TITLE: In Enemy Hands
AUTHOR: M.A. Church
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Anne Cain
LENGTH: 73006 words / 214 Pages
RELEASE DATE: December 30, 2016
BLURB: Two very different civilizations—one bathed in bright sunlight and the other veiled in shadow.
Bad decisions, declining resources, and a king on the brink of madness force Prince Varo Kutchif, third son of the royal family and a starship captain, to attempt the impossible: barter for Black Phospolrock, an energy source the mysterious Helkan Kingdom has in abundance. Varo opens a line of communication with Adlar, an intriguing Helkan who seems to reciprocate Varo’s interest. He hopes so, because if negotiations collapse, Varo has orders to attack.
The Helkans preside over a planet shrouded in perpetual darkness. Several species have tried to exploit its natural resources through trade with them, but all have failed. Adlar Mondur is the older brother to the Helkan ruler. An assassin of the highest order, he’ll do anything to protect his king and his people—including tracking down the Yesri prince who crash-lands on their planet, leaving an ugly scar across its untouched beauty.
Thus begins a journey where two men from disparate civilizations grow from enemies to lovers.
Varo lay stunned. Prisoner? Shock collar? He was a prince. He was royalty. Who did this creature think he was? The arrogance of Adlar stole his breath… and his lack of breath had absolutely nothing to do with that pale skin, large yellow eyes, or the yards of long black hair. Indeed not. Nor that scorching kiss.
Adlar wore a black long-sleeved shirt, and over that a vest with flared shoulders. His pants were black, as were his boots. Even his hair was black, which made his pale skin all the more noticeable. A slightly pointed chin and a sharp nose, along with those pointed ears, gave the Helkans a unique, almost fey look. How could he find Adlar sexy?
“I answer to no one, Helkan.” Mustering everything he had, he bucked hard, trying to dislodge the body that covered his. If that failed, maybe he could dislodge this horrible attraction.
He twisted and turned, kicking and squirming. The hands on his wrists didn’t budge, and neither did the body—the nicely muscled body—covering him. Horrified at the thought, he fought harder, for all the good it did him.
No matter what he did, he couldn’t dislodge Adlar from above him. He struggled until he exhausted himself. Panting, he finally grew still. Trails of mud covered his face from strands of his grubby hair, and his wounded hand throbbed. His head hurt, as did every part of his body.
“Are you done?”
Varo glared at Adlar but didn’t speak.
Adlar sighed. “Might as well get started, I guess.” Adlar sat up and then released a shrill chirp.
The high-pitched chirp made Varo cringe. Their native language must be comprised of those high-pitched squeals and grunts. Then an electric shock ran through him— a sharp, tingling charge, which was a quick, unpleasant jolt that flared brightly for a moment, then dissipated. His breath caught at the sharp, needlelike pain.
It by no means incapacitated him, but it left his body humming in a distasteful way, and it stung. There was little doubt the coursing sting would build if Adlar left the collar on. It was like a shock resulting from static electricity, but worse.
He tugged frantically at the collar, a slight tingle still coursing through his body. “Stars and curses, are you kidding me? Please make it stop.”
Adlar made another high-pitched screech. “Indeed I am not. Princeling, this is the lowest setting. Do you want me to show you higher ones? Believe me when I tell you this collar can put you on the ground. I hope you take my word and don’t force me to prove it to you.”
The thought stopped him in his tracks. That was the lowest setting? That certainly got his attention. Did he really want to know how much worse it could get?
M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!
When not writing, she’s on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two grown children.
She is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
You can also email the author at - email@example.com
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