Excerpt Monday: Gambit

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Carina Press have bought GAMBIT *bounce*  To celebrate here’s a sneak peek at an unedited excerpt 😀

Living gold.  It’s a girl’s best friend…

Captain Haf Beyon has a craving for flesh.  Beautiful male flesh-pets grown in a vat, brought to life with alien tech and designed for one purpose: her pleasure.  She works as a runner, ferrying cargo for whoever stumps up the credit.  She also has no qualms about fleecing the unsuspecting rich who slum it on the streets of Ulan Bator.  It all feeds her addiction.

So it’s just another normal day on Arkhengai when one of her contacts points her in the direction of a man and his flesh-pet.  Another mark for her to hustle.  However, neither man is who he appears to be.  She’s kidnapped and offered a deal.  Three crates of black crystal to act as a decoy.  Her mercenary heart can’t resist the thought of such wealth.  What she doesn’t realise is how dangerous the mission will be.  From the outset, hired killers target her and she has only her newly unwrapped flesh-pet—the near-naked Daned Traern—as her protection.

Haf is dragged into a world of insane princes, mercenaries, hidebound tradition and sentient stones.  A world her mother had done everything in her power to protect her from.  A world made so much more dangerous by the man at her side.

Excerpt

Unedited (c) 2010 Kim Knox

“Captain?”

His voice, low and too close made her bite her bottom lip.  What was wrong with her?  Shit, had it been that long since she’d had a man not grown in a vat?  “I definitely couldn’t afford you.”

“And that’s a part of the decoy.  People will wonder where you got me?”

Haf willed her eyes to open and fixed her gaze on his collarbone.  Her hand dipped lower, skirting over his hip.  She’d wanted this, time alone and him buck naked, but hell, she was nervous.  Living gold bound deep, brought unimaginable bliss.  She swallowed and skimmed gold over his abdomen.

Daned’s chest hitched and he sucked in a quick breath.  “Captain…”

The title was almost a growl.  Her head snapped up and she held his fierce, dark gaze.  Her blood pounded in her ears and she ached to close the space between them, press herself up against his body and find out whether the rumours of bound gold were true.

“We’re living an illusion,” he murmured.  His head tilted.  “Remember this is just a job.”

“You’re bound to me.”  Need and nerves fired through her and she forced the tremor from her hand to guide the gold over the length of his erection.  A muscle jumped in his jaw.  He could say it was a job, but the tech woven into the gold had other plans for him.  “Living gold insists that your pleasure is my pleasure.”

A smile tugged at his mouth.  “Igasho metal can’t compare to the Ladaian coding in my blood.”

“Is that a dare?” she asked.  His smile curved into a wicked grin, one that had her moving closer, his bare skin so near the need to taste it burned on her tongue.  “Because you shouldn’t throw a dare in the face of a runner.”

Daned traced his index finger along her jaw, a feather light touch that forced the air from her lungs.  “Believe me, you’d know if a Traern found you of interest.”

“And this?”  She teased the blunt head of his cock with the thumb tip.  Gold flowed over him.  “What’s this if not interest?”

His gaze narrowed on her.  “A biological reaction.  My duty to the sunder-seld comes first.”

Haf smirked at him.  “Before you do?  That has to be inconvenient.”

“Finish this.”  His mouth pulled upwards into a bleak smile, but it didn’t soften his order.  “Please.”

“You’re no fun, Daned.”

“I know.”

Haf eased her hand away from his cock and pressed the gold over his other hip.  She ducked under his arm to stroke the warm gold across his buttocks and up over the lean strength of his back.  Haf closed her eyes against the feel of him under her palm, warm, satin-smooth, his skin taunting her, demanding that she trail hot, open-mouth kisses up his spine.  She held back a groan.  Damn it, this was not fair.

The length of gold met the first thread clinging to his shoulder.  Her palm held it there, its molten heat stinging her skin.  Daned didn’t flinch, even as Haf knew that the heat tore through the living gold to seal it to his flesh.

The gold cooled under her hand.  It was over.  Well, almost.  And the almost had her heart beating hard.  She wanted to sag against him, let her forehead fall against his shoulder, needing the reality of him to sink into her flesh, her soul.  Shit, she would come to hate living gold.  The upside was that when it was time to break the bond, her interest would die too.  Her gaze raked his back, enjoying the smooth play of muscles under cider brown skin far too much.  Yeah.  Right.  All interest would just…evaporate.  Not a chance.

Haf willed herself to take a step back.  “Done,” she said.

Daned turned to face her.  Wry humour shone in his eyes and, hell, he had to know how attractive it made him.  “Not quite.  The Igasho have their incantation, the activating phrase.”  He closed the space between them and his voice dropped, softened.  “I believe it’s ‘make me yours’.”

The words spiralled through her blood and beat heat into her face. Bastard.  Was he having fun at her expensive?  Haf lifted her chin and held his dark gaze.  “Living gold needs more to activate it.”

“Yes, I know.”  His finger traced a path along her jaw, the same lightness of touch that flicked fire under her skin.  “Is this enough?”

His mouth hovered over hers, his breath brushing warm over her lips.  Her heart beat loud in her ears and her fingers slid over the hard muscles in his forearms, gripping him, needing the contact to break her desire to take his mouth.  His skin burned under her palms.  “I don’t know.”  Her gaze focused on his lips.  They had to seal the bond with a kiss…and they both knew it.  “Is my pleasure your pleasure yet?”

His mouth quirked upwards.  “No.”

“How about now?”  The first slow brush of her lips over his hollowed her belly and sparked desire in her flesh.  He tasted warm, soft and the hint of strange spices urged her to change the kiss, to tease and play and the first chaste kiss melted into another and another.

Her tongue tip touched his and her fingers bit hard into the firm muscles in his forearms.  Damn it, since when did a simple kiss practically have her shaking? It was the gold.  The bloody stuff twisted her thoughts, her reactions, but didn’t stop her from deepening the contact, of stroking her tongue over his, savouring him.  She thought she moaned, a low, needy sound that seemed to fill her chest.  Somehow, it brought Daned closer, his soft, subtle mouth making her heart pound and curse the fact that too much clothing separated her from him.

Her fingers pushed up his arms, pressing herself against the hardness of his body.  “This is not enough.”  She groaned the words against his lips and drove him back into the edge of the table.  “Not nearly enough.”

For a timeless second she held his gaze, found heat and an unending darkness, just before his mouth and hands found her.  Her world span and her backside hit the table.  Daned was ruthless, demanding, everything she wanted, needed.  Haf clung to him, her fingers digging into the hard muscle of his arms.  The living gold seared through the thick fabric of her tunic, branding her skin, binding her to this man.  Heat coiled low in her belly.  The rub of his erection against her flesh danced sparks behind her eyes.  Almost.  She could almost taste the fire of her release—

Daned ripped his mouth from hers and stepped back.  He wiped the back of his hand across his mouth and his eyes narrowed on her.  “More than enough,” he muttered.

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