This year I read a lot of wicked cool books (and some of them were truly naughty). I thoroughly enjoyed I Married a Billionaire by Melanie Marchande about a marriage of convenience with a billionaire.
I also went on a run of medieval romances, including Master of Craving by Karin Tabke, Heart of the Hawk by Elizabeth Mayne and my favorite of the year, Wicked by Jill Barnett.
I’m currently reading another Jill Barnett romance, Bewitching.
Have you read any wicked cool (or just wicked) books this year?
Two wayward souls from opposite sides of an intergalactic war find each other against all odds.
Captain Alara Nadrin leads an Alliance warship in battle. Above all else, the Alliance prizes military prowess, duty, and following orders. And Alara wants more than anything to make her father, the Admiral, proud of her but struggles when her conscience and her orders conflict.
Zarik of Thallor leads a refugee ship while carrying a holy relic to safety. His plans fall apart when Alara’s warship captures them, putting his people, his family and the relic in danger. He’ll do anything to protect them.
With war at stake, can Alara and Zarik choose love?
“I had an idea.” He paused. “What if you let me send a message to my people, telling them where the camp is? That way they could come get us as soon as you leave.”
She was silent for several seconds. “That might be possible. But you’d still need to make it look like you’d managed the communication through subterfuge, so if anyone found out, I wouldn’t be culpable.”
“That works for me. Let’s figure out how we can do it.”
“Would your military really spare a ship to come so far and get you?”
They would if they knew the Relic was on board. He would just need to retrieve it and somehow take it with him when the Alliance dropped them off. Then keep it safe from the pirates while they waited to be rescued.
As a plan, it wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t bad, either.
“I think so. If not the military, then a civilian ship. Our people take care of their own.” He immediately wished the last sentence back, but to his surprise, she didn’t bristle.
“Is your ship capable of sending such a transmission, or will you need access to ours?”
“Our ship can do it, if we can get to the bridge. We just need to know the location of the camp.”
She was quiet for some time. “In the Andaran sector. The planet Nevah.”
He swallowed. That was a desert planet. He’d heard of it, not because he knew so much about other worlds, but because it was notorious for being a killer. People joked that Nevah was worse than Hell. Nothing grew. There was no shade, just the beating sun and the dry dust. And pirates? The place was rife with pirates, because no one else wanted to go there.
This was where Alliance admirals thought babies should be sent.
“I’m sorry.” Her voice sounded muffled.
Zarik put his hand on her back. “You’re doing what you can for us. I appreciate that.”
“I never thought my people would do something like this. We stand for something. We—I thought we stood for something.”
He rubbed his thumb against the muscles along her spine. Just a little, to soothe her. “You’re doing the right thing now.”
“I hope it’s enough,” she said.
She looked so down, he couldn’t help himself. He gently pulled her into his arms and rested his cheek on the top of her head. She was so tiny. How could such a tiny woman be so strong?
“We shouldn’t,” she murmured, but she put her arms around him and didn’t move away.
He didn’t want to move away, either. She felt so good in his arms. Just right. And as soon as he moved, he’d have to remember she was someone he should never hold. And could never hold again.
She shifted, maybe pulling away, and he tightened his grip without thinking. He wasn’t ready, damn it.
“Zarik,” she said.
He dipped his head and kissed her. The kiss held the force of his frustration at liking someone he could never like, at having to let go of someone he didn’t want to let go of. After a moment, she tightened her arms around him and kissed him back.
If anything, that made it worse. He wasn’t alone; she liked him too. Now they’d both be lonely.