyes. “That’s desire. Subtle. A man needs to pay attention to catch a woman’s signals.” He curved his hand and moved it slowly over one breast towards her nipple. “Do you want me to keep going?”
“Yes.” The word sighed through her parted lips.
“That, too, is desire.” His fingers moved onto her nipple and he stroked it, gently. She tried to breathe.
Her back arched in wordless supplication.
“Harder?” His voice scraped her skin.
“Yes, oh, yes.” She couldn’t have imagined something that felt this good.
He increased the pressure almost imperceptibly, leaning over her, the darkness that was his body the only thing she could see.
“Where do you feel it now?” His low voice rumbled in her ear, adding another texture to the delicious sensations washing over her.
“Everywhere.” She sighed, opening her eyes when his hand left her breast.
“How does it feel?” His dark voice continued to tickle her ear.
Category: Action & Adventure, Fairy Tale & Mythology, Science Fiction
Length: Novel Class
MSRP/List Price: $6.00
Our Cover Price: $4.00
Available Format: eBook
Ronan Macaulester is a galaxy-roving warrior fleeing an unfriendly planet where he has just avenged his brother's death. He stumbles upon a strange custom in which Galatea Riesling's virginity is being auctioned on the eve of her wedding. He is determined to save her, and her countrymen are determined to thwart him at any cost. When he is mortally wounded, Galatea must engineer an escape, while they are pursued by the Temple elders. She leads him on a danger-filled flight across the planet, searching for both medical and technological miracles to save her warrior. All the while, she knows he must leave if his life is to be saved, and she must stay behind to honor the demands imposed on her by the gift of the Star Necklace.
To My Reader: I wanted to write a hero who was both tough and tender. A hero who would “challenge” the other men on their mistreatment of women. The hero had to have a touch of vulnerability so he’s a stranger in a strange land. And of course, he had to be totally smitten with the heroine, otherwise, how much fun would it be?
I believe a tough hero needs a strong heroine, so I wanted Lata to have a big role in solving their problems. So she’s smart and courageous and a leader. She needed to have a natural reason to travel with the hero, so she’s a healer.
Title: The Star Necklace Author: Carly Carson Publisher: Red Sage Publishing, Inc. Genre: Futuristic/Sci-Fi, Action-Adventure, Fantasy Publication date: August 2010 ISBN: 978-1-60310-509-5 Pages: 175 Series: N/A Reviewer: Merrylee
M/F – oral sex, masturbation
“You’re a long way from home, Otherlander,” Sheckel hissed.
“Good thing I have a long reach,” Ronan answered softly as he flexed
his hand on the hilt of his knife.
After exacting justice against the men who'd murdered his brother Wren on the backwater planet of Ares, all Ronan Macaulester wants to do now is make it back to the coastal city of Pernn in time to catch the inter-galactic shuttle home to Maxxon. But when he comes upon a group of men accosting a beautiful young woman along the roadside, his principles will not let him pass by without rescuing her. What he doesn't plan on is getting caught up in a religious rite dictating that Galatea be auctioned off the night before her wedding to a man who will take her virginity before turning her over to her husband-to-be. As attracted as Ronan is to Galatea, he's not about to the let Sheckel, the temple high priest, win the bidding on her just so he can abuse her anymore than he's willing to take her virginity himself and then turn his back on her. After all, he'd been raised better than that.
A healer and the daughter of a temple priest, Galatea Riesling wears the Star Necklace. As the wearer, it's her duty to further the living standards of her people. What she really wants is to bring respect to the lives of Arean women. She didn't believe in the backward barbarism of Arean men and the heinous acts they perpetrated against their women in the name of religion anymore than she believed all the women of Maxxon belonged at home raising children if they wanted careers. As much as she enjoys the chivalrous integrity that leads Ronan to outbid Sheckel for her, she cannot leave the planet and she knows Ronan's life is forfeit if he stays.
Gravely wounded fromTazzrakfire, Ronan is forced to accept Galatea's help as they set out on the dangerous journey to Pernn, the temple guard hot on their trail. When she finally breaks through his defenses and they come together in blazing hot passion, Ronan realizes he wants much more with Galatea than just one night. The question is, does he have a future of nights to devote to her? No man has ever recovered from a Tazzrakwound. Unless a miracle happens, Ronan knew with all the certainty of a man taking his final breath that he was dying.
I loved parts ofThe Star NecklacebyCarly Carson. When it was hitting on all cylinders, I was so engrossed in this story I couldn't put it down, but there were instances when jumps in time between events jarred me enough to remove me from the story and plunk me back down in my own reality.Ms. Carsonalso made the mistake of purloining iconic names from Star Trek (ferengi) andAnne McCaffrey's Dragonriders ofPernnovels (though she spells it Pernn). She probably should have been a bit more original in these two cases. And then there's the introduction of emus as mounts. Althougha novel approach to transportation, I just couldn't picture those ugly, ungainly, and tempermental birds taking the place of horses. Sorry.
That said,Ms. Carsonexcels in her character development.Galatea and Ronan are a compelling couple, perfect for each other in every way.The wayMs. Carson developed and wove their love for each other is brilliant, because in the end, it's what keeps them both alive. You can't help but admire and respect Galatea. Though she possesses a virgin's naiveté, she is so strong and devoted to both Ronan and her people that she finds a way to be there for both without being pulled apart by these opposing forces in the process. As for Ronan, simply put,I fell in lust with him on page one. Ronan is a fierce warrior, yet gentle in his handling of the virgin Galatea. A man of principle, he's more protective of her virginity than she is.Once they finally go about ridding her of it, the physical part of their relationship is powerful and passionate. Yet, it's written with such sweet sensuality, it immediately sweeps the reader up in its intensity.
AlthoughMs. Carsonhasn't announced any plans for sequels toThe Star Necklace, I was happy to see that she left some dangling teasers that could easily lead to sequels for spaceshipentrepreneurLucas Mooradian, and Ronan's brother Wrex.Yes, I believe he's still alive!