Please welcome author Laurel Richards!
In my SFR novel, A Stellar Affair, I wanted to create a hero who really was a good guy, but a man in the middle of a bad situation. Jack is kind and loyal and stands up for his principles. He’s not afraid to fight or throw a punch once in a while, but he isn’t the typical alpha male you see in a lot of romance books. Thanks to his psychic ability, he’s not only a mind-reader; he’s also empathic. This is a man who definitely relies on his brain, though his smarts come wrapped in a very attractive package.
His psychic abilities are both a blessing and a curse. They allow him to help his people in a time of war and uncover critical intel that could save lives. At the same time, they make having a romantic relationship difficult. A lot of people aren’t comfortable with him being able to read their minds, and knowing everything a woman is thinking and feeling creates a lot of performance pressure.
When Ardra is taken captive and brought to Jack for interrogation, his mental talents let him see Ardra as a beautiful woman and not just the enemy. The more he delves into her mind, the more he falls for her, and that’s a problem in the middle of a war. Jack struggles with loyalty and love, while Ardra tries to sort out where she stands in the conflict. She never wanted to be part of the violence. All she ever wanted was a home of her own and someone to love. Can she have that with Jack?
A Stellar Affair is a sweet/sensual romance set against the backdrop of an interstellar conflict. In this case, men and women might be from different planets, but that won’t stop them from reading each other’s minds.
A Stellar Affair
by Laurel Richards
Sometimes the heart leads and the mind must follow.
Ardra has no idea why she’s been abducted and thrown into a Roimiran interrogation room. She is simply a Tetch botanist on her way to a distant planet, not an enemy spy. She’s scared of the piercing eyes of the mind-reading precept assigned to uncover whatever secrets her mind might be holding. But even more worrying is the strange soul-deep connection between her and her captor.
Jackson Deimos excels at slipping in and out of someone’s memories to retrieve military intelligence deliberately hidden away—even from an unwitting carrier. But Ardra’s brain is a labyrinth of defenses he’s never encountered before. Plus, her beauty shouldn’t be this much of a distraction.
As their battle of wits and wills wears on, their emotions are the first to betray them. But if Jack can’t break through Ardra’s barriers, his superiors will turn her over to someone who will—by force. Leaving Jack having to choose between doing his duty or following his heart.
A white satin divan sat in the middle of the garden. She kissed Jack as they moved toward it and felt the urgent heat of his tongue and lips. He unzipped her dress and let it fall to the ground. Once he removed her undergarments, he gazed at her naked body. Ardra tried to undo the buttons of his shirt, but her hands shook, and he had to help her. When he was as nude as she was, she let her gaze sweep past his waist. She felt her whole body blush as she saw her effect on him.
Jack continued to court her mouth even as he rubbed against her. He dipped her back and pushed her gently onto the smooth bed of satin. There were no sheets, so their skin was bare to the night breeze. He kissed his way down her chest and belly and thigh with lingering presses of his lips. Then he worked his way back up, and she began to tremble in anticipation.
“I’m nervous,” she admitted.
He looked her right in the eye. “I know you are. But you don’t have to be afraid anymore.”
He slipped a hand between her legs, making her gasp. Her lips parted on a sigh as he took his time stroking and preparing her. He planted warm kisses on every reachable inch of her body until her tremors ceased. Once she was panting, he dropped his hips between her legs and pressed inside her. She moaned as he thrust forward, but it was solely a sound of pleasure. He was tender and careful with her as he started to move.
Gradually gaining momentum, he rocked into her beneath the open stars, and she swore she could feel the celestial energy pulsing through her. Jack’s tongue was between her lips, and he grew frantic beneath her encouraging hands. She lost herself in the feel of him moving rhythmically inside her. Their bodies twined—two separate beings sharing one single, unbearable pleasure. It was love and lust, making love and sharing it. She lost track of where she ended and he began and loved that he could read her every desire.
His thrusts grew faster until they both climaxed with a moan.
“Oh!” Ardra woke with a cry and bolted upright in bed.
Her heart was pounding and her nerves still tingled, but she was alone in her confinement room. She marveled that the dream had seemed so real. Then she had to wonder. It had been a dream, hadn’t it?
She thought of Jack and immediately felt the brush of his mind against hers. A jolt of surprise hit her, though she wasn’t sure if it came from him or herself.
“Not a dream,” she said with a groan.
She buried her face in her pillow. It would have been easy to blame him since he was the precept, but somehow she knew this wasn’t his doing. Or at least not his alone. How was she supposed to face him after this mental coupling? Connecting with Jack telepathically and having dream sex with him was more intimate than a simple physical act would have been. It might not have been so embarrassing if…
Ardra sighed. What was the point? No matter how she looked at their situation, she couldn’t see things ending well for them.
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