Knight’s Fork – Just Released!

25 09 2008

 “KNIGHT’S FORK is a page-turner from the very first one to the very last. I enjoyed it so much, after I reached the last page I started right from the beginning again. KNIGHT’S FORK has it all! If you only have time to read one book this season, I highly recommend you run out and grab a copy today.” ~

 

Kimberly Leslie

What is a queen to do when the sperm donor of her dreams says no?

 

Carpe Scrotum. Seize Life by the Testicles! The Queen Consort of the Volnoth needs a sperm donor and only one green-eyed god has the right stuff. Little does she know that she has pinned all her hopes on the crown jewels of the fabled Royal Saurian Djinn. Not only is he the son of her greatest enemy, but he has taken a vow of chastity.

 

KNIGHT’S FORK

 

Prologue

 

Tigron Imperial Palace

Mating Ceremony for Princess Martia-Djulia and Prince Djetthro-Jason

Earth date equivalent: August 30, 1994

 

 

Carpe Scrotum. Seize Life by the Testicles.…

 

Behind her public-figure smile the Princess ambassador, Electra-Djerroldina,

Queen of Volnoth, pondered her private mantra while waiting for her sister’s Mating

Ceremony to begin.

 

One sometimes wondered whether normal people entertained secret thoughts of

doing scandalously inappropriate deeds, such as fellating a dignitary during some solemn

ceremony or other. Not that a Princess would. Such behavior could get both of them

incinerated on the spot for High Treason.

 

Without looking down, Electra slid the lower of her folded hands—her left—over

her thigh until the backs of her fingers brushed the soft, bristly scruff-ruff of the collared

Imperial tiger crouching on that side of her.

 

Being an Imperial Princess, and a barbarian’s Queen, and also the representative

of an interstellar superpower, meant that one had to spend long expanses of one’s days

and nights sitting still with the eyes of the Worlds upon one, obliged to appear pleasantly

amused when nothing whatsoever was happening.

 

One sat in wait. Waiting for one’s awful-god relatives to Mate, or die, or produce

an heir, or sign a treaty.

 

To give strength and mystery to her Royal smile, Electra conjured up mental

images of testicles. It was almost impossible to be intimidated by the all-powerful males

who surrounded her, when she imagined their little vulnerabilities. Strangely, she never

thought of her own Mate Viz-Igerd’s.

 

Her wrists prickled a psychic warning. Someone was trying to read her mind. The

more nervous of her black, saber-toothed protectors snarled.

 

“Quiet, Bey-ta.”

 

Electra turned her face with ingrained regal dignity and—still smiling—inclined

her head to her great-uncle Django-Ra, who sat sprawled on the parapet of the royal

family’s tiger pit, stroking his jaw and probing minds for weaknesses.

 

Where was I? Hmmm, seizing testicles, she mused, and met Great-uncle Django’s

star blue stare. You might be interested if I were to think about my Volnoth subjects’

bizarre fertility rituals. On the other hand, Uncle, if you know that I’m aware that you’re

trying to read my mind, you won’t know whether or not I’m pulling your positor, will you?

 

He looked away. Django wasn’t a coward, and he couldn’t be shamed. However,

he was a consummate predator and easily bored. He preferred unsuspecting prey.

 

I wonder…? Is my green-eyed White Knight here?

 

Covertly, Electra scanned the guests, seeking one enemy Knight among the

choppy white sea of alien ambassadors.

 

Because the godless Saurian Knightly Orders were on the wrong side of the old,

cold war, all the Knights wore diplomatic-immunity white, all the time. While they wore

white they could not be touched, which presented a practical difficulty for a would-be

seductress toying with the idea of seizing a particular dignitary.

 

Will I know him, if I see him?

 

Most Knights hid their identities under distinctive lizard or dragon headmasks,

ostensibly for life support. Yet, Electra felt sure that she would recognize the one she

sought by the slant of his broad shoulders, by the elegant arrogance of his deportment, by

how Djinn-tall he was. And by his gold-flecked, rare-mineral green aura.

 

She had first seen “her” Knight’s face—quite by chance—at her brother’s Mating

Ceremonies less than three cycles ago. Her throat had contracted. Her stomach had

flipped. She’d gasped in the shock of recognition. Apart from dark eyes that were as

green as Viz-Igerd’s, the Knight looked like a lean, mean, younger version of Tarrant-

Arragon.

 

I wonder if he could get me pregnant, she’d thought.

 

Before she could ask him, he’d disappeared. Of course, he was an enemy, and

much too young to endanger her heart. But the Queen of the Volnoths wasn’t looking for

a lover. Haunted by his Igerd-green eyes and his near-Djinn stature, she’d made discreet

enquiries. All she’d been able to find out was that his friends called him ‘Rhett, and he

was known for his virtue, his deadliness with a sword, and his unattainability.

 

The trail had turned as cold as his eyes. All hope seemed lost, until the

summonses went out for all the Worlds’ leaders and their spies to watch Martia-Djulia

take her new Mate. Surely, she reasoned, the Saurians’ leader would send ‘Rhett.

 

The Imperial fanfare’s first blast from the upper balconies jolted her thoughts back

to the present, and to the descending throne-stage. Electra watched the appearance of her

overstated, ultrafashionable younger sister on the stark arm of their wicked brother,

Tarrant-Arragon, who always wore black.

 

The ceremony had begun.

 

Wistfully, Electra scanned the masked males in white. There was one among them

who might be… But no. That Saurian ambassador was a tiger’s length tall, but heavier.

 

One after another the four sets of great double doors thudded shut. Latecomers

wouldn’t be allowed in.

 

‘Rhett isn’t here. He isn’t coming. Electra stroked the sleek, heavily muscled

tiger’s shoulder on her left, as if it were Alph who’d suffered the disappointment. Fewmet,

what a pity! The more she thought about ‘Rhett, the more perfect he seemed for illicit,

urgent babymaking.

 

Through half-closed eyes Electra watched her ruthless brother and her frivolous,

embarrassing sister parade down the steps of the Heir Apparent’s throne-stage; and she

visualized the child that ‘Rhett might give her, if she could catch him with his lower body

out of uniform.

 

Its hair would be dark. ‘Rhett’s hair was an iridescent black. Hers was dark, too.

All Djinn were either dark haired or silver. Hair color didn’t matter. It was the eyes that

would be decisive in allowing Viz-Igerd to believe that ‘Rhett’s child was his own.

 

It was worth any risk for the chance that ‘Rhett’s son’s eyes would be green like

Viz-Igerd’s. However, it was more likely that the desperately wanted child’s eyes would

be dark blue-gray like her own for the same reason that, for all his elaborate fertility

rituals and for all his alpha-male virility, Viz-Igerd was having such trouble getting her

pregnant.

 

Djinn genes were dominant. A Great Djinn male’s “smart semen” could impregnate a Volnoth female, but it didn’t work the other way round. It never had. It never would. Unhappily, Viz-Igerd’s machismo didn’t allow him to accept the scientific fact that his subspecies semen was incapable.

 

The timing would be less easy to explain, but—

 

War drum thunder rumbled. Artificial clouds of hallucinogenic smoke churned. Electra’s father, the god-Emperor, made his dramatic appearance and pronounced the traditional, menacing speech about incinerating conscientious objectors to the Mating in progress. The massed male-voice choir roared out the Mating Anthem. The great doors opened. Her heart thudded anew with irrational hope for a high-ranking late arrival, but

the doors had opened to admit Martia-Djulia’s Mate-to-be.

 

She looked again. Prince Djetthro-Jason was not alone. His tall supporter wore

white, with multiple, rounded catch-fabrics dotting a line along the breadth of his

shoulders and down his tapered sides. The noble aura was unmistakable.

 

‘Rhett!

 

Guests shifted in their seats. Garments and lips rustled like a sudden wind gust in

dry-season sword grass. Some exclaimed about the bearded Prince Djetthro-Jason’s

emaciated state and wondered where he had come from, and whether or not he’d been

tortured until he agreed to go through with this Mating.

 

Others whispered of ‘Rhett, “He looks like Tarrant-Arragon”; “Yet, he wears

white”; “Did you hear? He claims to be the Royal Saurian Djinn of prophecy!”

 

If word of that rash boast came to Tarrant-Arragon’s ears, ‘Rhett’s days as an

eligible stud would be cut short. Tarrant-Arragon did not tolerate potent rivals.

 

Was she already too late? Heart thudding, Electra assessed ‘Rhett’s gait, but she

could tell nothing about the state of his genitals from the effortless, self-assured grace and

economy with which he moved.

 

If I get to him in time, where could we go? How quickly could he do the deed?

She shifted her focus to the deep side vent in ‘Rhett’s tabard and tantalizing glimpses of

his long, lean thighs and tight, white-sheathed buttocks.

 

Would one time be enough? Appearances, even when the object of one’s interest

swung naked in full view, were no guide to how much potent exuberance…

 

Why is Martia-Djulia yowli—

 

Before Electra could discern what had caused her sister’s extraordinary outburst, the scrawny Prince Djetthro-Jason crumpled and flew backward. ‘Rhett sidestepped

gracefully, turning as he moved, so that his swiftly drawn sword was held out of the way

of flying limbs. Anyone who knew sword fighters—as she did—saw proof that ‘Rhett’s

sword was no decoration, and that ‘Rhett was an expert, elegant killer when he wanted to

be.

 

Possibly a look of gentle concern should replace one’s politely amused smile. Electra adjusted her expression, though no one was looking at her. All eyes were on the

scandalous bride, who apparently did not intend to be Mated to the poor specimen sprawled at her feet.

 

To read the rest of the Prologue visit http://www.rowenacherry.com/excerpts/excerpt_kf_1.php

 

To buy the book visit

http://tinyurl.com/Buy-KnightsFork

http://www.dorchesterpub.com/Dorch/productdetail.cfm?product_ID=2215&L1=2

 
 

 

 

 

Advertisements




David Lowery “Whiteboard” Comments on DOJ 100% PRO Licensing Proposal

22 11 2015

Source: David Lowery “Whiteboard” Comments on DOJ 100% PRO Licensing Proposal





Knight’s Fork – Video

21 12 2008




Excerpt from Knight’s Fork

15 10 2008

What is a Queen to do when the sperm donor of her dreams says no?

When forced to choose between two evils, pick the one you’ve never tried before….

The virtuous White Knight, ‘Rhett, is caught between a problem father who has all the moral integrity of a Mafia Don, and a married Princess who would stop at nothing to have his seed in her belly. No matter which way he turns, he’s “forked.”

KNIGHT’S FORK

Excerpt from Chapter Five
Pleasure Moon of Eurydyce
‘Rhett’s bedchamber

“Alienating a Mated female’s affections is the wrong thing to do in any civilized world,” he recited. “Where I grew up, a married man may sue his wife’s paramour and receive compensatory and punitive damages for ‘alienation of affections’ and ‘criminal conversation.’

“I do not expect you to alienate my affections!” Her whispered vehemence sounded a touch overdone. After all, she wouldn’t be there, in his bed, begging to have his baby if she didn’t find him attractive.

“Nevertheless, it could happen,” he insisted.

After all, any stud would warn a casual conquest that she would very likely fall in love with him and get her alley-cat heart broken. Did it matter that he was not the experienced, sexually sophisticated lover of her dreams? No, because she wasn’t going to find out.

“You think so?” she sneered.

“I do think so.”

Cocksure was the way to play it. He didn’t want her to like him. Nevertheless, he stopped short of questioning whether there was any genuine love and affection to be destroyed. Electra could not possibly love her bald, hairless, naked Volnoth King with his flashing, pop-up body parts and a surgically deformed warhand that could rip her throat out.

“How presumptuous of you. My affections are not an issue. My Mate needs an heir. He cannot sire one on me, and he cannot and will not admit it.”

“Are you sure of that?” He curled his lip, insulting her. The more she thrashed about for an acceptable reason to fool around, the more she brought out the latent predator in him.

“I need Djinn semen.”

“So I gathered.”

Do you realize the power I would have over you? Over Viz-Igerd? I could prove, any time I wanted to do so, that your baby was my get.

‘Rhett considered the temptation, and his head rejected it. On the other hand, she was gorgeous, hot, a goddess, she wanted to have his baby, she knew the risks, and yet still she was in his bed.

He was master here, in this place with his brothers and his father within earshot. He could do what he pleased, and she wouldn’t dare to cry out. She was his to punish. Who knows, he might learn something.

“Supposing I were to agree, let’s discuss delivery.”

#

“What is there to discuss?”

‘Rhett was being difficult on purpose. Electra understood that, and for once she did not know what to do about it.

Here they lay, together, on his bed, shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, whispering like lovers. He was naked, she was fully dressed, and yet she was the one who felt vulnerable despite her protection.

His arm was raised, holding hers, and the tantalizing scent of his pheromones made her want to bury her nose in the sensitive softness of his armpit and breathe in. His bare skin smelled of heady arousal, a recent washing, and of male. The dark centers of his cold, green eyes were large and unfathomable.

Either excitement, contempt, or anger flared his nostrils. He smiled a welcome, but showed his teeth in warning. The Moonstone’s light threw sinister shadows across his face.

“The Lovers were in my cards,” he murmured, as if this was the triumphant conclusion to an inner debate.

“I do not require a lover.”

“What if I do?” he murmured. “Tell me exactly what you expect.” As he spoke, his thumb caressed the soft skin on the inside of her forearm.

“I expect you to—” It was unexpectedly hard to say. When she’d decided to come here, she’d mentally rehearsed different versions of the same basic conversation. She’d thought of speaking in impersonal, clinical terms, of demanding his body fluids in the same way that royal gynecological faculty servants explained how Her Majesty should provide a urine sample.

But he was more than a delivery system.

She’d considered treating the entire process as an embarrassing practical joke, but jokes were ultimately shared, and what she wanted was a deadly serious matter. If she made a joke of it, he might share the joke with others or take his participation lightly. Or he might presume upon the connection and develop a delusion that they were intimately entwined.

“I expect you to ejaculate.”

“Mmmm. Here’s the problem. I am not the sexual equivalent of an espresso machine. I don’t ejaculate to order. How will you bring me to the point where I want to ejaculate?”

He is trying to humiliate me! Electra did not understand his comment about what kind of machine he was not. She did understand that he was angry about her choice of words.
“Perhaps you could touch yourself?” she suggested.

“Where?”

“Down there.”

“I could”—his sinfully beautiful lips curved into a wicked slow smile—”if I wanted to. How will you make me want to touch myself? ‘Down there’?”

Electra swallowed. With a shock of surprise, she noticed that her private parts had begun to pulse and snatch nothing, like the pelvic floor exercises one performed.

“I might touch myself,” she offered.

“Where? How?” he demanded.

“I might run my hands down my sides, if you let go of my arm.”

‘Rhett lifted one eyebrow at her.

“Masturbation is not like yawning, my dear.”

Electra blinked at him. “I do not understand you!”

“No? You do know what a yawn is?” He opened his mouth wide, and sighed aloud to demonstrate. “When an ordinary being without special powers sees another person yawn, the yawn is contagious. One yawn sets off a spontaneous and involuntary chain reaction of others’ yawns.”

He stroked a line from her armpit to her hipbone with one finger.

“You seem to think that, if you run your hands down your sides, I will be unable to stop myself from running my own hands down my own sides. Real men…and gods…don’t do that. Try again.”

“I might cup my breasts.” The instant she made the offer, she saw his eyes light up with malicious laughter—or lust—and she knew she’d made another bad choice.

“Now, why would you do that?” he purred.

“Wouldn’t that make you feel like touching yourself?” There was no going back, so she moved forward.

“No. It would make me feel like touching your breasts. If you were to lift your breasts in your hands, I would look on that as an offer. I would dip my head and lick and suck on your breasts. I might lick gently and suck hard. Or lick hard and suck gently. I’d take my time…a very long time. I’d play with your breasts with my mouth and with my hands until my tongue was tired and I’d run out of ways to make your nipples change shape and color and size and texture. That’s what I’d want to do. Soooo. Is that what you’d like me to do?”

“Absolutely not.”

Again, she’d said the wrong thing. He was the most difficult god she’d ever tried to talk to.

“Do you expect me to become sexually excited by watching you make a cynical gesture designed to manipulate my feelings, knowing full well that your breasts are not on offer?”

His voice shook, probably with outrage.

“Yes. No.”

“Then, I find myself unable to deliver.”

“I beg your pardon. I am unaccustomed to males who are not animals.” From a flicker in his eyes, she understood that bringing Viz-Igerd into bed with them was not a good idea. Prince Djarrhett would not be moved to ejaculate out of speciesism.

“I have heard that semen donors on other worlds find the necessary urge to release by looking at pictures and using their imaginations.…”

“I lack imagination.”

“Possibly we could hire one or two of the professionals in this establish—”

His raised eyebrow stopped her. “That would hardly be discreet,” he said dryly.

“Could I pay you to look at pictures until you find yourself…?”

“Paying me would cheapen things, wouldn’t it?” He smiled unpleasantly. “How much—in terms of currency—do you think it would take to send me into transports of sexual ecstasy?”

Electra saw the trap. Any sum, great or small, would be a body insult.

“In chess terms, you are forked with that one, my dear,” he crooned. “Let us go back to the beginning. Suppose you touch me?”

“Where?”

“Why waste time? Go for the operative part, just as you were doing when I woke up and intercepted your hand.” He still held her arm. Now, he shook it gently. “Imagine your fingers are wrapped round my joystick. Imagine your mouth…”

“Excuse me? Your what?”

“My joystick. My root of all evil. My shaft of all pleasures. My volcano of love. My magic mushroom that springs up in the dark. My full-boost vertical. My—”

“Do ridiculous sayings like this excite you, Prince Djarrhett?”

‘Rhett laughed softly and harshly.

“Not in the least. I leave exciting me to you. This is all your idea, so seduce me at your peril, if you can. I see no reason to help you, and every reason not to cooperate. Come now, you went to the Island School For Princesses, didn’t you? Surely you haven’t forgotten what they taught you in Concubinage class.”

She did remember, although it had been a long time ago, and she had left the school before her studies were complete.

“You are mocking me!” She tried to twist free. In all her controlled and public life, she had never felt so close to breaking down. “You are not taking this seriously.”

“It is a very bad idea, Your Majesty.”

#
As she fought, ‘Rhett was strongly tempted to kiss her inexpertly, perhaps roughly, to teach her a lesson she’d never forget. He could. She was in his power. With his free hand he could knead one of her lovely breasts until she gasped.

He could play the tough, heartless superimpregnator. She knew that he was Djinn. She only wanted him because of it, which was bloody insulting.

Rules, now. There must be “rules for a rake” that he should observe, were he—at this fork in his life—to take the broad, low road and to become a young, wicked, dangerous debaucher of lovely, virtuous females. Not that Electra could by any stretch of the imagination be called virtuous, and he would not be debauching her. The boot would be on the other leg. She would be taking his virginity…but he’d be damned if he’d let her know it, no matter how much of a turn-on it would be to be taken in hand by an Island School graduate who knew a lot about sex.

He would definitely formulate a code of conduct, because he enjoyed making rules. Making rules, like doing mental arithmetic, was an effective way of resisting the urge to do with his free hand exactly what she wanted him to do.

Rule One, then. Never sleep with a lady only once, especially in the case of an older lady. There would have to be a second occasion, shortly after the first, to prove that he was not after only one thing; also, to avoid leaving the lady with the impression that he’d found her too slow or too demanding in bed.

Electra was demanding. Delightfully so. She’d taken the lead and said what she wanted. Now what would she do? ‘Rhett smiled down at the furious lady sharing his pillow and thrashing wildly to escape. Or was she trying to get a leg up and over him? That reminded him.

Rider to Rule One. Having sex multiple times the first sleepover does not count as more than one “date.”

Rule Two. There had to be a Rule Two. The lady “comes” first? Ladies first, by whatever means necessary?

He considered that. Did a shameless, Royal adulteress—who was only there for the semen—count as a lady? On the other hand, where would be the power play, where would be the punishment, if she got what she wanted without having to put out?

If it took a lot of fumbling and prodding, and a great deal of experimentation on his part, what choice would she have? She could hardly laugh—or swear—at him, or she’d never have her wicked way.

Rule Three. The rest of the Nevers. Never wear a thong. Never kiss with a closed mouth, it’s ungodly. Never kiss with open eyes…unless she does. Never strike, force, or take advantage of a lady, even if she climbs into your bed of her own volition.

Ah, well. It was fun while it lasted.

‘Rhett opened his fingers and let her wrench free, leaving the next move up to her. She promptly fell off the bed.

“It was a very bad idea,” ‘Rhett repeated, as Electra exploded out of his room, and out of his life. “For both of us.”

He’d done the right thing…but it had been a close call.

Chapter Six

Pleasure Moon of Eurydyce
‘Rhett’s bedchamber

A wild thrill ran up and down his spine. By All That is Wondrous, he hadn’t really done anything wicked, but he felt magnificent. His rules weren’t doing the job at all.
Rule Six. A gentlemale does not allow a lady to leave his bedroom in tears. ‘Rhett threw off his silk sheet and sprang out of bed to go after her. I shouldn’t let her run around blinded by tears, even if she is hot, sexually experienced, and asking to be inseminated.
He was struggling into his tight, white breeches, when a gasp from the corridor, followed by a scuffling sound, made him snatch up his sword belt and rush barefoot to the doorway.
“Of all the Djinn groins…in all the towns…in All the Communicating Worlds…” An insolent drawl cut the silence.
All three of ‘Rhett’s older half-brothers shared Casablanca humor, but Devoron had always been the “gin joint” punster.
Damnation! Of all Djinn, she’s run into Devoron!
“…she throws herself onto ‘Rhett’s.” Devoron stood about twenty-five paces down the corridor, blocking Electra’s path. His sword was drawn. Electra was backing away, like a tiptoeing child playing Grandmother’s Footsteps in reverse motion.
“Onto ‘Rhett’s!” the lone twin repeated with exaggerated incredulity. He’d first spoken in English, but now switched to the Imperial language, High Court. Most puns did not translate, but the accompanying crotch grab-and-shake must have made it clear even to Electra that Devoron meant to belittle and offend.
“Drop it, Devoron!” ‘Rhett strode toward his half brother.
For reasons he couldn’t begin to explain to himself, he preferred that Electra not be told that he’d lost his saturniid glands and would never be sexually fixated on a scent love. He didn’t want her to know that she could ovulate in his company and he would not go into a week-long mating frenzy. He wanted her to believe that he was as dangerous to her as she was to him.
“She’s not rut-rageous, is she?” Devoron lifted his face and sniffed the air like a grizzly bear.
No way! Electra couldn’t have been so reckless as to come down from the relative safety of her Barge to the lawless Pleasure Moon in search of her notorious old Uncle Django-Ra at the time of the month when she could be rut-rageous. “She’s fully dressed, Devoron, for pity’s sake!”
He left it at that. The point was that he and Electra hadn’t done anything, however bad it looked to Devoron.
“You are not. Little brother.”
“Cease and desist. Don’t say another word. Or I’ll have to make you silent.”
“Go on! Make me! Kiss my thigh!” Devoron jeered.
In Earthling terms, thigh-kissing came somewhere between “Kiss my arse!” and “Kiss my feet!” In Imperial parlance, thigh-kissing was a gesture of sexual and political submission.
“Get away from here!” ‘Rhett told Electra as he shouldered past her and thrust her behind him. “Normally, he’s not like this.”
Nor am I!
‘Rhett unsheathed his sword with as much long, drawn-out menace as was possible with a ceremonial—and therefore relatively short—saber. He went into a ready crouch, knees flexed, core and thighs taut, with his left hand fisted on his hip and the twitching blade in his right hand…like a hunting cat’s tail just before the lethal pounce.
Out of respect for Aunt Tarra’s fixtures and fittings in the corridor, and to protect his own bare chest, he confined his sword movements to tiny, economical circles and little Zorro slashes as he advanced to within three sword’s lengths of Devoron.
“Are you sure you want this, Dev?” His pulse had begun to pound like a jackhammer. Mouth dry, belly tight, he was “in the zone,” seeing everything in slowed motion. “I’m serious. It’s not a game. If we fight, you will get hurt.”
‘Rhett and his brothers didn’t mess about. They could be nice guys, but they weren’t ritual Knights. They were warriors. If they fought, it was their job to maim and kill. They knew how. They had the skill and the will.
“Are you going to try to kill me this time?” Devoron taunted.
“This time?” He heard Electra gasp from the rear.
Devoron fixed his arrogant, blue-eyed gaze on a point behind and to the right of ‘Rhett’s shoulder. On Electra.
“Hasn’t ‘Rhett told you, Ma’am? He has a long and illustrious history of being a spoilsport when his elders and betters want sex.”





Insufficient Mating Material – Video

12 08 2007





Insufficient Mating Material — A heroine asking for trouble

27 05 2007

Insufficient Mating Material
“Be good…” they say. “And if you can’t be good, be careful!”

It must be almost impossible to be careful when all the worlds are watching all the time, and not always sympathetically.

Princesses and celebrities have everywoman’s problems, but their problems are magnified a hundredfold by the telephoto lens of public scrutiny. Everyone wants to know who they are seeing, what they are drinking, what they did in bed and with whom, whether or not they are pregnant…

A single alien princess might precipitate a constitutional crisis if an unflattering camera caught her just as a breeze was bellying out her bathing costume… especially if it was common knowledge that she’d slept with a foreign terrorist for kicks.

Princess Martia-Djulia has all the problems of a youngest child (the third child) but more so. It seems pointless to compete with her brilliant older brother and sister. Until senility overtakes them, they will always be older, wiser, better-read, more experienced, more athletic, more powerful.

In a world of feudal primogeniture, the older she gets, the lower her status. She is only interesting if she is scandalous.

Insufficient Mating Material’s heroine was introduced in FORCED MATE, where she got a great deal more than she bargained for when she flirted with a handsome –and most unsuitable– commoner.

She also went through her brother’s private “stuff” and got caught, did the gustatory equivalent of spiking the drinks at her brother’s wedding banquet, made a compromising video of herself in bed with a tattooed stranger, and fell hopelessly in love with a hunk who was honor-bound to marry someone else.

She makes her dramatic appearance in Insufficient Mating Material as the Royal bride at an Imperial shotgun wedding. As she surveys the throngs who have come to see her married to the mate of her dreams (who has miraculously been relieved of the fiancee he intended to marry and brought back to her) her happiness seems complete…

CHAPTER ONE

Never in all Great Djinn history has any Imperial Princess had such a Mating Ceremony on such short notice, and to a mate freely chosen by the Princess!

Princess Martia-Djulia savored her unique happiness. The second best part was that she was going to get away with it. By taking an alien and a commoner like Commander Jason to mate, she poked a defiant finger in the eye of Imperial tradition.

“You’re glowing,” her tall, grimly magnificent brother commented as he joined her on the raised throne-stage and offered her the support of his bent arm for the slow, gyring descent of the stage into the Throne Room below the Imperial suite.

“I’ve a lot to glow about,” Martia-Djulia retorted. She could have made a barbed remark about how Tarrant-Arragon had tricked his own cold, pale bride into saying the irrevocable Imperial Mating Vows, but she didn’t.

After all, Tarrant-Arragon had hunted down Commander Jason, and brought him back to her.

Her thoughts returned to her Jason who shared her taste for subversion and mischief-making. He was the Mate who would change her sad, lonely life; her boring, bottled-up life. He was her rescuer, her lover, her private hero, the warrior who made her feel young and beautiful, and who awed the Fewmet out of her insolent, uncontrollable sons.

He was the only male in all the forty-two gestates of her life who had ever given her an orgasm.

Martia-Djulia took a deep, happy breath as the last notes of the Fanfare Royal drifted up from the balconies of the Throne Room, and the Crown Prince’s throne stage —its stark, craggy contours pleasingly draped for the occasion in her favorite colors of dusk-sky mauve and midnight-purple— descended silently, like one of her brother’s deliberately placed chess pieces, only fortress-sized.

“I can hardly believe it,” she whispered to herself as she nodded graciously to the crowd below. “I’m about to be Mated to the only male who has the physical strength to pick me up and sweep me off my feet, and the desire to do so.”

Tarrant-Arragon lifted an eyebrow at her.

“Oh, when I think of Jason’s passion–” she said, “When I think of how violently he knocked the ceremonial headmask off an interfering Saurian Ambassador, and of the wicked, sexual insults he threw….”

“You liked that, didn’t you?” Tarrant-Arragon teased. “But, I hope you don’t expect your new Mate to pick you up, attack Saurian Ambassadors, and hurl sexual insults in front of our distinguished guests.”

Martia-Djulia took in the carefully orchestrated tableau where she stood on the stepped stage, waiting for Jason to make an entrance through one of the Throne Room’s soaring central portals.

What would he be thinking? Would he remember how they met at a Virgins’ Ball in this very Throne Room? Would he mentally undress her with his strange, dark-nebula eyes and notice that she looked better than he remembered?

Surely, even a fashion hawk like Jason would approve of her sense of style. For her second Mating, she could hardly usurp the pallor of a Royal Virgin bride. She had chosen the subtle, shifting colors of a fast-frozen sea, glittering with the palest, most precious gemstones aligned in all the right places for the most flattering effect.

“They all came back!” Martia-Djulia breathed, gazing out at the heads of state, ambassadors, military leaders, and subject royalty who had been hastily recalled, some before they had returned home after her brother’s nuptials.

“Of course,” Tarrant-Arragon murmured. “On occasions like this, no matter how lofty the ceiling, it is never high enough, is it?”

The pentagonal Throne Room shimmered with the warmth rising from the thronged guests. Massed body heat made the vast room a battleground of assorted perfumes and less intentional odors that only Djinn nostrils might identify.

Suddenly, Martia-Djulia was conscious of emerging mature notes from her own signature perfume.

“Tarrant-Arragon,” she whispered anxiously. “Did I overdo the Queen of the Night?”

“You seem to have put it absolutely everywhere,” he drawled, and grinned, confirming that his Djinn-sharp olfactory senses were as embarrassingly acute as those of a sea-predator.

“I’ll let Jason lick it off,” Martia-Djulia quipped brazening out her secret embarrassment.

“If he’s got any Djinn in him, he might find that joy a little overpowering,” Tarrant-Arragon said.

Martia-Djulia felt a vague, fleeting apprehension. Was it a certain enigmatic tone in her brother’s voice? Something wasn’t right. Tarrant-Arragon had once threatened to kill Commander Jason if her lover turned out to be of rogue Djinn lineage.

Why was Jason late?

Her anxious gaze searched the double avenues of ground-lighted, living trees which flanked the four grand entrances.

“Ah. The so delightful Henquist and Thor-quentin.” Tarrant-Arragon jerked his head to indicate the upper level balcony where her two tall sons leaned negligently on the elaborately carved stone balustrade. “They look pleased.”

Martia-Djulia smiled hopefully at her usually sullen, sulky sons, until she realized that Tarrant-Arragon was being ironic.

“Nervous?” Tarrant-Arragon asked mockingly.

Before she could retort, a loud fanfare made further conversation impossible. The pentagonal room vibrated with the thunder of massed war-drums. Colored plumes of scented smoke surged up and tumbled from the Imperial throne-space, reminiscent of an ultraviolet tinted, pyroclastic cloud. The Emperor’s throne-stage thrust up through the smoke like a coldly gleaming, ice-volcano rising out of a swirling fog.

Her father, The Emperor Djerrold Vulcan V, appeared to stroll on the pinkish-purple vapor trails, high above his guests. Martia-Djulia tried to imprint on her memory every detail of this splendid, dramatic illusion.

“Dear friends, welcome back,” the Emperor began with his customary, affable menace. “You are now here to witness the exchange of vows between my younger daughter and her new mate. Since The Princess Martia-Djulia is a widow, and a mother, and since this is her second marriage, there will —obviously— be no display of proofs of virginity.”
He pointed his Fire-Stone-Ringed forefinger around the room, his guests shrank in their seats, and he smiled tigrishly.

“There will come a point when my dear daughter will ask anyone who objects to her choice of mate to speak out. Anyone who dares to do so will be incinerated.”
Star-blue lightning sizzled and flashed from the Emperor’s finger. Regrettably, her father had flatly refused to even try to color-coordinate his laser ring’s fire for this one occasion.

“Out of consideration for your fellow guests’ nostrils,” Djerrold Vulcan V continued pleasantly, “I advise against any interference. Proceed!”

High above, another fanfare blared from long, deep-noted instruments. The massive central doors at the far end of the Imperial throne room opened.

“I kept my promise,” Tarrant-Arragon said quietly, “…to bring back Jason, if he agreed to come, or to find you a mate like your Commander Jason.”

She wasn’t paying attention, though it was an odd thing to say. Unseen, a massed male voice choir roared out the Mating Anthem… usually heard only once in a generation at the Mating of an Emperor or the Emperor’s male heir.

This, too, was her due. She’d been promised that her Mating would be as splendid as the one she had organized for her big brother. And so it was. Only prettier.

“Here he comes!” Martia-Djulia whispered, trembling.

A tall, broad-shouldered silhouette limped from the darkness beyond the doorway.
His beloved, scarred face was a shadowed, distant blur… but something wasn’t right. Had Tarrant-Arragon tortured and starved Commander Jason into agreeing to Mate with her?

“What is wrong with him?” she hissed accusingly. Time stretched out. A sense of creeping horror chilled her vitals. “You promised not to force him.”

Her thoughts raced back to three Imperatrix cycles ago.

She vividly remembered what they’d agreed, just before Tarrant-Arragon left to exact terrible revenge on the unknown villains who’d tried to assassinate him on his honeymoon.

I want him to be happy, she’d protested when Tarrant-Arragon caught her trying to erase compromising footage of Jason on top of her. Jason’s happiness hadn’t been on her mind when she triggered the surveillance systems.

Do you think he’d be happy with me if I force him to be my mate? she’d asked her brother, who had no scruples when it came to mate appropriation.

No, Tarrant-Arragon had bluntly told her, dashing any lingering hope that she could blackmail Jason into returning to her bed permanently.

At the Virgins’ Ball, Commander Jason had made it clear that he’d rather be searching the rim worlds for his errant mate-to-be, but he was on duty. Since he had to be at the Ball, he’d been in the mood for a revenge dock in any bay that would accommodate him.

Martia-Djulia had only wanted illicit excitement — until Jason gave her so much, she wanted him to do it for the rest of her life.

“Did you force him? Did you torture him?” Martia-Djulia demanded urgently.

“Not really,” her appalling brother replied.

Something was wrong. Martia-Djulia’s heart thumped. She clasped nervous hands to her glittering breast, and glared in an effort to get a better look at her promised Mate. At this distance, across the Throne Room, it was hard to tell…. Closer he came. Closer.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of Martia-Djulia.
Read her story in Insufficient Mating Material (available from amazon online, Blackwell, Tesco, Waterstone’s, WHSmith, and other fine stores)





Taxes, toothache, and colonoscopies

17 04 2007

Fictional alien heroes don’t have to worry about taxes, toothache, and scheduling colonoscopies.

I wonder if they should?

Nah! We don’t read Romance for everyday –or even annual– unpleasantnesses. We want escapism. But on the other hand….

Toothache would be an interesting twist in a vampire romance… I’ve suggested this to vamp-writing friends in the past. For myself, I don’t write about vampires. If I did, no doubt I’d be looking for horrible humor.

Imagine if a vampire went to a normal dentist! My dentist happens to be an attractive female. One could do quite a good riff on Red Riding Hood, with the big bad wolf (vampire) in the chair. The problem for the vampire is that it’s really hard to lunge from a reclining position. I suppose dentists’ chairs are a struggle to rise from for a good reason!

Usually, I suppose, one thinks of mad King Ludwig of Bavaria who did not go to the dentist, who had rotten teeth, and who may have been driven mad by his own dental pain. A vampire who needed a root filling in his canines would probably seek out softer food.

Taxes ought to be an issue in an Empire, oughtn’t they. In my Gods of Tigron trilogy, so far I haven’t dealt with monetary tribute. Virgins are sent to the Royal Side of the planet (which is really a moon) for the amusement of the Imperial family, which is a bit like the Graeco-Roman mythological habit of staking out virgins to appease ravenging dragons and sea monsters.

Colonoscopies…. Torture springs to mind, not to mention ritual humiliation.

On that happy thought, I’m diving back into preparing my handouts for the Romantic Times workshops, (I’m speaking on Swordsmen, Research, and newsletters) and also into arranging drive-by signings at Barnes and Noble stores as I pass through Fort Wayne, Avon Commons (Indianapolis), and points south on my way to Houston for the convention next week (April 22nd through 30th).

Best wishes,
Rowena

<a href=”http://www.rowenacherry.com”>Rowena Cherry</a>