November 24, 2015
A desire for status has brought Ondry and Liam to a human world to trade, but dealing with humans has brought up all the old pain in Liam’s heart. Even though Ondry would do anything to protect his beloved palteia, he doesn’t know how to protect Liam from himself. Worse, Ondry isn’t sure how to shield Liam from the shifting politics on the Rownt ship where the Calti Grandmothers are nothing like the ones they left behind on the planet.
With everything in their lives changing, Ondry and Liam have only each other. If Ondry can’t find a way to defend Liam from the ghosts of the past and overcome the impossibly short life span of a human, their small family might be over long before either of them is ready to let go. Ondry has always been a dominant and possessive Rownt, and with Liam in danger, those traits are necessary as he challenges the world to protect his lover.
Review at Dear Author
I said before that I know why I love these series and I do – great characterization, sweet guys, and interesting worldbuilding... READ MORE
Review at Joyfully Jay
As this series moves along, I find myself more and more attracted to the relationship between Liam and Ondry. While they are very different and have different logic, they are compatible in so many ways... READ MORE
Prism Book Alliance
A significant difference between this book and the previous two in the series is that this takes place off of Prarownt, with many more humans in the mix. It changes the dynamic and provides opportunity for new experiences for Liam and Ondry, therefore giving me on which to sink my story loving teeth... READ MORE
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
As for depth, well, I loved the nuance of meanings and Ondry’s protectiveness and pride, and the further exploration of the whole concept of palteia and of value. How amazing to be valued so highly–to have someone always willing to listen. Swoon... READ MORE
It's About the Book
This has been my favorite book in this series. Whereas the whole series has been about people falling in love in spite of, or with the help of, extreme cultural differences we now see how those very differences can cause major problems... READ MORE
The door closed behind them, leaving Ondry and Liam in their living quarters. The stress faded away. This was home. It had much of their furniture from Prarownt, and the inner room had the pillows from Ondry’s nest and the mural Liam had chosen to have painted on the walls. Originally Liam had wanted a scene from a scroll featuring one of his favorite Rownt characters, a female trader named Ponec. However, that scene would have included her fighting a pair of mated kawt. Liam didn’t want to tempt fate and Ondry’s limited patience, so he’d chosen a scene from the Ginal stories. It showed Ginal upending a cart full of spices—the wealth of a lifetime—in order to show the foolishness of battle and the destruction the two towns would cause over a property line dispute. The artist who had painted it had turned the streaks of spice in the dust into something both realistic and surreal with red and gold and black staining the brown Prarownt soil.
Ondry stroked Liam’s neck. “Something the female said upset you.”
Liam laughed. “You’re far more upset about her than I am.”
“True,” Ondry agreed, “but irrelevant to my statement.”
Liam leaned into Ondry’s solid frame. He was the center of Liam’s world, but Liam had no idea how the center would hold when they had to deal with humans. Many humans. “Diallo suggests that she thinks in ways compatible with Anla, and we are the only group she can turn to, so she feels drawn to us.”
Ondry paled so fast it was almost as if Liam could see the color drain from his face and arms. “If she thinks as the Anla think, she is not to be listened to. They are a banned species because of their dangerous illogic. We should tell the Grandmothers.” Ondry huffed and then continued in a much more subdued tone. “Which would be regarded as rather arrogant.”
“Good, because I want her around when we have to talk to humans. Wait. Why would that be arrogant? Do you think the Grandmothers already understand Diallo or that they would want to figure it out for themselves?”
Ondry sat on the cushions, tugging Liam down next to him. Their main room was decorated in blues and blacks that reminded Liam of a teenager obsessed with all things outer space, but the cushions were from home and amazingly comfortable. “I think if she is like the Anla, that would explain why she continues to support my status when I have made no attempts to hide my own desire to rip her internal organs out. The Grandmothers can learn a poorly kept secret on their own ship.”
“Does this change your desire to rip out her organs?” Liam asked hopefully. He respected Diallo, and they all needed her. A little less aggression would make life easier.
Ondry’s nose clamped shut. “No!” He pulled Liam to his chest and held him tightly. Liam squirmed until he could get an arm free. He laid his hand on Ondry’s fora and traced tiny circles. The spot on the neck marked the place where an embryonic Ondry had once been attached to his egg lining—the equivalent of a human belly button, only for Rownt the skin was hardwired to some sort of relaxation instinct. Almost immediately, the tension left Ondry’s body. There was an almost addictive quality to the fora—for both of them. The fact that Liam could bring Ondry such pleasure made him feel good.
However, Ondry caught Liam’s wrist in a firm hold. “If you continue, I will be unable to do anything other than crawl to the nest and rumble with pleasure.”
Liam smiled. “That’s a good plan.”
“Not as good as the one I have.” Ondry stood, lifting Liam easily. “I once promised to chain you to my nest and keep you hard all day while you leaked those wonderful scents of yours.” Ondry huffed, and Liam’s cock grew hard at the thought. He loved stroking Ondry’s fora and bringing him obvious pleasure, but he loved the look of pride Ondry would get when he took control of Liam’s body—of Liam’s cock. The amazing sex was a nice bonus too.
“I might like that plan.”
“‘Might’ is the incorrect form of the verb.” Ondry put Liam down and urged him toward the private inner room.
“What verb would you suggest?” Liam started unbuttoning his shirt.
Ondry corrected his grammar. “You will like that plan, or perhaps you are liking that plan.”
“You’re assuming a lot,” Liam teased. Ondry tilted his head for a second, but then he seemed to understand the challenge. He surged forward, caught Liam up, and tackled him right into nest. Liam yelped, but they landed with Ondry on the bottom, and he held Liam close to his chest.
“I do assume a lot,” Ondry said, and his tail slid along Liam’s spine and then pushed past the waistband of Liam’s pants. Liam jerked as the tip teased his hole with a slight flicker.
“You cheat in trades,” Liam said.
Ondry darkened in pleasure. “I do.” He pushed his tail against the ring of muscle and then slid across Liam’s hole and perineum.
Liam shivered with need and arched his back.
“I believe I have evidence my conjugation of the verb is more correct than yours,” Ondry said. Liam might have come up with a witty comeback, only Ondry pressed the tip of his tail against Liam’s ass. Liam writhed, and he lost all interest in witty comebacks or anything else that involved a working brain.
Liam clutched Ondry’s shirt, tugging at it ineffectively. Luckily, Ondry understood. He quickly jerked the shirt off and tossed it outside the nest, and now Liam could run his hands over the muscled form and the soft skin that was slightly cooler than a human’s. Ondry shifted to the side, and Liam slipped off him and onto the pillow to his right. Liam reached for Ondry’s pants, but before he could reach them, Ondry caught him by the wrists and pinned him on his back. When Ondry hovered over him, Liam felt so wonderfully trapped. He needed another word for it because trapped had such negative associations, and Liam loved this feeling. It was love and caring and safety and comfort all in one. Trapped was not fearing the future because Ondry would never let go. Every time Ondry pinned him down, Liam had physical proof that he could trust Ondry to always want him—always hold him close. Sometimes the old fears haunted him, but Ondry’s promise to never let him leave comforted Liam.
Ondry held him firmly for a time, his weight and the shape of the nest confining Liam as effectively as any bondage. “You smell good.” Ondry huffed. He stripped Liam of his shirt and then proceeded to sniff him. That shouldn’t be erotic, but it was. Liam’s cock was getting harder and harder.
“You like the smell of lust,” Ondry said happily. “I like your lust.” Ondry moved Liam’s wrists closer together so he could hold both while he reached for the restraints that lay next to the bed. Ondry had read the information Diallo had given him too carefully. He had asked Liam about hand restraints until he had forced Liam to admit he enjoyed having his hands cuffed. That way he didn’t have to worry about doing the wrong thing and displeasing a partner. Liam had quickly followed up with his desire to have his hands free so he could stroke Ondry’s fora, but Ondry had obtained restraints anyway.
Now he pulled the soft but durable mesh around Liam’s wrists and hands and pulled the bag-like garment tight. A quick knot and Liam’s hands were completely immobilized.
Liam arched his back and groaned in need. “This is cheating.”
“You are my palteia. I cannot cheat you because you are part of me. However, I am happy to overpower you,” Ondry said. He curled his fingers around Liam’s neck and pulled him close while wrapping his tail around Liam’s leg. Liam groaned. He still had his pants on, so Ondry wasn’t rushing to the main event.
Ondry huffed, smelling Liam’s armpit as he tightened his tail. Then slowly Ondry worked the loop of his tail higher and higher until it was so high it was tucked up beside Liam’s balls. Liam squirmed at the promise of sex, but Ondry did not seem to be in any hurry. When Liam’s struggles grew wild, Ondry pinned Liam’s restrained hands.
“Tell me a good memory of Earth.”
“What? Now?” Liam couldn’t think now. Ondry slipped the buttons free on Liam’s pants and then slowly pulled them down.
“You will be here awhile, palteia of mine.” Ondry used his foot to tug Liam’s pants all the way off and then tossed them out of the nest. “So tell me one good memory.”
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