We are so close to re-release day for Trade Secrets! I have a special treat for you today. A nice, long excerpt! I hope you enjoy it—and I hope you love Trade Secrets!
Gwen turned toward them and said, “I’m really trusting you both. I hope you live up to that.”
The idea that she trusted him made warmth bloom in his chest.
“I swear to you, I will keep you safe,” Xan said.
Bandit let out a few chirruping meows and Cyan laughed.
Gwen looked in the direction of the sound. “What’s so funny?”
“Bandit says all will be well,” Cyan said, “And that he trusts people all the time when he lets them pick him up. He trusts them not to drop him.”
Gwen laughed, then brought the kitten to her face to kiss him between his ears. “You little cutie. How could anybody drop you?”
He began to purr, causing Gwen to laugh again. She managed to get her coat and boots on without having to put him down. She patted her pockets, then pulled out her keys.
Cyan activated her cloaking field, disappearing from view. Only the slightest wavering in the air let Xan know where she was.
“That is so cool,” Gwen said.
She opened the kitchen door and headed out into the wintry night air. Xan allowed some time for Cyan to exit, then followed, closing the door behind them. Gwen locked it, then smiled up at him.
“It’s this way,” Xan said, gesturing toward the front of the house.
He wished he could hold Gwen’s hand or lace their elbows together, but between their height difference and the way she was using both hands to hold and pet Bandit, that wouldn’t really work out. He settled for walking as close to her as he could without bumping into her as they headed toward the ship.
Xan loved how well Bandit and Gwen got along. Until now, Xan had been the sentient Bandit was closest to.
Xan was working up the courage to ask his commander, Marq, if perhaps Bandit could be his pet. The kitten’s mother, Meredith, was Marq’s own pet, but even with his spacious quarters, having four cats had to be too much.
Caring for Bandit would be a big responsibility, but Xan was up for it. He loved Bandit already, and couldn’t imagine life without his near-constant orange companion. Now, when Xan imagined himself on the Reckoning, he saw Gwen with them as well.
Xan shook off the thought. He was getting way ahead of himself.
Then again, with what he’d heard of the others’ pair-bonding, they had happened incredibly quickly. Sorca, the Coalition’s chief liaison with the Cygnians, had ended up married to her current bondmate within an hour of meeting him.
Most of the other bonds had been established within hours as well. Something about the pheromones of remarkably compatible couples rapidly elicited strong emotions. At least, that was the prevailing theory.
He glanced over at Gwen as they walked, wondering if she was feeling something similar toward him. She caught him looking, and smiled. A wave of self-consciousness hit him, and he looked away, letting out a nervous laugh.
He was really getting ahead of himself. Gwen knew almost nothing about their society. What would she think when she found out that he was considered a defective specimen?
He was way too tall. Too muscled, even though he thankfully wasn’t nearly as large as some of the other soldiers on his ship. His lack of bulk made it easier for him to navigate in some of the more cramped stations and ships he’d visited during his career.
His hair was too curly. It stood up on top of his head, no matter how he tried to slick it down like most Sadirian citizens did.
He couldn’t explain the math of the courses he plotted when he was at navigation, no matter how hard he studied the intricate formulae. But even so, he was the best pilot in the fleet.
The Coalition scientists who had engineered Xan had been completely baffled by his incredible reflexes and instinctive ability to fly any vessel they put him in after programming his mind with the navigational protocols—along with whatever other programming the High Council wanted in his brain.
How could he explain any of this to Gwen in a way that didn’t make him sound like what he was?
Catch up with the Cygnian 7 while you wait for Dorn to launch!
He never expected to find his soulmate.
Bound by a sacred oath, Lar has selflessly dedicated his life to place the needs of his crown prince above all others, including his own. Taking the oath was easy in his youth—with the population imbalance facing his people, there was no hope of Lar finding a soulmate. He never expected to be tempted to break his oath. But then he journeyed to Earth.
Sophie Myers doesn’t have time to heal from the trauma of alien abduction. Nor can she allow herself to be distracted by Lar, one of the giant blue warriors who rescued her. She has no time for romance now that a shapeshifting alien mercenary threatens her family. But when she discovers she wasn’t the only one taken, her only hope is to place her trust in Lar.
Their search for answers only turns up more questions—and uncovers a threat bigger than either could ever imagine. Will the temptation of their growing bond lead them to a new life together, or will it ultimately send them to their death?