Dark Thoughts will be releasing on March 14th (it is available for pre-order now!).
Kralj reached the front gates. They were open. A small group of settlers streamed into the Refuge, entering in the order deemed by Zeb, their leader. He was first. The males were second, the children next and the females last. They were dressed in baggy gray flight suits, their noses wrinkled with distaste, their judgments of the residents and of himself, its Ruler, harsh and unforgiving.
“We must be vigilant.” Although Zeb’s frame was lean, his voice was strong. “We will be surrounded by the wicked and their tools. But we will not touch them. Weapons serve only one master—violence.”
Zeb knew all about the wicked, having been one himself. A former soldier, he had become addicted to the bloodshed, glorying in the killing. Now, the self-righteous hypocrite shunned weapons, blaming them for his weaknesses.
“Violence leads to evil and evil leads to an afterlife of nothingness.” His followers, unaware of their leader’s background, recited. “We will not be tempted.”
Newly arrived on the planet, they had come to the Refuge, a place they regarded as the bastion of evil, to source supplies for their journey.
If they left with all of their limbs, they’d be fortunate.
Kralj pressed his lips together. As long as they obeyed his rules, that was none of his concern.
The last of the settlers, Azalea, a young orphaned female, barely grown, staggered past him, her face pale with exhaustion. The front gates began to close.
The motion pushed a wave of air toward Kralj. On that manufactured breeze was a fragrance, light, delectably feminine, absolutely mouthwatering.
Mate, his beast growled, pressing against his restraints.
She was no mate. Kralj dismissed that ludicrous declaration. The unknown female wasn’t a Beta Taurian Shadow Beast. He’d sense that.
But the aroma had originated outside the settlement’s walls. No other beings had approval to enter.
His curiosity piqued and his beast agitated, he pushed the gates wide open and walked through them, following the scent.
He’s leaving? Orol’s thoughts expressed his surprise.
The reaction was warranted. Kralj only exited the Refuge to impale bodies on the spikes around the walls. That grisly display served as warnings to newcomers of what would happen to them if they broke the rules.
Leaving the settlement compromised its security. The farther he ventured to one side of the Refuge, the less mental coverage the other side had.
Shit. The boss is here. Balvan, the modified humanoid he’d stationed at the gates, was just as shocked by his presence. This can’t be good.
The green giant stood with his legs braced apart and his huge arms crossed. He used his immense size to intimidate others, to guard the entrance.
“Kralj, sir.” Balvan nodded.
“Where is the female?” Kralj gazed out at the white sand dunes. The Refuge was situated in the flat barren wastelands, far from being-concealing rock formations.
There was no sign of their guest.
“Female, sir?” Balvan’s forehead furrowed. “There’s no female.”
Couldn’t he smell her? Kralj took another deep breath of the arid air and his body tightened, his beast rumbling with happiness.
“There is a female.” The aroma was faint but she was out there.
He drew more and more of her scent into his lungs, trying to pinpoint its origins.
“She must be hidden in the sand dunes.” Kralj, for once in his long lifespan, wasn’t certain. He didn’t sense her thoughts. All of the mental noise was beside him, behind him.
Orol scanned the sands. “I don’t see anyone.” He turned to Balvan. “Do you see her?”
“No.” The gatekeeper frowned.
His team offered no assistance. Kralj closed his eyes and focused on the sounds around him.
Balvan and Orol breathed deeply, out of sync with each other. A lighter wisp of a breath, originating from the far right of him, lagged Balvan’s inhalations.
The timing of her inhalations and exhalations had to be deliberate. They couldn’t be a coincidence. She was consciously breathing in time with the male.
Kralj stiffened. “She’s watching us.” The mysterious female was a threat.
“Who is watching us?” Frustration edged Orol’s voice. “And where is she?”
“I don’t know.” Kralj was forced to admit. How could the female have no thoughts? She wasn’t a machine. He could sense and hack into processors and other simulated brains. Her breathing, her tantalizing scent meant she was, at the minimum, partially organic. Even the simplest of creatures had some brain activity.
“You don’t know?” Balvan’s bushy eyebrows lifted.
Kralj gritted his teeth. He normally knew everything, controlled everything. “I’ll find out who she is.” He’d scare her away from his territory.
“Because you don’t know.” Both of the males stared at him.
“Orol, assess the situation from the air,” he commanded. “Balvan, no one gets past you, understand?”
Balvan’s bald head dipped, his expression grave.
It was a serious situation. Kralj had no idea what he was dealing with.
He turned right, stalking between the wall and the pikes he’d erected. The scent strengthened, strengthened, strengthened, then weakened. He took a couple of steps backward. There. It was at its strongest at that point.
Kralj still couldn’t spot her. He’d have to flush her out.
Bracing himself, he sent a blast of energy forward. Sand flew through the air, the wall of granules briefly blocking the sun’s rays, throwing the area into temporary darkness.
That demonstration of his power would have caused many seasoned warriors to flee. The female gasped but didn’t move, remaining concealed.
Who or what was she?
Mate. His beast paced, anxious to meet her, touch her, claim her.
Prey, he corrected. She was dangerous.
“Show yourself,” Kralj boomed, using the universal language, impatient for answers. His lack of knowledge made him uncomfortable, a feeling he hadn’t experienced in many, many solar cycles. “I know you’re there.”
“Do you?” Her voice was as arousing as her scent, hardening his cock. “Was it my breathing? I was distracted by your broad shoulders.”
“It wasn’t your breathing.” Kralj gazed in her direction.
It wasn’t easy to locate his opponent. She had concealed her body with a layer of sand, her goggle-covered eyes barely visible. The female had skills.
And she planned to use them against him. If her intentions were peaceful, she wouldn’t be hiding. “I should kill you now.”
“But you won’t.” The female stood, dusting the sand off her head and shoulders.
A riot of short curls framed an impish face. A black body covering encased her slender form, clinging like a second skin to firm breasts, a toned waist, curvy hips. Daggers were strapped to her chest, thighs, and arms. Guns filled the holsters at her hips. She was tiny but only a fool would discount her.
Kralj recognized her for what she was—a fellow killer.
Can love redeem a monster?
The Refuge is home to some of the most violent beings in the universe. Kralj, its leader, reigns over the remote outpost with terrifying ease, ruthlessly squashing any rumors of rebellion, killing anyone who breaks his rules. Primitive, deadly, powerful, he’s a monster, scarred both on his face and his soul. He has never met a being he couldn’t control.
Until he meets her.
Dita has one mission—to kill the three targets claiming sanctuary within the Refuge. Or so she claims. For the first time in his long lifespan, Kralj isn’t certain of another being’s intentions. The tiny assassin is immune to his powers, her thoughts unreadable. He can’t predict her movements, can’t control her, can’t stop wanting her.
Dita is rare, as unique as he is, and, to keep the residents of the Refuge safe, Kralj will have to kill her. But first, he’ll touch her, taste her, show her how passionate the beast inside him can be.
Dark Thoughts is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance.
The hero might be tall, dark, and scarred but don’t be fooled by his appearance.
He’s truly a monster.
This story is not for readers with delicate sensibilities.