Blood Feud [Siren Warrior Series Book 9]
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by Michelle Marquis, Lindsey Bayer
Category: Erotica/Erotic Science Fiction
Description: Something is very wrong with Gypsy's ex-husband, Colonel Caraculla. Crazed with jealously over Gypsy's marriage to his rival Kharon, Caraculla has managed to get himself banished to the Imperial frontier for insubordination. But the handsome colonel is not done trying to win his beloved Gypsy back. Worse still, the colonel is a nasty opponent, having been schooled in the fine art of treachery by none other than the General himself. Overcome with passion, Caraculla vows to get Gypsy back in his bed once again, even if that means he has to kill her husband to do it.
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: January 2011
13 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [317 KB]
Reading time: 198-277 min.
Gypsy emerged from the bedroom dressed in her brand new black Imperial uniform. With its gold piping along the collar and cuffs, it was quite an improvement over the dreary gray cadet jacket and pants. The new uniform had been delivered this morning for her graduation from the Military Academy. It still looked kind of plain without any service ribbons yet, but all that would come in time. Not only was she the first woman to ever graduate the Academy, she was also one of the few cadets to be awarded the rank of lieutenant junior grade instead of ensign. The bump in rank had come from her two successful missions including the capture and return of her husband Commander Kharon while he was under Titan's spell. Naturally, there were some who attributed her rank to favoritism on the part of her father. Only a few knew that he had been her biggest adversary when she'd embarked on this career.
Pausing at the top of the stairs, she took one last look at herself in the hallway mirror. It still amazed her that she'd made it this far. Now with her pending graduation and a war looming in the near future, she was both excited and anxious. Living with Kharon these past few months had also been an adventure all its own. She no longer questioned her feelings for him even if she was still getting used to him. She loved him more than she thought possible and sometimes she felt ashamed that she didn't show it enough.
It had been different with Caraculla.
He had been part of her life from the beginning. Because she'd known him so long, she bypassed all of the usual apprehension and awkwardness when she moved in and became his lover. Kharon was a whole different world. Her initial resistance to living with him was partly because she barely knew him. But because of his persistence, it hadn't taken Kharon long to wear her down and finally she agreed to move in.
Gypsy was sure the first few weeks were hell for him and sometimes she wondered if he ever regretted marrying her. True to her Theron nature she was defensive, suspicious and emotionally guarded all the time. But Kharon seemed determined to make this work and through his bottomless patience he eased her transition into a willing partner. Now that she had finally attained some comfort in their cohabitation the very real possibility of being separated from him for a long period of time leeched some of the happiness from her good spirits.
She roughly combed out her wavy locks and stared at her reflection. A pretty, slightly human-looking girl with a pale complexion and vibrant green eyes stared back. What a contrast she was to the muscular, heavily armored, green-skinned AEssyrians she shared this world with. But even if she looked human at first glance, she felt every ounce of her half-breed alien blood. If only she looked as fearsome as she felt maybe her career might have come a little easier.
Once satisfied with her appearance she trotted down to the bottom of the steps and prowled up to her husband. Feeling a momentary bout of insecurity she subconsciously folded her arms and chewed her lower lip. "Well? What do you think?"
He watched her from the leather couch by the fireplace, his mismatched eyes gleaming with pride. "I think I've never seen a more beautiful woman."
Gypsy felt her cheeks warm. She laughed. "That's not exactly what I was looking for. I'm supposed to be fierce and intimidating."
"All right then, I'm trembling in fear at the very sight of you. Please don't unleash your wrath upon me. Better?"
"Maybe a little less deadpan," she scolded.
Kharon stood up and came toward her. Gypsy felt her emotional guard slip away and immediately allowed the connection between them. It was like a surge of adrenaline that was both emotional and sexual at once. Her husband wrapped his arms around her and squeezed. Complete joy filled her. As much as she knew her parents loved her, this was different. He was part of her; an extension of her soul. Kharon was very affectionate. It fascinated her that he never seemed embarrassed or afraid to show his feelings for her.
Like her, Caraculla had been much more guarded, always waiting for some form of emotional assault. It was odd that thoughts of Caraculla didn't evoke the same passion it used to. All she wanted now was Kharon and it felt right. Gypsy sighed and hugged him back, resting her head against his chest. He nuzzled her ear. "I love you very much, Gypsy, and I'm very proud of you."
Coming from an accomplished male like Kharon, that was quite a compliment. But then he always had a way of making her feel special. She thought back to her volatile relationship with Caraculla and could clearly see what her father had seen. Caraculla hadn't been ready for marriage. He had too many personal demons to slay before he could commit to anyone. Between her father and Caraculla she'd always had to keep her emotional fortress in good repair and sometimes those old habits strained her relationship with Kharon. But she was always thankful for his passive endurance and his ability not to take her distrustful nature and occasional dark moods personally. She was a product of her genetics and her upbringing.
Gypsy still loved Caraculla and always would, but her feelings toward Kharon were purer and held an aura of stability that never ceased to be of comfort. She trusted Kharon completely despite their troubled beginning. That was the one major pitfall in her feelings toward Caraculla. She didn't trust him, especially with her emotions, which he had carelessly trampled on more than one occasion.
Kharon took her by the hand and led her out to their saddled hyperia. The early morning suns were still on the rise, not having had a chance to burn the fog from the ground.
The ride to the military complex was nerve wracking. Gypsy worried a thread loose from the bottom of her new jacket and began wrapping and unwrapping it around her index finger. She barely paid any attention to her mount and allowed it to follow alongside her husband's. She was afraid her graduation was too good to be true. Every time she was about to pass a milestone in her career something threatened to derail it. Could it be that after all this time and struggle she was finally going to get her commission? It just didn't seem possible.
Kharon rode next to her in silence. Without looking at her he reached for her hand and took it, slicing off the worried thread with his nail. "Try and relax before you unravel your entire uniform. You've earned this, Gypsy. It's yours."
She gave him a tense smile but his calm confidence did make her feel a little better. He was an emotional rock and she was beginning to rely on his strength to help ground her. "Thanks." She urged her mount forward.
The sight of the Imperial grounds made her stomach drop at the memory of her father Gavin being beaten and strung up not so long ago. That had been the first time she'd realized that no matter how much power a person wielded, bad things can still happen to them. She just hoped that Gavin's decision to retire had been the right one.
Gypsy and Kharon dismounted and, after securing their mounts to a tie line, merged into a huge crowd of graduating officers and their families. She immediately spied her mother Harlan followed by her brother Desmond and his wife Scarlet.
"Gypsy!" Harlan ran up and wrapped her arms around her giving her a tight squeeze. Desmond did the same, picking her up a foot off the ground. When she started to struggle he dropped her and smirked. Then to Gypsy's great surprise, Gavin stalked out of the crowd and kissed her on the cheek. After what he'd been through with the emperor, she was shocked he'd decided to come. But then no one could accuse her father of being afraid of anything. Gavin and Kharon shook hands warmly.
Gypsy smiled at her father. "I'm really glad you came. I would have understood if you'd chosen not to."
"Nonsense. I wouldn't have missed it for anything. After all I've watched all my sons graduate from this Academy, why not my daughter?" He glanced at Desmond. "Well almost all my sons save one."
"Screw off, Gavin," Desmond growled.
"It's time to grab our seats. Let's go, boys," Harlan said, gently pushing her husband toward the stands. "We'll meet you both back here after the ceremony."
"Okay, Mom!" Gypsy shouted over the noise of the crowd.
Her parents disappeared into the sea of bodies. Gypsy was just about to head toward the stage when she felt an inexplicable rage burn through her. The anger seeped through her veins and infused itself in her emotions igniting her own fury but she didn't know who to direct it to. Closing her eyes she realized that it wasn't her rage but Kharon's. The bizarre emotional sensation froze her where she stood and frankly scared the crap out of her.
Gypsy turned around to see her husband and a noble having a very tense conversation, but she was too far away to hear what they were saying. It was about her. She could sense that much from her intrusion into Kharon's emotions.
The noble was a bull male like her husband. He had light green skin, a square face, heavy jowls and small cruel eyes. She squinted at his royal insignia and recognized it as a count. Someone bumped her from behind and she whirled around with her hand on the hilt of her saber.
"Easy, killer, it's just me," her friend Makkai said with a mischievous grin.
Gypsy gestured to the count who was walking away from Kharon. Both males looked really pissed. "Who's that?"
Makkai squinted. "Count Vadeem. He's a high-ranking asshole and not a big fan of yours. He was an uncle of Drake Trolis."
"What do you think all that was about?"
Makkai laughed and his arctic blue eyes sparkled. "Probably how Kharon was corrupting you and shaming himself as your husband. He likes to prattle on about how 'women shouldn't be in the military' and 'you're an abomination who will single-handedly bring down AEssyrian society'. Vadeem was one of those who made sure you weren't on the Academy picks list. He's had a hard-on for you for a long time."
"If he has something to say about me, why doesn't he just say it to me directly?"
"Because he's not going to lower himself to speak to you, a woman. And since technically you're Kharon's property through marriage, he's going to address the issue with your husband and master."
"That's a bunch of crap. If he has a problem with me then he can take it up with me and leave Kharon out of it." Gypsy started off after Vadeem.
Makkai groaned and grabbed her arm. "Sometimes your naivety astounds me. This is between Vadeem and Kharon. You have enough on your plate." He pulled her by the sleeve. "Besides, even though you're an independent warrior woman, it's still Kharon's job to defend you and your wifely duty to let him. When someone insults you, they've insulted Kharon as well. So let him handle Vadeem."
Gypsy wanted to argue, but she knew Makkai was right. She couldn't battle everyone who hated her or she'd be fighting morning, noon, and night. A sergeant called her and Makkai up to the stage to take their seats. Gypsy glanced back at Kharon. He gave her a warm smile and nodded.
She went up the steps and embraced her hard-won future.