Soulless found itself as a contender this past spring in the Shamrock Challenge, a contest hosted by Changeling Press. When the first of May rolled around, my heart beat triple time when I received notification that my story finaled in their contest!
Over the past two months, I've worked edits, cover art requests, and promo, all geared toward this day: the published release of my story.
I had a terrific time writing this novella and I hope you have just as much fun - if not more - in your reading.
Now, in case you haven't seen the info already, here's a blurb, excerpt (PG-13), and the direct buy link to claim this story for your very own!
Thanks to all who have supported me! You're the best!
Series: Malathix Soul
Genre: Erotic, Futuristic
Theme: Dark Desire
Author: Ayla Ruse
The e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.
Can an alien beast without a soul bring Laya to her knees?
Space Lord Theradon, of the merchant planet Malathix, lives on the edge of a darkness that threatens every human around him. He must find the piece of him that’s missing or face his demise.
Laya Brummel unknowingly carries within herself the means to his survival. If only she would stay still long enough for him to explain. But she’s seen the horror of what a Malathix alien can become, and fear keeps her constantly running away from him.
When the pair finally comes face-to-face, will it be too late to stop the death and destruction, or will they find something deeper to hold them together and save them both?
Province of New Texas, Earth
"She's here, Camden. I can feel her," Theradon, heir to the throne on planet Malathix, informed his second in command.
Camden Royst nodded his acknowledgement. They walked deeper into Club Neon, a large cavern of a place lit by a million watts of flashing neon and black light. The sight was disorienting and painful, and Theradon blinked, shifting internal protective lenses over his corneas.
"Damn, I hate places like this." Camden rubbed his fingers across his eyes. "My eyes hurt like a son of a bitch."
"Mine, too." Theradon waited until Camden oriented himself. Putting up with Earth's atmosphere and human quirks, such as their infernal need for multi-colored lighting, had been another fucked up mark against this ass-backward planet. It was hell to adjust their bodies into a level of comfort to maintain social contact. Chaotic places like this club threatened to bring out the beasts within them, and without their souls to keep their beasts in check, violence reigned.
"So, where is she?" Camden asked. "Do you want to go after her or wait again to see if she comes to you?"
"I hear that sneer." Theradon and Camden stopped at the upper edge of the dance floor, hands on leather-clad hips, surveying the disorienting scene before them. Long, crowded bars flanked the left and right of the spacious room while the entire sunken floor before them crawled with people gyrating and contorting themselves in a semblance of movement the humans called dancing.
"Well, Theradon, what do you want me to say? You know if it'd been up to me you'd have taken that human the first night you found her."
"That human's name is Laya. Show some respect."
Camden held up his hands. "Sorry."
"If I'd taken her that night, I'd have killed us both on the spot. You saw what happened to Lex. When he saw Laya's friend, he tore the damn place apart. I wasn't about to risk either of our lives."
"You still should have told her."
"You're pushing, Camden. Just because you got lucky in telling Deidra before you claimed her doesn't mean Laya would've taken the news the same way, especially after witnessing what Lex did. Besides, asshole, that information is supposed to be classified until the claiming."
Camden dropped his head, properly chastised, while Theradon gazed through the shifting crowd again. His beast craved time to come out, but Theradon was a Lord of Malathix. He would never willingly unleash his beast on the innocent.
Camden's voice rose over the din. "What are you going to do now?"
"I don't see her yet. Maybe she's in the back. Let's grab a seat and see if she comes out. I can wait a few more minutes. But one way or another, this chase ends tonight."
* * *
"Laya! Laya, he's here!"
"What? Now? Damn it." Laya's hands shook as she sloppily put aside the drink tray she'd been carrying. Smoking liquid poured from the tall glasses. She knew Theradon had been near, in the city at least, because she'd started feeling horny a few hours ago. She always felt the need for sex when he was in the vicinity. Damn it! Theradon was the last man in the galaxy she wanted to have sex with. Or so she kept telling herself.
* * *
Theradon and Camden made their way through the throng of gyrating bodies to find an empty table near the back wall. The hard music pounded through the room as if it had a life of its own and beat into Theradon's body, making his muscles pump. His beast quivered against the feel of the beat, taking in the sensation as a sign of outward destruction, and it fought inside him, wanting to destroy the chaos until order had been restored. Theradon grimaced at the pain of keeping the beast leashed.
As soon as they sat down, three women with curvy bodies wearing very little swayed over to them.
"Hi, handsome. What can I do for you?" one asked outright while she caressed her peaked nipples through her shirt. The other women licked their lips and eyed him and Camden as if they were the favorite candy of the day.
Theradon ignored the fawning humans while Camden caught the attention of a waitress to order a couple of dry-iced drinks. Camden would send the women on their way. He could never understand why women crawled over -- and under -- him and his men. His best guess? Their beasts released some kind of pheromone. Damned annoying, in his opinion, especially when anytime he came close to the woman he wanted, she ran away screaming. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Past the clogging smells of smoke, alcohol, sweat and lust, he found her scent. Terror laced with sunshine. It reminded him of the sudden flash of an Earthen summer storm. Strong, fierce, instantaneous. A woman more than capable of handling his nature.
A low growl escaped him. His beast knew her near and it wanted out to find and claim her. Time was running out. The constant fight to keep his beast inside let him know that any day now -- hell, any minute now -- the beast would win. It would transform Theradon, forcing the circumstances that would lead to their deaths. His only salvation lay in claiming Laya.
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