After a reader complained in a review that my box set was poorly edited, I went back an re-edited almost 1500 pages with Grammarly©. This was after I had edited and proofed each book in the series up to six times.
Just to be clear, I am an author and publisher, editor, proof reader, and marketer. After several years and dozens of rejection slips, I gave up ever getting my two books published traditionally. Then, I got a Kindle because I love to read almost as much as I love to write. I also have a small house and nowhere to store the 400+ books I now have on my Kindle.
Even more exciting than that, I discovered KDP – Kindle Direct Publishing! Soon after that, I published The Aledan Psion with a truly horrible cover. It barely sold until a fellow writer helped me rebrand the series with all new covers.
Last year, I sold 700 copies, 248,904 pages read in KU and gave away 5349 copies of 7 titles for a total of $2,123. Then, I had to pay a self employment tax on that. Obviously, I am not getting rich.
I’m in a “catch 22” situation. I’ve had readers complain about editing in their reviews—been told to get an editor. While I would probably sell more books if the editing were better, I don’t make enough money to pay for even a low priced copy editor. It would cost several hundred dollars per book.
So, against professional advice, I self edit by editing tools like Grammarly© and Pro Writing Aid© in addition to a text to voice program that reads the manuscript aloud while I follow along. It lets me hear typos or missing words that I might not see. I calculated the cost of a copy editor for the 1500+ pages in the box set at: $4,500.
None of it is fool proof. This is why my books are generally priced at $2.99 and available in KU. The box set is only $3.99 for all 6 books and the prequel. However, if you find too many mistakes that detract from your reading experience, my email address is in every book. Let me know and I will review it and send you a corrected copy FREE.
Anyone who sends me a list of errors and their locations will get the choice of a free ebook on my list. If you aren’t sure you will like the story, The Aledan PSION is free on Amazon in the US and Smashwords elsewhere.
I am always happy to get a new read from T.J. Quinn because I know it will be a good story, and Luciana’s Warriors is a good story.
I read Captain Lucas Jarcor and Jarcor Returns before I read Luciana’s story. Luciana is Lucas Jarcor’s daughter, and she has inherited some of her father’s cyborg traits. She is now captain of her own ship. Her crew members are offspring of other cyborgs that grew up with her. Her self-proclaimed mission is rescuing beings forced into slavery.
A mysterious client paid her to rescue four Mandalarian Warriors imprisoned on Anuit. That planet is a world of Amazonian warrior women. They capture compatible males and milk them of their sperm to procreate by artificial insemination. But with Mandalarians it doesn’t work. They can only give their sperm the old-fashioned way. Once they fulfill that purpose, the Anuits will sell them as slaves off world.
Luciana arrives early to convince the Anuit leader to sell these four hot young warriors to her for her harem. The Anuit leader calls her bluff. Luciana must prove she can handle being dominated by these four sexy warriors. She accepts the challenge to submit to their sexual desires. (Warning: If you are not into explicit sex scenes, this book may not be for you.)
There is a lot more going on here than just a naughty sex-filled romp. I liked the characters, the world building, and the happy ending that left room for more adventures.
I loved it, and if I were to review it on Amazon, I would give it 5 stars.
As a beta reader, I already hashed things out on what I liked and didn’t. Since we’ve shared a byline occasionally, I only review T.J.’s books on my website. Don’t just take my word click on the link, and use the look inside feature. Luciana’s Warriors is also available on Kindle Unlimited.
Find all of T.J. Quinn’s books at AMAZON
About two years ago I started doing beta reads for T. J. Quinn first for the Drogon Series and later the Cyborgs Reborn Series. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed all her books, though the Cyborgs Reborn Series is my personal favorite.
The series starts with Captain Lucas Jarcor, a soldier with devastating injuries to his legs. Doctors told them they had to be amputated. However, if he agrees, they can rebuild build them with some new technology. Understandably, Jarcor is eager have them do it if it means he can keep his legs and walk again.
What they don’t tell him is that the changing into a cyborg will strip him of his legal status as a human being, and his military rank. He became government property, in essence, a slave. All of the cyborgs are made from enhanced human embryos, but with the means for the military to control them through their cybernetics. Though biologically human, they were used as slaves to fight a war against alien invaders.
Jarcor decides to play along while he figures things out before he makes his escape. While he is out free, he meets Sabrina, and they fall in love. But Jarcor can’t stay he has much to do to free the other cyborgs.
The prequel ends in a bit of a cliff hanger, but Jarcor’s work to help the other cyborgs is a recurring theme throughout the series. He paves the way for other cyborgs to escape.
As I read through the Cyborg Reborn Series, I discovered that T.J. came up with things I hadn’t thought of even as I was preparing to start my own cyborg series. Her writing style is a little different than other writers, but every story I’ve read from her list has pulled me in with the characters, plot, and world building.
Because we work together on some projects and beta read others, I never review her books on Amazon. Since I blog about other authors, I decided it was time to speak up.
T.J. Quinn is a superb storyteller. If you haven’t read her books, now would be a good time to begin. Since her new book is a spin-off of the Cyborgs Reborn series, that would be a good place to start.
Find all of T.J. Quinn’s books at AMAZON
The following is an excerpt:
Jarcor has nearly finished healing from the procedures to restore his legs and he wanted to try them out before the medical team deemed him ready.
He was trying some martial arts kicks when the door was opened, and a startled nurse entered. “Hey, what are you doing? You aren’t supposed to be out of bed,” she cried out, running to meet him.
He stopped her, raising his hand. “I’m fine. I haven’t felt this good in a long time,” he assured her.
“Where’s the doctor? I want to talk to him.”
“I’ll go get him.” She turned around and left the room.
Jarcor chuckled and walked towards the window. It was around midday, the sun shining.
“Jarcor, you shouldn’t be out of bed,” doctor number one said, as he entered the room.
“Doctor. I don’t think I heard your name,” he replied, ignoring the doctor’s words.
“I’m Dr. Masterson. It’s too soon for you to be out of bed,” the man answered, with a deep frown.
Jarcor only listened to his name. Immediately, a lot of information filled in his mind about the man. His full name, his curriculum, his family members and a lot more. He had no idea where it came from and he was confident he hadn’t met the man before.
Something was wrong. “I’m fine,” he cut the man with a cold tone. “Would you care to tell me what exactly you did to me, while I was out?”
The man cleared his throat, distinctly uncomfortable. “Your legs are fully recovered, as you can see─”
“I’m not talking about my legs and you know that,” he pointed out, in a stern tone.
“When we realized the Nanocybots were working perfectly on your body, healing your wounds and recovering your bones with their special metal alloy, we decided to take the next step forward and add a few intelligence chips to your brain. We figured the Nanocybots would quickly integrate them into your brain, as they do on the cyborgs we create on our labs,” he explained.
“I don’t remember giving you permission to play games with my brain,” he said, trying to keep his anger at bay.
“The papers you signed gave us permission to do whatever we saw fit to restore your body, and that’s exactly what we did,” the man retorted, in a firm tone, as if reciting a rehearsed speech.
“We both know I wasn’t able to read those papers.”
The man shrugged. “That’s irrelevant,” he dismissed his complaints. “Right now, all I want to know is how you feel? How are your senses working?”
For a moment, Jarcor considered not answering the man’s questions but it was a pointless battle. He had to act carefully around those people, at least, until he knew how much they had changed him and how that affected him.
“At first, I felt a bit dizzy and a lot of unwanted information keeps coming to my mind, like the fact you’ve been married three times by now,” he replied, in a scornful tone, enjoying the man’s fluster.
“You’ll be able to control that with time, as well as all the improvements we’ve made to your body.”
“Like what?” he asked, frowning.
“Just some minor details you’ll discover in time.”
Jarcor nodded, not very pleased with the man’s answers. “When will I be able to go home?”
“I know you feel fine, right now, but I need you to stay a few more days, while we test all the improvements made to your body.”
“How long will that take?”
“We can’t tell for sure. We need to be certain you’re perfectly alright before we send you back to the battlefield. While you were unconscious, the Taucets landed on our planet. We need to get you back out there, to lead the other cyborgs and fight these aliens off our planet.”
“Other cyborgs? Are they ready for the battlefield? And why do you include me in that group?” Jarcor asked suspiciously, tensing his body.
The man cleared his throat once more, wiping the sweat from his forehead. “After all the improvements we made to you, you have been redefined as a cyborg,” he explained.
“Meaning?” he asked in a threatening tone.
“You are now the property of the United Nations Political Organization.”
For a moment, Jarcor was so surprised, he couldn’t move. Had they turned him into a war machine? Who the hell permitted that?
“You had no permission to do that. All we discussed was healing my legs, nothing else,” he growled through gritted teeth.
“Did you honestly expect them to spend such expensive technology on you for free? I’m sure you’re not that naïve, Jarcor,” mocked Dr. Masterson.
Jarcor pursed his lips and frowned. He had never expected anything for free, but he sure as hell hadn’t expected to have his life and his identity taken away from him. “I’m a human being…” he yelled, but he could see it was no use.
“Not anymore. It’s better for you to accept your new life and start acting as is expected of you. Otherwise, life will become very hard for you.” There was a definite warning in the man’s words and ignoring it wouldn’t be a smart move.
“So, now I’m your lab rat?” he asked, oozing scorn.
“If you’d like to think of yourself like that, I guess it’s a suitable description.”
Masterson nodded and left the room, returning only a few minutes later with the same men that had convinced him to allow them to play with his life. During the following hours, they interrogated him exhaustively and put him through a lot of tests, until they were satisfied.
“We’ll send you to the training camp tomorrow. We don’t have time to waste and we need all the help we can get to defeat the Taucets,” General Smithson told him. He had joined the group interrogating him a couple of hours ago.
“What if I refuse?” Jarcor asked with a very calm tone, considering all the rage boiling inside him.
“That’s no longer your prerogative. You have been programmed to follow orders,” General Smithson explained. “Even if you managed to circumvent those orders, you wouldn’t get far. We’ve installed tracking devices in you that will allow us to find you faster than you can blink.”
“How many men like me were fooled into this trap?”
The Doctor sighed, impatient. “You are the first one we’ve transformed, but depending on your results, I’m sure there will be many more,” the man replied in a cold tone. “Besides, we didn’t fool you. We saved you from a dreadful future. You should be on your brand-new knees thanking us,” he snarled at Jarcor.
“I’m afraid having my freedom and life taken away from me doesn’t make me very thankful,” Jarcor retorted.
“Nonsense. You had no life left,” the general insisted in a vain attempt to make Jarcor believe in his words.
Jarcor remained silent and the general finally gave up. “I’ll see you tomorrow at the training camp,” he said before he left Jarcor’s room.
The other men followed the general and Jarcor was left alone with Dr. Masterson.
“Do you think this is ethical? Fooling wounded men to accept false hope and then stealing their lives away from them?” he asked the man, his voice deadly.
“I’m not here to judge. I’m paid to do my job and that’s exactly what I do,” the man replied, not showing a hint of regret or shame, as if he couldn’t care less.
Jarcor shook his head and walked towards the window, silently inviting the other man to leave his room.
Captain Lucas Jarcor copyright 2018 by T.J. Quinn
Haven 1: Ascend by Sandra R. Neeley (Blurb)
Command Warship 1 is home to one of the most feared males in the multi-verse. Zha Quin Tha is Sire to his people, next in line to the throne. He rules his military with an iron hand. His people, the Cruestaci, are a warrior race who bow to no one and no thing. They’ve been deemed too violent to be an ally by the Unified Consortium Defense — the organization responsible for keeping peace between all peoples and worlds. Zha Quin didn’t care what their opinion was. He was only violent when necessary — like when provoked, or if his planet was threatened, or a weaker people overrun, or he was just irritated in general. Like now, slavers had crossed into the territory of Cruestace. He’d been called in to intercept and process the kidnapped women on board to the Consortium for return to their home worlds. Little did he know, his whole existence was about to be turned upside down. One little, human female was about to teach him a thing or two about survival, patience, and trust.
One large room — every wall, the entire floor, even the ceiling covered in mats. This is now Vivian’s home. Her world extends no further than the end of the chain that keeps her anchored in the center of the room. She’s learned how to use that chain as a weapon. She had to — her captors find great sport in taunting her, abusing her, hurting her. She’s exhausted, nearly starved, injured and if truth be told — not long for this world, whatever the hell world it is. All she’s got left is her pride, and she’ll be damned if she gives that up to any of her alien captors. They want to play — she’ll play — and she’ll make sure they pay for it in bruises and pain the next day. They may win, but they’ll think twice next time. Days run together, no hope of ever being freed. Survival seems pointless, until she finds herself face to face with the largest, scariest male she’s ever seen. So be it — she’s got nothing to lose — she’ll fight him, too. Maybe this time her misery will finally come to an end. She has no idea this male is different. This male is stronger than the rest. This male will be her Haven.
Warning: Intended for mature audiences. This book contains violence, abuse both real and inferred, and sexual situations that may be disturbing for some readers. If you are offended by these subjects, please do not buy this book.
This book held my interest from start to finish and I quickly became invested in the main characters, the story, and the world building. There were many times throughout the book, I found myself thinking ‘this is so good’! The writing was excellent and I could hardly put the Kindle down. I loved Kitty and the way Quin indulged Vivian and treated her with love and concern. The fact that he was much older than Vivian didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the story.
When you are reading science fiction or fantasy, fiction of any kind really, the reader needs to make a willing suspension of disbelief at times to buy into the story. My pet peeves with alien romances include seven foot aliens mating with “tiny” females barely over five feet. Then there are the horns. How does a guy with horns sticking out past the back of his head lay down or sleep? Yet in the story Quinn does indeed lay on his back in bed with Vivian on top of him. Did that stop me from enjoying the story? Absolutely not! I made a simple suspension of disbelief. To me, the story was that good.
As a writer and indie author, there were many times that I wished that I had written something this good. While some of the critical reviews found the characters one dimensional, I found them just the opposite, because Ms. Neeley did the one thing that writers are always told to do—show by their actions and what they say rather than tell.
This is my first read by this author, and I will be looking at some of her other works as well. I am looking forward to more of this series as well.
I have been collaborating with Clarissa Lake for some time now, and having finished my Aledan Series, I am turning over the Cyborg Awakening Series to her as lead writer. I will have input on the story line and work one edits.
2019 marks my third year of retirement. Since my most prominent memories of 2018 were of a lot of work, I’ve decided to cut back this year and take time to enjoy other things.
I will take the time to read other authors’ science fiction romance and blog reviews on my new website http://christinemyers.authors.zone. I will also be doing ARC reads and some Beta reading and perhaps publish some shorter works based on my current series.
I will only be sending out my newsletter once a month with all other updates my website and social media.
In an attempt to expand interest in my Aledan Series and hopefully gain some more positive reviews, I am offering free E-copies of Psion Factor January 4-5.
To read the complete January Newsletter CLICK HERE
I read this book in one day because it was well written, steamy with some delightful twists I didn’t see coming. Do not read this book it you are offended by explicit sex scenes with a bit of discipline.
However, there is more than that to the story. I am not going to summarize the plot here or give spoilers.
The aliens were different and interesting and the “anti”hero finds his heart and is forever changed. A very sexy tale, well crafted and well written. I will be looking at this author’s other works. I read this book in Kindle Unlimited and highly recommend it.
Captive (Nikhiza Pirates Book 1) Kindle Edition
He stole me for someone else. Now he wants me for himself.
I was on Earth. Doing my job, living my life. Next thing I know, I’m up on the auction block being sold to the highest bidder like I’m some kind of broodmare.
That’s when he comes for me. He’s massive. Powerful. Alien. And there’s nothing good in those dark eyes of his–especially when they’re filled with a fire that heats me to my core.
He’s being paid to break me; to punish me and get me used to submitting. But every time he draws pleasure from my willing body, I can tell he wants to keep me for himself.
And with the things he does to me, the dark desires he brings out in me… I want to be his, too.
Content Warning: Captive includes disturbing content that may be offensive to some readers.
Ice Princess Preview
“Are you, aware tonight is the annual event?” his mother asked the moment he stepped into her private chambers, a deep frown marking her otherwise flawless forehead.
Queen Mayala used most of her spare time making sure time didn’t leave its prints on her and the rest of the time trying to get some sense into her son’s head.
“Yes, mother, I’m well aware of that,” he sighed brushing his fingers through his white hair, as he walked straight to the window. “Once more, I’ll have to go through the torture of being introduced to dozens of baby girls that will either cry or puke on me… I couldn’t be more thrilled!” he assured her in a sarcastic tone.
“I’m sure I don’t have to remind you just how important this is. You need to find your soul mate or your father’s lineage will end with him,” she said, getting up from the chair she was sitting on and closing distance between them. “Despite your rebellion to our traditions, I know you would hate to see your uncle take your father’s place.”
Zorban sighed and turned to face his mother. “Of course, I would. Father should have changed this stupid rule a long time ago,” he grumbled.
The woman cradled his face. “You know he can’t. Your uncle would take that opportunity to turn the council against your father, and only the gods know what might come out of that,” Queen Mayala pointed out. “Once you’ve found the one, you won’t have to go through these events, and you’ll have time to enjoy your life while your bride grows to be your queen.”
Zorban turned his face to kiss his mother’s hand. “Then, pray I find her tonight.”
“You will, I’m sure of it.” She leaned closer and kissed her son’s face. “Now, please, go and get ready for the party,” she asked him, hustling him out of her chambers.
“Please, don’t be late,” she warned him. “Your father hates it when you’re late.”
“Yes, mother, I won’t be late.” He walked out and went straight to his own chambers. Krad, his best friend, was already there waiting for him.
“So, did your mother give you the usual speech?” he asked him as he entered the room.
They had been friends since they were babies and there was little Krad didn’t know about Zorban.
“Yes, she did. I know she’s worried. My father found her in his second event. This is my tenth, so I guess she has reasons to be worried,” he granted his mother, walking straight to a small table and grabbing a glass of his favorite juice from it. His assistant made sure he had it there at all times. “I still hate to have to attend it, but I also know I don’t have a choice,” he accepted, after taking a long sip of his cold drink.
“With luck, you’ll find her tonight,” his friend said, trying to cheer him up, as he jumped out of the chair where he was sitting.
“I really would love that. I know it would put a deadline on my freedom, but at least, I wouldn’t have to go through this every year,” Zorban admitted.
“And it would kill your uncle’s expectations of ever taking your father’s place.”
“Exactly. We all know that would be a total disaster. Of course, if my parents had had more children, I wouldn’t be going through this hell,” he pointed out.
“I’ve always felt suspicious about your mother’s accident,” Krad confessed. “It was way too convenient to your uncle’s plans.”
“I know, and my father always suspected he was behind it, but he is too careful to leave any evidence behind. We were never able to connect him or any of his men to the accident,” Zorban explained.
His mother’s accident, a few weeks after she gave birth to him, had prevented her from having other children, increasing his uncle’s ambitions to take over the throne.
“Well, if you find your soul mate tonight, you’ll finally get rid of your uncle,” Krad said, patting his friend’s back.
But Zorban shook his head. “He won’t give up that fast. A lot of things can happen in eighteen solar rotations, and though the baby girl and her family will be under our protection, I’m sure my uncle will do all in his power for me not to mate her,” Zorban voiced his biggest fear.
He knew his uncle wouldn’t kill the girl. Once a soul mate died, the other was free to find a new one. The Thalians lived too long lives to live them alone. But as long as his soul mate was alive, he couldn’t mate another one, and only a mated male could take the Thalian throne.
“You know you can count on my men and me to protect her,” Krad told him. He was one of the king’s generals, and Zorban had no doubt of his loyalty.
“Yes, I know, and I’m sure we’ll need all the protection you can provide,” Zorban assured his friend. He finished his drink and headed to the bathing room. “I better get ready to find her first,” he said, with a scowl, as he walked out of the room.
The ballroom was crowded. A hundred families had been invited, and they were all there. Every Thalian mother’s dream was to have her daughter chosen by the crown prince. They knew fate was the one making the decision, but that didn’t stop them from trying to make their babies more attractive.
Zorban was standing next to the throne with his parents waiting for the ceremony to start. They were waiting for all the guests to be there so they could begin.
“How many baby girls are here this year?” Zorban asked his mother, guessing he would have a very long night.
She gave him a wavering smile that betrayed her nervousness. “One hundred. I believe it’s a record.”
“Perhaps, that means you’ll finally find the one,” his father pointed out, in a stern tone, while he looked at where his brother stood with all his family.
Unlike the king, his brother had a very large family, with seven sons and four daughters. Fortunately, none of his girls had been Zorban’s soul mate.
“Yes, that would be a relief for all of us,” Zorban admitted, feeling a bit restless that night as if sensing something he couldn’t quite identify. “So, what am I supposed to feel when I’m introduced to the one?” he asked his mother, as he did every year.
The whole ceremony had always felt a bit fantastic and unreal, but his father always told him he would know the minute he laid his eyes on the girl.
“You’ll know she’s the one. Your heart and soul will tell you without a doubt you’ve found the one meant to share the rest of your lifetime,” his mother said, as she always did.
“Our people should learn a bit more about romance and the pleasure of conquering your soul mate,” he said, with a scowl. Having traveled around the galaxy, he knew not all people chose their mates the way his people did.
His father frowned at his comment. “I guess it takes the excitement from the courtship, but believe me, you won’t want anyone else, once you’ve met her,” he assured him.
“Your majesty, we’re ready to start,” his father’s prime councilor informed the king, and he nodded.
Zorban took a deep breath and prepared himself to go through another harsh night. However, as the line grew shorter, his restlessness grew stronger. Something was different that night, he could feel it, but he had no idea what it was.
Taking a deep breath, he raised his eyes above the couple standing in front of him and his parents and allowed his eyes to peruse the people still waiting in line as if looking for something.
A loud giggle made his heart stop for a second and his eyes went straight to the little girl that had escaped her mother’s grip and rushed to the middle of the room with wavering steps. She looked like a little angel, in her white dress, adorned with tiny, light pink flowers, the same ones she had on her almost white curls.
Before he knew what he was doing, Zorban had rushed to where she was, picking her up into his arms just before she stumbled to the floor. The little girl let out a small cry that went silent the minute she looked into the eyes of her savior. After a few moments, she let out a shy chuckle before she cradled his face with her little hands, mesmerized with him.
Zorban had to take a few deep breaths before he could make himself take his eyes off the little girl he was still holding in his arms.
The girl’s mother was standing next to him, clearly embarrassed by the situation.
“I’m terribly sorry, your highness… ever since she learned to walk… it’s impossible to keep her still…” the woman mumbled, still unaware of what had happened.
“What’s her name?” he asked her, turning his eyes to the little girl once more. He was able to see his parents rushing to where he was, but it didn’t surprise him.
“Her name is Leena, your highness,” the girl’s father replied, stepping next to his family. “We didn’t mean to disrupt the ceremony…” the man started saying, but the king interrupted him.
“There’s no need for apologies. I believe they were both impatient to meet each other,” the king said, with a faint smile, looking at his son. “Isn’t that right, Zorban?”
The little girl wrapped her arms around Zorban’s neck and rested her head on his broad shoulder, knowing instinctively she was where she belonged.
Zorban looked at his father and nodded. “Yes, father.” He had found his soul mate. Just as his mother had told him, his heart and his soul told him without a doubt he had found her.
His mother let out a small cry of happiness, and the whole room went silent.
“Is she your soul mate, Zorban?” the king asked his son, with a broad smile, wanting to hear it out loud.
“Yes, father, Leena is my soul mate,” he announced with a firm tone and after another moment of astounded silence, the whole room cheered at the news.
The prince had found his soul mate.
A few minutes later, after the cheering and wishes of eternal happiness, they were finally able to go to a more private room with Leena’s family.
Zorban still had her in his arms, and the little girl had fallen asleep. A fierce protective instinct rushed through his veins, and he had little desire to return her to her parents.
“We haven’t been properly introduced,” the queen pointed out. “Please, call me Mayala, after all, now we’re family.”
“My name is Wyn, and my soul mate is Tanulia, queen Mayala,” the girl’s father replied, still hesitating to call the king and the queen by their names.
“Welcome to the family, Wyn, and Tanulia. My soul mate Hurick and I couldn’t be happier to welcome you and your family to join our family,” the queen assured him, with a broad smile.
“Yes, this is a day of joy for all of us,” the king added, smiling too.
“How old is your daughter?” the queen asked Leena’s mother, puzzled. The girl looked older than the girls they had seen that night, most under the age of one sun rotation.
“She’s eighteen moon cycles, my queen. She was supposed to be introduced to the prince on the past event, but she fell ill that night, with a bellyache, so we weren’t able to bring her that night,” Wyn replied, with a concerned tone.
They were aware of the rules that stated that all girls born during the sun rotation were to be taken to the palace on the event that followed the girl’s birth.
“Some things escape our best plans,” the king appeased the man’s worries. “We’ll have to discuss a million details now that my son has met Leena, but we’ll have enough time for that, in the morning. It’s time to celebrate.”
Leena’s parents nodded, and Tanulia reached out to take her sleeping baby from Zorban’s arms. He reluctantly handed her to her mother, immediately feeling he missed her.
“Why don’t we take the girl to the palace nursery room? Our nannies will take good care of her while we enjoy the rest of the evening,” the queen suggested, with a smile, watching the sleeping little girl.
“I’m sure that’s not necessary, mother. You’ve brought your stroller, haven’t you?” Zorban asked Tanulia, unwilling to send Leena out of his sight.
Tanulia looked uncomfortable. “I’m afraid not. We hadn’t planned to stay beyond the presentation,” she explained. “We have three more children, and we don’t like to leave them with the nannies for long,” she explained, with a faint smile. “It never occurred to us Leena would be the one.”
“That’s alright, I understand your feelings, but now people expect you to stay for the celebration,” the queen said, with a smile.
“Of course, and we are honored to be a part of it, we’re just not prepared to stay,” Wyn explained.
“Then, let’s take Leena to the nursery room. She will be well taken care of there,” the queen insisted, and Leena’s parents finally agreed.
A nursery room was prepared with enough cribs to host the babies while the parents enjoyed the party after the event. Several women were employed that day to take care of the babies, and several of the palace guards guarded the room. Zorban knew Leena would be safe there, but he still didn’t like the idea, though he kept his doubts to himself.
He accompanied Leena’s parents to the nursery room, making sure she was safe in a crib before they returned to the ballroom.
The banquet proceeded as usual, but Zorban had trouble concentrating on what was happening around him. He still couldn’t believe the emotions that little girl had stirred inside him, how his heart and soul had gone out to her at the sound of her innocent giggle.
Waiting for her to grow up would give him the time to know her and for his love to mature and he knew he would wait impatiently for the day they would finally be announced as mates.
He spent the whole time feeling restless and wishing he could go and make sure Leena was safe in her crib, but he knew people would worry if they noticed his concern, so he put on a congenial smile and went through the whole event as best as he could.
When the ball finally ended, he walked Leena’s parents to get her from the nursery room, and that was then when the hell was set loose.
Leena wasn’t anywhere to be found. Someone had taken her away from her crib, and now she was gone.
Zorban looked at his friend sitting across the table and shook his head, astonished. “You’re getting married?”
Matthew sighed. “I really don’t understand why you sound so surprised. You know I have been dating Joanna for over a year now, and I’m sure she’s the one,” he said, in a defensive tone.
“How can you be so sure?” Zorban asked. The ways of this planet still amazed him. People didn’t have the instinct to guide them when mating and the number of broken relationships was mesmerizing.
“I love her and I know I want to spend the rest of my life with her,” his friend assured him. “I want her to be the mother of my children and believe me, that’s something I’ve never wished before. Joanne is sweet, romantic, loving and the hottest woman I’ve met in my whole life,” he added, his eyes shining as he described the woman he intended to marry.
“If you’re so sure about her, how come you’ve never introduced her to me?” Zorban asked, with a frown.
He and Matthew had been friends for five years now. They had met shortly after Zorban had arrived at the planet, looking for a place to hide and lick his wounds. He hadn’t been in a good place back then, but Matthew had taken him under his wing and had forced him out of his dark mood.
Matthew looked uncomfortable and squirmed on the chair for a few moments before he answered his question. “Because I was afraid to lose her.”
“What? What the hell are you talking about?” he asked, with a deep frown.
His friend sighed and jumped out of his chair to walk to the huge window that opened up to Elliot Bay. He stayed there in silence for a few moments before he turned around and looked at Zorban. “You’re a woman’s magnet. So far, I haven’t met a woman that hasn’t melted at the sight of you,” he confessed. “When I met Joanne, I decided I had to keep her away from you, no matter what.”
Zorban’s frown became even more profound. “You know I would never hit on a woman you were dating,” he protested.
“I know that. You don’t have to. They throw themselves at your feet and sometimes, you don’t even see them,” Matthew said, with a hint of jealousy in his tone.
“What changed? Why do you feel comfortable to introduce her to me now?” Zorban asked, not sure he liked his friend’s description of him. He had been with many females ever since he had arrived at planet Earth, but he hadn’t noticed women reacted differently to his presence. “Aren’t you afraid she might fall for me?” he asked with a sarcastic tone.
Matthew scowled. “I deserve that, I know… but no, I’m not afraid of that anymore. Joanne loves me as much as I love her. Meeting you won’t change her feelings.”
“Well, then I can’t wait to meet her.”
Matthew returned to his seat in front of Zorban’s desk. “There’s something else,” he said, with a smile. “I want you to be my best man.”
Zorban had been to a few weddings by now, and he knew the importance of his friend’s request. He smiled, pleased. “It will be my pleasure,” he assured him.
“Good. I’ll have a dinner party this weekend for you to meet Joanne and some of her friends. Please, try not to seduce any of the bride’s maids.”
Zorban frowned. “You exaggerate my seduction skills.”
“I wish I did,” Matthew sighed. “Can I count on you?”
“I’ll be there.”
“Have you checked the new cell phone? George told me he would be sending it to you today,” he asked, changing the subject.
When Zorban arrived at planet Earth, he had been lost for a few months, not sure how he would make a life for himself on a strange planet. Everything was unfamiliar, and the planet’s technology seemed too rudimentary for him. He was complaining about it to Matthew one night, and his friend’s answer had changed both their lives: ‘Why don’t you do something about it?’
He had done something about it, with Matthew’s help and now they owned a multimillion-dollar company that manufactured cell phones, tablets, laptops, and a few other electronic devices.
“Yes, he has. I’m not very pleased with the case, but they are already working on the changes I suggested,” Zorban explained.
“Perfect.” He got up again. “I have to go now. Joanne is cooking dinner for me tonight, and I can’t wait to get home.”
Zorban smiled. “Have fun. I’ll see you in the morning.”
After his friend left, Zorban got up and walked to the window. He never got tired of the view, it had been one of the reasons he chose that office. Seattle was a lovely city. Not too small, nor too big, and cold enough to make him feel comfortable. Whenever he was homesick, he would fly to Mount Rainier and enjoy the reinvigorating cold air and the gentle caress of the snow.
The sun finally disappeared and gave way to a full moon and a starry night. It was time for him to go back to his place. He had bought a penthouse not far from work, where he spent most of his free time.
Staying off the radar was vital for him. He knew his fictional past wouldn’t stand a thorough investigation, so he had asked Matthew to be the company’s face. Not many people knew who he was, or what he did and he wanted things to stay just like that.
Not even the women he dated knew much about him, and none lasted more than a few weeks in his life. He had lost his soulmate, and he knew he wasn’t going to find another one, so he saw no reason to give them hope of a future he knew was impossible.
Once at home, he went straight to his office. He needed to contact his mother, back on Thalia and he kept his communication device hidden in there. He knew it was risky, but he couldn’t cut all communication with his home planet, he just couldn’t.
“Zorban, darling, I’m so happy to see you,” his mother greeted him, with a faint smile. He could tell she was worried.
“Hello mother, what’s going on?”
“Your father is ill, and I’m suspecting your uncle is behind his sudden illness,” the queen confessed, in a low whisper. He knew she feared someone could hear her, or find her talking to him.
“You know he’s desperate to take over the throne. With me out of the way it’s just a matter of time,” Zorban pointed out, in a bitter tone.
“You should have stayed here, where you belong,” she complained, wiping a tear from her fair cheek.
“I didn’t have a choice; mother and you know it. After fifteen solar rotations looking for a new soulmate, it was more than obvious for everyone that I wasn’t going to find one,” he said, running his fingers through his long hair.
“We all know he was responsible for Leena’s disappearance,” Queen Mayala said, her fury and impotence evident in each word.
“Yes, but no one was able to prove it. I’m destined to be alone, mother and there isn’t much we can do about it.”
“I refuse to believe that. I refuse to believe Thalia is to fall into the hands of a murderer, a person capable of anything to get what he wants. That would be the destruction of our people, and you know it,” she grumbled through gritted teeth.
“I know, mother, but there isn’t a thing I can do. Jharb has too many supporters amongst father’s council, and I warned him about it, but he chose to ignore my warnings,” he ranted, though he knew his mother was not to blame for that. “Those men helped Jharb to get me thrown off Thalia under father’s watch.”
“How can you say that? Your father…” his mother tried to defend her husband, but he didn’t allow her. Not this time.
“My father had the power to put an end to Jharb’s ambitions, and he didn’t. He chose to hope for the best and his inaction has brought us to this.”
His mother sobbed, but this time Zorban didn’t take back his words. It was time his mother understood she was married to a weak man, afraid to confront his own brother and stop his nefarious plans for Thalia and its people.
Queen Mayala wiped the tears from her face with a tiny handkerchief before she looked at her son. “This is why you need to be here. A lot of people were against sending you away, and I’m sure they would be more than happy to help you reestablish the natural order of things,” she said, using her best persuasive tone.
Zorban sighed. “No one will support a man with no mate, mother and we both know that.”
“Your mate wasn’t born yet, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find one. Jharb pressed the council members to rule you as unable to succeed your father on the throne, just to assure his own position, but I’m sure your mate is out there, somewhere,” his mother refuted his words.
“We can’t know that for sure, mother. Not everybody finds a second mate,” he pointed out, tired of the whole situation.
Queen Mayala sighed. “If your father dies, we’re doomed,” his mother said in a low tone.
“Then, keep him alive as long as you can, mother, and start looking for a possible heir, someone willing to stand up against Jharb.”
“I already have that heir, Zorban, he came out of me,” she protested and ended the call.
Copyright © 2018 by T.J. Quinn
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Ice Princess by T. J. Quinn – Review by Christine Myers
Ice Princess is a classic second chance romance set in science fiction. The crown prince of Thalia, Zorban loses his soul mate the day he found her. Unless he has a mate, he can never become King. After he is unsuccessful in finding another one after losing her, he eventually gives up on finding love and goes to Earth where he makes a new life for himself.
Even though I figured out the twist not far into the book, the main characters were drawn in such a way that I had to keep reading while I rooted for them to figure out, they belonged together. I remember thinking more than a few times that I really like how a scene was written.
This is a kind of adult fairy tale with aliens and some fairly steamy love scenes—and a HEA ending. It’s well worth the read.
I have to say I loved it, and it gets 5-stars from me. That’s not just because I work with her. I don’t always give her 5-stars. Just ask her.
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