I love fall: the cool (but not cold) weather, the colorful leaves, pot roasts, Halloween, Thanksgiving. For me as an author, it’s been a great time too. Most of my significant erotic romance releases have occurred in September or October. It’s like I save the best for autumn.
This year is no exception. Warrior, the third and final book of the Breeder science fiction romance trilogy, will be published next month! (Breeder, the first book, was published last year in October).
In the Fall into Romance Hop, you can enter to win a Grand Prize of a $75 Amazon gift cert. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. In addition, I’m holding a drawing for two copies of Breeder, the first book of my series. All you have to do is read the excerpt, answer a quick question in the comments, and leave your email address so you can be contacted.
Please hop over to some of the other author’s blogs. They have great prizes too!
“Hold steady. Grip the stock from below with your left hand. Do not get in the way of the bolt.” Grogan stepped so close, his hardened manhood prodded Anika’s left flank. She gritted her teeth, and considered dropping her trigger finger to reach into her boot for Tara’s knitting needle.
Yes, hold steady now, Grogan.
“Line your target between the crosshairs.”
Target in sight. Anika closed her left eye and peered through the scope with her right at the life-size outline of a male sketched in soot on an unrolled parchment scroll tacked to a tree fifty meters away. Focused on the round smudge center torso.
Grogan pressed his stiffened manhood into the crease of her buttocks. “Squeeze…the trigger.”
Anika superimposed her instructor’s likeness onto the faceless target and discharged the bolt. The bow recoiled with a pop and released the arrow. With satisfying thunk it embedded in the tree beneath the target. Lowering her weapon, Anika stepped out of range of the alpha and strode to examine the result.
Right through the heart.
“Fair. For a female,” Grogan judged.
She compared her results—dead center—with Grogan’s. He’d missed the target completely, hitting it outside the outline. Perhaps the weight of his erection had unbalanced his shot.
She marched to the starting line with Grogan dogging her heels, flinging advice as wild as his aim. She shot better than every male of the Resistance, but walked a precarious path, awakening each morn to wonder if this would be the day she would fall prey to her compatriots. To Grogan who had singled her out for special training.
After leaving Marlix’s abode, she’d roamed the countryside for a week before she straggled into the militia group attempting to defeat Qalin and Artom using guerilla tactics. Their secret weapon?
Breeders. No one would suspect a female of being an armed fighter.
But her instructor saw no reason to abandon the old use for females. Thus far she’d dodged him, but her luck and his patience could not last much longer.
“Many females can hit the target, but few have the strength as you do to cock the bowstring. You are the best female shooter by far,” Grogan conceded, his praise falling short of recognizing her true ability.
“You have trained enough for one day. Let us retire to the camp,” Grogan said. “You may bring me the midday meal.” He peered at the sky. The star of Parseon hovered overhead, its heat barely reaching the atmosphere to edge the temperature over freezing. But the chill provided an excuse to layer on multiple articles of clothing. The inconvenience of removal had saved her on more than one occasion. Still, a clothing barrier offered scant protection. Some males—Grogan—viewed impediments as a challenge.
“I feel as though I need more practice.” She peered at him from beneath downcast lashes and slumped her shoulders in a pretense of self-effacement. “May I please try one more time?”
Usually the number of people milling around afforded opportunity to avoid or divert him.
But today, the alphas had formed two teams and split up, one group hunting for small game, another sent on reconnaissance. The females had been ordered to forage for whatever they could find to replenish the dwindling food stores. Only she—by Grogan’s command—remained in camp.
She jabbed the crossbow nose down onto the ground and stepped on the metal cocking stirrup.
“You have practiced enough for one day.” Temper edged his voice.
Anika pulled back the bowstring until it locked, extracted a bolt from the quiver and slipped it into the flight groove. Cocked and loaded, the crossbow had to be fired for it was too dangerous to leave a loaded weapon lying about. A bump or a jolt could discharge the projectile. She raised the crossbow to shoulder height, slipped her finger off the metal guard, and caressed the trigger.
“Did you hear what I said?” Grogan’s tone sharpened. “Look at me when I speak to you!”
She snapped a sharp pivot. Through the scope, the crosshairs formed a perfect X on his chest.
His eyes bulged in alarm, and he stumbled over his feet.
Even Grogan could not fail to hit a target at such close range.
“I heard what you said,” Anika replied before turning to the parchment target and pulling the trigger. Th-th-thunk! Her bolt landed next to the previous one. Dead center. Again. She lowered the weapon.
Grogan seized her arm in a bruising grip, and yanked her around to face him. “Never point a loaded weapon at me! Do you understand?” He shook her.
Anika took stock of her instructor’s reddening complexion, the slight tremor of his body, the decreased bulge in his uniform pants. Satisfaction swelled, but she bowed her head. “I apologize, alpha. When you ordered me to look at you, I had no thought but to obey.”
Stars exploded under the impact of his fist. She would have fallen, except he caught her. He punched her again. That blow did knock her off her feet. She hit the frozen ground hard, and air whooshed from her lungs. Pain radiated from her left cheekbone as if the zygoma had been shattered. Grogan struck out with his foot, but she expected the kick, and rolled so his boot only kissed her ribs. Her crossbow lay several meters away where it had flown out of her grip.
Grogan followed her gaze with a slight motion as if lunge for the weapon. A blur streaked in her periphery seconds before Grogan toppled onto his back, tackled by a large male wearing a dirty uniform. One of Qalin’s guards?
Anika could not see the attacker’s face, only Grogan’s as the larger alpha rained a barrage of merciless blows upon it. Bones crunched. His nose shattered in a spray of blood.
Had the camp been occupied, Grogan’s screams would have brought defenders, but only she remained. Would she be the next victim?
Anika scrambled for her crossbow. The limb on the front had been dented. The scope misaligned. How would she sight it? Fire it? Would her bolt veer off? In a panic, she required three tries to cock it. She fumbled an arrow into the groove.
Grogan had fallen silent, unmoving. The attack had been too sudden, too vicious to defend.
The assailant rose to his feet.
With trembling hands, Anika lifted the crossbow as the attacker turned.
Question: what should Anika do now?
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