Sunday, December 9, 2012

CATALYST by Dani Worth

The Kithran Regenesis, Book 3

Coming 12.11.2012

Vala Gorun’s family was off Kithra when the explosions happened and although she’s back on her home planet helping with the rebuild, something she saw all those years ago still haunts her. So she hires a Tracker to find the human man she’d once loved—one she thinks betrayed her in the worst possible way.

In order to stop the search into his past, Jackson Canfield sends space pirates to kidnap the Tracker. He can’t afford to be found. Not now, when his revenge is almost complete. Unfortunately, instead of the Tracker, the pirates grab Vala and a young Gwinarian man instead.

Trapped on a pirate vessel with Bastian Sithbrun, a ridiculously attractive but younger man, Vala fights her attraction. But something about the twenty-year-old gets to her… But when the pirates leave them the unwilling guests of the very man she’d driven crazy with her teen crush all those years ago, Vala learns Jacks has been in hiding, working to right a horrible wrong.

Now the three of them must work together to reveal the truth behind Kithra’s destruction—if they can control the explosive passion that erupts between them long enough to complete their task.

Copyright © 2012 Dani Worth
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

“You have to stop following me.”
Suns. I nearly crawled out of my skin when I slipped around the dark corner and ran into Jackson Canfield. He waited, silent and still, a broad shape obstructing the bit of light coming from behind him. Wide shoulders blocked the narrow entrance to a side tunnel. I thought about trying to squeeze into a crack in the mine wall or fade into the gloom—but both moves were pointless because my air suit was as scarlet as my hair. Should have grabbed the gray one. This section of the mines had only been open a short time, so it still crawled with shadows. Gray would have blended.
“Vala.” He sighed, and straightened from where he’d been leaning on the cave wall.
I let my hair slide forward in my helmet, trying to obscure my expression. As usual my tongue tied up in knots when he actually spoke to me. I could recite the valuable minerals and metals of every discovered world in front of my entire school, but Jacks stole my words.
He came up to frame the sides of my helmet with his gloved hands. “Vala, as appealing as you are—and trust me, you have appeal in spades—you’re too young for me. You really do have to stop sneaking down here.”
Pulling my helmet out of his hands, I spun around to leave before he could see what his words did to me. The man made me feel like I was turned inside out. I wanted him to feel the same about me so much. I’d been driving my sister and brothers crazy with my moping lately.
“Hey,” he said softly. “You do know I’m seeing someone, right?”
Turning back, I didn’t raise my gaze at first, didn’t want to think about that, about what I’d seen when I’d followed him home the night before. Jacks, pressed against his blond partner, his tongue thrust so far down the man’s throat, I was surprised either of them could breathe. I’d been hit with a razor-sharp jealousy that shredded my heart while at the same time a flood of heat had weakened my legs. But desire was nothing new around Jacks and hadn’t been since the second he’d stepped off a ship onto Kithra. One look and it was like I’d inhaled him into my lungs, brain and heart. He made the blood rush in my veins. Harsh, masculine features that most Gwinarians would find too severe drew me like he’d tied a permanent rope around my body, tugging me along. I followed him—all the time. I couldn’t seem to stop myself. I had for two long years.
Even my mothers and father had asked me to stop.
Humiliation from their last conversation with me caused scorching heat to creep up my neck. I was one of the lucky few who had been chosen for a free ride to colleges on three different planets. They were scared I’d throw that away on someone who didn’t want me. But I didn’t know how to tell them my gut told me he did.
Realizing I’d been staring at his mouth, I slowly lifted my gaze to his, and the brief flash of raw need I caught made my breath freeze. My eyes opened wide.
“Dammit, Vala.” Jacks grabbed my arm and tugged me through the mines. We passed Gwinarians and the humans brought in by The Company to mine kithronite. He didn’t stop until we were upside and he’d pulled me into a rarely used tunnel—one that had air. Shaking his head, he unhooked the breathing tubes to my helmet and pulled it off before doing the same with his own.
I looked up and was snagged, just as I’d expected. Ice-blue eyes stared into mine. His hair, slightly damp with sweat, stuck to his tanned, human skin. I loved the dark brown color of his hair because it reminded me of my favorite Gowlen nuts. Matching stubble framed masculine lips, and I bit my own to keep from touching the whiskers, to see if they were soft or prickly.
He sighed and placed his hands on my shoulders. “You are such a smart, stunning girl, Vala—”
“I turned eighteen yesterday,” I blurted. “Isn’t that the age of consent on your Earths?”
The corner of his mouth tilted up. “Yeah, it is. So that’s why you followed me home last night.”
“You saw me?”
“You think I usually make out with Crichton in a public tunnel?” The muscles in his jaw clenched. “I was trying to show you I have a life, a relationship already.”
“But there can be more than two—”
He tugged off his gloves and place one finger over my lips. “I’m not interested in more. Not right now.”
“But maybe someday?”
The tension left his jaw and he chuckled. “Should have realized you’d latch onto that. Listen to me, Vala. I’m thirty years old and I only plan to be on Kithra another four months. You should be out with friends your own age, having fun. And didn’t I hear you won a big scholarship?”
“But,” I interrupted before taking a deep breath and narrowing my eyes. “You watch me, too.”
He closed his eyes and was silent so long, my heart started beating harder. When he opened them, the resignation there made my lungs freeze. “I know.”
I licked my lips and his gaze dropped.
“You don’t understand your own appeal, Vala. Not yet.”
“But I want to,” I whispered. “I want you to teach me.”
He groaned and took a step away from me, then another.
Jacks wanted me. I saw it in the way his breath picked up, in the way his nostrils flared as he stared hard at me. If anything was going to happen, I would have to make it. I advanced on him, knowing that what I was about to do could change everything. I wanted to change everything. I needed to.
Slowly, hands shaking, I raised them to the latches on my air suit.
Jacks reached out, placed his hands over mine. “No.” The word came guttural and low, and the end of it was a breath over my lips right before he slanted his mouth over mine. Fire erupted in my belly as his tongue slid inside to stroke my own. It was like I could feel him, breathing inside me. Heat swelled in my chest and I wrapped my arms around his neck. He groaned and deepened the kiss, spearing his hands into my hair and cradling my head. That connection I’d felt the moment he’d stepped onto Kithra two years before flared to life. His hands slid down my back and he pulled me compulsively to his bigger body, tucking me against him so tightly, I could feel the slam of his heart against my ribs—through the suits.
He tore his mouth away and rested his forehead on mine. “Damn it.”
The low, murmured words made me smile. I couldn’t help it. He couldn’t resist me. I was right. We had something between us, something my mothers told me rarely happens. “I want you so much I don’t know what to do.”
He pulled back, took his hands from me. “You don’t know what to do because you’re too young. Shit. I had a feeling it would be like that…” He stared at me, a wry smile tilting the corner of lips I knew now, lips I wanted to know even more. I licked my own to taste him again, my gaze clashing with his when he groaned again. “Vala—”
“Please.” I backed away from him, knowing if I didn’t leave him he’d come up with more excuses. Something told me he’d reconsider if I just left him alone. For a day. Maybe two if I could stand it. “I know you feel this—our connection. Think about it. That’s all I ask.” I turned and ran before he could say anything else.
It wasn’t the last time I saw him, but I spent the next nine years wishing it had been.

Product Warnings
A tattooed, broken-hearted heroine discovers M/M/F love is crazy hot when not fighting giant alien lizards or worrying about age differences. And when the senses are narrowed to touch alone behind a massive waterfall? It’s scorching!

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