Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mastering Mirage by Leila Brown

Mastering Mirage
by Leila Brown

Cover art by Bryan Keller
ISBN (13): 978-1-60521-015-5
Genre(s): Futuristic, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, BDSM
Theme(s): Shapeshifters
Series: Super Sex
Length: Novella


Soundwave had always assumed that she was an only child, but she was wrong. Her two sisters have found out about her existence and they are searching the galaxy to find her.
Mirage has spent her entire life hiding behind her power to create illusions. Shielding both her and her sister from the world and her heart from pain. But when their search for Soundwave casts them as unwilling participants in a mating ritual for a planet full of manticores, illusions will do them little good. Now, they aren’t searching for a lost sister, they’re fighting for their freedom.
Rynund chose his mate from the scantily-clad space-order mates not for her beauty but for her tight-lipped defiance. He was sure she would lead him on a merry chase. What he didn’t expect was for her to steal a spaceship and lead him off-world. The hunt is on. Too bad for her, hunting is what a manticore does best!


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“Welcome to Yarthax. The Claiming Ceremony is about to begin. Please follow me.” A tall, willowy woman with waist-length brown hair, blue eyes and soft voice welcomed them. She led the way down a long, worn path in the lush grass. Mirage sucked in her breath as they stepped into a clearing. From their first look at the planet she’d expected something primitive. Not this.
There was a large metal stage. Lights. Her breath froze in her chest as she spied the ten chairs on the platform. This wasn’t good. Shit. Mischief’s gasp came seconds after hers. “Do something,” her sister whispered.
“What would you suggest? I don’t know where everyone is. They all need to be in the same place for this to work.” Mirage looked around hoping that no one could hear them.
Music drifted from the nearby woods.
“Mirage.” The panic in her sister’s voice sent Mirage’s heart into massive erratic spurts.
“Please lift a glass with me. It will calm your nerves,” the woman said as they came upon a tray with eleven glasses filled with a golden liquid.
Several women lifted their glasses and drained them. Mirage eyed her sister and knew that with their dark hair, ivory skin and honey-colored eyes they were going to stand out and attract a lot of attention on that stage. They lifted their glasses to their lips. There was no question what she needed to do here. She gathered her power and presented an image of both of them drinking the liquid. As soon as the woman turned away from them, the girls emptied their glasses on the ground in front of them.
“Now,” the woman said. More women came from out of nowhere. They were in serious trouble.
A woman grabbed hold of Mirage’s arm and led her up to the stage. The other women walked slowly and didn’t look around. Drugged, most likely. The native women left each of them standing in front of a chair. Then they walked around to stand at the base of the stage.
“Just play along for now. Don’t let them know you aren’t drugged,” Mirage whispered out of the side of her mouth.
“Put up a damn screen so we can get out of here.”
“What if there are more people in the trees nearby?”
Mischief muttered something but Mirage couldn’t make it out. “Shhhh.” Mirage looked to the left, then the right without moving her head. “No, this is different. We don’t just want to get back on The Bridal Boat. We need to find another ship and get off the planet without running into any problems.”
People emerged from the wooded area near the base of the stage. The beat of the drums got louder. Fuck. Time was running out. Soon they would lose their chance to escape. More men and women stepped through the bushes. Shit. It looked like time had run out.
“Just play along,” she told Mischief. “When we get a chance, we’re out of here.” They couldn’t afford to rush this. One chance was all they were going to get.
Men poured from the bushes. They walked up to the foot of the stage but didn’t climb up. Mirage tried not to stare at them. They were at least six and a half feet tall and each one more handsome than the last. Why would they use the services of The Bridal Boat? It didn’t make any sense.
“Choose,” a loud female voice boomed over the crowd.
Mirage held her breath, expecting the crowd to rush the stage, but no one in the crowd moved. A procession of ten men came up a ramp on the left side of the stage. Mirage stared straight ahead, but as the men walked in front of her she couldn’t help marveling over their looks.
Heat raced up her sides as the men stepped closer to her. She bit down on her lip to keep from looking at Mischief, but she could see they were running out of women. This time they would be chosen. Mirage watched as two men stepped up to her sister and claimed her.
She almost crossed her eyes to keep from moving as they guided Mischief in front of her. There would be nowhere for them to hide if they hurt her sister. She would drive them into insanity. This was extremely different from the other planets they’d visited. There was rarely more than one person chosen at a time and there definitely hadn’t been any voyeuristic atmosphere.
Mirage blinked several times before her eyes widened. Shit. Her head whipped up to glance at the man by her side. He looked down at her with amusement dancing in his amber eyes. He knew. That bastard knew she wasn’t in a trance.

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