by Marteeka KarlandWhen Astra meets a mysterious, handsome stranger at a ball in honor of her father’s honored guests, she lives in the moment. A lifetime of sheltering makes her reckless. The sexy stranger makes her long for something... more.
Unfortunately “more” leaves her in a delicate condition. And her handsome stranger turns out to be the very Prefect her father needs an alliance with.
Galen is taken with the beautiful daughter of the king. The alliance he came to form with this planet could rest with his ability to control his wayward feelings. Astra’s pull, however, is more than he wants to resist.
Now he just has to convince her family he’s the one for her...
Astra’s heart pounded, the intimate feeling unfamiliar but not unwelcome. The combined scents of the thick carpet of grasses under the coverlet, the night blooming wildflowers, and fresh sea air mingled with the wild, woodsy scent of the man with her were potent. She’d never been so drawn to a man. It was terrifying, yet exhilarating.
They lay there for a long while, Astra pointing out her favorite sights. The nearby nebula seemed to paint the sky in brilliant reds, blues, and purples. Why she kept talking to this man, this stranger, like she’d known him all her life, she didn’t know, but he seemed genuinely interested in the sights she showed him, asking questions and sharing his favorites with her.
A meteor streaked across the sky, followed closely by another. Then several more until the sky seemed dotted with shooting stars. With the colorful background of the nebula and the thin slivers of Stratan’s two moons as a backdrop, the sight was unexpectedly beautiful.
Astra’s breath caught. Several times a year, the skies opened up like this and showed off in a spectacular display. With this gorgeous man at her side, holding her as if they lay together like this every night watching the sky, the scene seemed amazingly intimate.
“Beautiful...” His voice was husky, low, a thread of something woven into the deep timbre of sound. When she turned to look at him, he wasn’t looking at the sky.
Then she was falling into him, seeking his lips with hers. He didn’t move, but she couldn’t seem to stop. At the first touch of his mouth on hers, Astra whimpered, trembling uncontrollably. Something inside her stretched, waking from a long slumber.
She lay half over him, kissing him tentatively, loving the feel of his lips moving under hers. His arms closed securely around her, but other than that, he let her lead the pace. Astra was grateful because this was the longest she’d ever been alone with a man not her relative. Overprotective men in her family made sure she was never alone with a man long enough for anything to happen. She was a princess, after all. She was expected to abstain from sex until she had committed her life to a proper match.
Most prospective mates wouldn’t care one way or the other, but there were a handful who would expect her to be untouched when she came to their wedding bed. One thing she knew for sure--after tonight, she would not be a virgin. She was giving herself to this man, for good or ill. The thing was, she couldn’t find it in herself to regret her decision. No guilt gnawed at her, no hesitation, other than her lack of experience, seized her. She wanted this with everything woman inside her.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” he asked gently, still kissing her between words. Astra whimpered, her need great, her body tingling and pulsing with every beat of her heart.
“I do,” she managed. “More than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life.” Her answer was more truthful than she’d have liked to admit, but there was no way to filter her responses. Her body had tuned itself to his and she didn’t even know his name.
She desperately wanted to ask, but doing so would mean she’d have to admit her name, and anyone would be able to figure out her royal heritage after that. Instead, she concentrated on pulling at his clothes, trying to get to warm skin.
He helped her remove her own clothing before rolling them over so she was beneath him. Astra thought he’d simply take her then, but she was oh, so very wrong. This man was definitely an expert at pleasuring a woman. There wasn’t an inch of her skin he didn’t claim. Even to the point of turning her on her stomach to let his lips roam over her back and buttocks before finally pulling her to her knees and nuzzling her cunt with his mouth.
Astra screamed, unable to check her responses. The sensation was somewhere between pleasure and tickling, his chin and cheeks, rough with stubble, scruffing over her tender skin. She arched her back instinctively, needing him to stop, not to stop. She wasn’t sure. All she knew was this was the most intense experience of her life, and they hadn’t even really done anything.