Thursday, March 04, 2010

Alpha Colony: United Passion by Aubrey Ross

Alpha Colony: United Passion

by Aubrey Ross
cover art by Bryan Keller
ISBN: 978-1-60521-353-8
Genre(s): Paranormal, Action/Adventure, BDSM
Theme(s): Shapeshifters
Series: Alpha Colony
Length: Novella

As a Pride leader, Maddox knows unification is the only chance the cat-shifters have of surviving the harsh conditions at Alpha Colony. His reputation for ruthlessness is well known, so the other pride leaders quickly fall in line.

Convinced any form of cooperation is unacceptable, Dyauna and her followers are determined to defy their human captors at every turn. Still, the rest of the rebels will accept unification if Maddox can recruit Dyauna.

Their relationship has always been tempestuous, but he knows how to make her purr. Her radical ideals once drove them apart, and he can't let it happen again. He'll take her captive for a few days and focus entirely on her pleasure. Then she'll be forced to admit they are meant to be together, just like the cat-shifter clans.
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Standing in the shadows beyond the cozy cavern room, Dyauna watched the impassioned couple, fascinated by their fierce brand of lovemaking. They wrestled and strained, determined to get closer, desperate for more of each other. It was hungry, and graceless, at times violent, and she had never seen anything so beautiful.

Grayson lunged suddenly, thrusting his thick cock into Sasha as he pinned her to the furs on her stomach. She tossed her head and growled, the sound soft and sensual rather than aggressive. He spread her arms and let her feel his weight for a breathless moment before he rocked back onto his knees.

With firm tugs and steady control, he shifted position, drawing her hips up while keeping her shoulders low. Sasha held perfectly still, tense and waiting. He drew back slowly, pulling nearly out before he thrust deep again. The hard lunge drove her forward, so she braced herself on her forearms, maintaining her position as he fucked her with demanding fervor.

Desire washed over Dyauna, the tingling heat making her dizzy. It had been so long since anyone touched her with anything resembling true hunger. People sought her advice and tried to manipulate her influence, but few saw beyond her position.

"Do they know you're watching them?"

Stifling a gasp behind her hand, Dyauna spun around and faced Maddox. Tall and imposing, his sculpted features seemed at odds with his massive body. Of all the morphs in Alpha Colony, why did Maddox have to find her indulging her voyeuristic tendencies? She moved away from the entrance before she responded, not wanting her guests to realize her rude behavior.

"I dropped by to make sure they'd settled in and..." She didn't have to explain herself to this man. He had turned his back on everything she valued, choosing to accept subjugation rather than fight for his fundamental freedoms. "You're a long way from the village. What do you want?"

"One of the sentinels told me you were harboring the fugitives. I wanted to see for myself." The gold flecks in his green eyes glistened in the torchlight, giving his intense stare a mesmerizing quality. Thick tawny hair swept back from his face, his features tense with disapproval.

"Grayson is my friend, and we're all fugitives." She wouldn't be browbeaten by a lap cat. They'd made their choices a long time ago. "What goes on beyond the village is none of your business. No one here is Barbary pride."

He moved in close, forcing her to accept his nearness or retreat. And Dyauna never retreated. "I'm not here as pride leader. I'm here as your friend. Give them supplies if you must, even find somewhere else for them to hide, but don't let the keepers find out you've been sheltering them."

"Unlike village dwellers, we're not afraid of the keepers. They've already stolen our most prized possession. Without freedom, everything else is irrelevant."

He placed his hands on the cave wall beside her head, effectively trapping her with his body. "You were born here, Dyauna. How can you crave something you've never tasted?"

"I've seen enough of the world to understand that this is wrong." She stood up as straight as she could, trying to diminish the difference between their heights. "We were meant to roam free, not live in cages."

"You live in a cave," he pointed out with an irritating smile. "Is this really better than the cottages in the village? Are you happier when you indulge your animal side?"

"The crux of the issue hasn't changed. You think happiness lies in suppressing your cat and becoming more human, while I'm only happy when I suppress my human side and give in to my cat."

He shook his head, silky hair brushing his broad shoulders. Even irritated as she was, it was easy to remember those soft strands teasing her skin and sifting through her fingers. Maddox hadn't been her first lover, and he hadn't been her last, but it was always his image that lingered in her mind and fueled her fantasies.

"Life is balance and compromise."

She laughed. "Life is instinct and passion." She nodded toward the chamber where sounds of pleasure still emanated. "Maybe you should watch for a while. Remind yourself what living looks like."

Pushing off the wall, he stepped back with a sigh. "Grayson is flirting with disaster. They both are. The keepers aren't going to let this slide."

"They have no choice. It's already done."

He didn't argue. His gaze moved over her face for a moment then he shrugged. "You never listened to me before. Why did I think you'd listen now? You obviously knew the dangers when you took them in. Like you said, the damage is done."

"They have nowhere else to go." Perhaps he didn't realize the full scope of their predicament. Knowing Grayson, he would have told no one but her. Should she enlighten Maddox or let him slink back to his precious village in ignorance? Even if the vid didn't go viral, as they hoped it would, they wouldn't be able to conceal Sasha's transformation for long. The rumor mill ran nonstop at Alpha Colony. "At the risk of sounding like a pervert, glance in the chamber and tell me what you see."

"I don't need to look to know what I'll see. The sounds they're making are explicit enough."

"There is a reason for my request. Just look."

To her knowledge, having sex still triggered the shift in Sasha. Dyauna hoped tonight wouldn't be the night Sasha gained control over her new abilities. All the descriptions in the world wouldn't impact Maddox like seeing the phenomenon for himself.

Maddox ambled toward the entrance to the chamber, reluctance evident in each step he took. After a brief pause, he leaned slightly sideways and peeked inside. He sucked in a deep breath.

Having experienced a similar reaction the first time she saw the white tigers together, she understood what he was feeling. Awe and hope, a potent combination to be sure. She pressed against his back and leaned out far enough to see past his shoulder. Grayson and Sasha were still going at it, their position much as it had been when Maddox interrupted her naughtiness.

Each movement seemed more savage, more primal, when performed by white tigers. Grayson covered his mate, easily dominating her. He was bigger, his stripes darker, but they were both incredibly beautiful. They were a matched set, capable of reproducing, rare and precious in this bleak world.

Maddox moved away from the entrance, taking Dyauna with him. "How was this done? What triggered her change?"

"What have you heard? How are people explaining Sasha's disappearance?" She led him down a narrow corridor and out into the night. Cool mountain air ruffled her hair and sent shivers racing across her skin.

"Do you need to morph? The night air is chilly."

"A gentleman would offer me his coat," she said with an ironic smile. He'd wrapped a geron around his lean hips, but the supple material was his only garment. Stacks of gerons were left around camp, so people could cover their nudity after shifting back into human form. It was just as common to see people striding about naked. Only outsiders were bothered by the rebels' nonconformity. Her lower body was covered by a similar wrap and her hair concealed her breasts -- when the wind decided to cooperate. "What are they saying in the village?" She reminded him of her unanswered question.

"Some are saying Grayson kidnapped Sasha, but most believe she went with him willingly. I haven't heard a peep about her transformation." He raked his hair with his hands, his agitation obvious. "Is DOMA up to their old tricks again, or was Sasha some sort of latent?"

The Department of Morphological Affairs -- just the name made Dyauna antsy. And shortening the title to DOMA didn't minimize their corruption or erase the crimes they had fostered against an entire species. Of course the fact that their scientists had created the species they abused twisted everything into a convoluted mess.

"DOMA never gave up their old tricks. They've been more careful, and a little less ambitious, but they've never changed their tune."

"Did Sasha know what they were doing? Did she give permission to be modified?"

"She had no idea until she triggered mating fever in Grayson. No human could have done that, so he asked his grandfather to scan her. Imagine her surprise when Dr. Darman verified the presence of white tiger DNA neatly spliced into her own."

"Grayson must have sensed she was a hybrid, at least on an instinctual level. He's been fascinated with her ever since she arrived." Maddox was quiet for a moment, his gaze averted as he processed the developments.

Should she tell him they had recorded Sasha's first transformation and that they'd sneaked the vid beyond governmental firewalls, making it accessible to the public? No, she'd shared enough already. He'd either find out when the outrage erupted or the plan would fail and there would be no reason for him to know.

"Does General Hidaka know about this?"

The question jerked her back from her speculation. Of course his first concern would be for a human. She stepped away from him so quickly she stumbled over a tree root and nearly lost her balance. "You'll never change, will you?" She tossed back her hair, welcoming the wind's sharp sting. "I just showed you a white tiger pair and all you can think about is the fucking general! Go back to your village, lap cat. There's nothing for you here!"

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