Twenty-one years ago, Jole and Susan had a set of twins. A year into maturity, the race is on. Keen nobles will go to almost any lengths to be the chosen mates of the re-bred royals. All either of them wants is to find a mate who will see him/her as a person and not a re-bred. Finding that is only half the fun.
Brenna gives an overview of the book:
Joseph bit back his rage. He reminded himself that his patience was worn thin by hours of dealing with grasping hopefuls. Still, he wasn’t about to sit still for this.
Berel inched away from the noble who crowded her. Her smile was strained, and she flicked a glance at the dais.
He was on his feet and striding through the crowd without a coherent thought of why he was acting this way. Only one thought registered clearly in his mind. Berel was Joseph’s, and no other man would touch her, especially one she so obviously didn’t want.
Joseph brushed off the suitors with barely contained disdain. He would make it seem that he gave consideration, but unless Berel refused him, he wouldn’t choose another. Joseph grimaced. She could refuse him. Despite the looks of interest Berel shot him, he might be misreading her intent.
Berel looked up, as Joseph reached her side, gratitude in her eyes. “Joseph,” she greeted him in a husky voice that sent tremors of pleasure through his gut.
Joseph smiled and offered his hand. “I believe you promised me this dance,” he commented smoothly.
She took his hand and accompanied Joseph to the center of the floor without a backward glance at the upstart young lord who had been hounding her moments before. Joseph pulled Berel to his chest and wrapped his hands around her waist, thankful that this was an Earth celebration with Earth-style dancing.
Berel wound her hands around his neck, her body pressed close to his. “Thank you for saving me,” she breathed.
Joseph pushed back his anger again. “Any time. It gave me an excuse to dance with you.”
She blushed, moving her body against his fluidly. “I love this song.”
He nodded. It was a ballad from Earth, a traditional Christmas song, one of hundreds his mother had brought with her from her world.
Berel listened to the haunting tones. “Said the evening breeze to the tiny kit,” she translated smoothly.
Joseph grinned. Her translation wasn’t perfect, but it was nearly so. “I love that you speak English.” He offered the comment in English, thankful that he and Berel could be alone, even in a crowd.
“How could I not? Being raised in a household that spoke it?”
He took a calming breath, a thousand Earth endearments coming readily to mind. It was too early for that. Berel wouldn’t be an adult for three years. When she was—Joseph hardened at the thought of claiming her.
Berel gasped, meeting his eyes in surprise.
Joseph offered her a sheepish grin. “I am undeniably male, Berel. A beautiful woman in my arms...”
She smiled, her eyes making offers she wasn’t old enough to fulfill, her body brushing by his, firing him into a fierce state of arousal. He wasn’t misreading her. Berel wanted him as desperately as Joseph wanted her.
The ballad ended and another commenced, a song about lovers curled before a fire while the snow mounted outside the windows. Visions of hanging a gola sprig over her and kissing every inch of Berel’s body came unbidden but not entirely unwelcome to his mind.
“May I claim this dance, Highness?”
Joseph scowled at the lord over his shoulder, then at the lord’s sister. He’d seen this treatment before. The lord would dance with Joseph’s current partner, while his sister cornered Joseph.
“I’m sorry, Lord Byen, but I promised the lady to see her back to her family. Captain Tyrel is protective of his daughter.”
Byen bowed, red-faced. “Of course, Highness.”
Joseph threaded Berel’s arm through his own and returned her to her parents with a warning to Tyrel to guard her from the more unscrupulous elements in the crowd. He took his leave, claiming fatigue. In truth, fatigue wasn’t what Joseph felt. He ached for Berel. His nerves were ragged.
“A schente,” he barked at the guard who held position at the door to his rooms. There wasn’t typically a need for guards in the royal chambers, but on celebration nights, things got crazy. Until the young royals chose their mates, it would be like this.
Joseph had stripped by the time the schente came to him. He had balked at the schente at first, accepting them only when he was told that the heir apparent would be expected to keep them. Joseph was glad that he’d agreed to the schente on nights like this. A willing woman he could momentarily relieve tension in might be the only thing keeping him sane for his chosen mate. Berel.
Brenna Lyons wears many hats, sometimes all on the same day: former president of EPIC, author of more than 80 published works, columnist, special needs teacher, wife, mother... In addition, she’s a member in good standing of ERWA, MWW, RWU, WPM, IWOFA, and Broad...