USA Today Bestselling Author
Her last shot at love just crashed and burned… literally.
Bella signed up for the interplanetary matchmaking cruise hoping for travel, adventure, and maybe a chance at romance. Now she’s crash landed on a strange planet with no one around but a horned, alien hottie who showed up and laid claim to her gear, her ship… and her.
He’s too brash, too pushy, and much too young for her. He’s also not taking no for an answer…
This wasn’t the adventure she imagined, but it might just be the romance of a lifetime, if she can stay alive long enough to enjoy it.
If you haven’t read the first book in this series, I recommend you go back and read it first. It sets up the scenario for the rest of these books.
At the end of Marked for Rage we learned that the plan to free his brothers has gone totally awry. They are now trapped on a planet with no one allowed in or out of the space around it. They are not free but still prisoners.
Bella signed up for this Interplanetary Courtship Cruise looking for adventure and maybe some romance. Now there’s alarms going off and the abandon ship command from the captain. Bella had raced to the escape pod and crashed to the planet’s surface. Now covered in suspension gel that saved her life she tries to figure out what supplies she has and what she needs to do to stay alive until rescue comes.
It’s been a year and Mayhem and his brothers along with Bysshe the android have made this planet more of a home. They have been attacked more than once by mercenaries hired by the verexi or ‘scrawnies’ as they called them. Now it appears another attack is happening. Mayhem, Menace and Strife were working on the roof of Mayhem’s home when the alarms go off. They discover small vessels would land in each of their territories, but the main ship was much further away. The immediate problem would be those close to their homes so that’s where they would head to first.
It didn’t take Mayhem long to find the intruder, He didn’t know what kind of mercenary would come here unarmed but he was going to find out.
This is just one of many favorite scenes.
She stayed where she was, hands raised in what she hoped he understood was a signal of surrender. “I give up. Surrender. Whatever. I’m kinda hoping you don’t kill me, though. Swift or otherwise. If I’d wanted to die, I could have stayed on the Bountiful Harvest. She’s probably at the bottom of a smoking crater by now.”
Big, gold, and grumpy snarled, one side of his mouth curling up to show more fang. He held a bladed weapon in one hand. It was long enough her brain wanted to call it a sword, but who the hells carried a sword these days?
In fact, his entire outfit was like something out of a historical vid. Straps of leather crisscrossed over his chest, and a kilt-like garment made up of thick, overlapping strips of dark leather hung from his hips to the midpoint of his tree-sized thighs.
“How many were aboard? Were other ships involved in this attack? What was the plan this time?” he demanded.
“Attack? No, no. I was a passenger on a matchmaking cruise. You know, one of those ‘see the galaxy, find your soulmate,’ type things. I’m not a soldier. Even if I wanted to fight, what military would want someone my age?”
“Matchmaking cruise?” His expression was one of utter bafflement. Not a surprise. The way he looked, he clearly didn’t need any help finding romantic partners. In fact, he probably had a waiting list.
She racked her brain to try to come up with an explanation that didn’t sound pathetic and quickly realized there wasn’t one. “Single women pay to travel together and visit other worlds. At every stop we’d have a few days to meet and mingle with prospective males looking for mates. That’s it. So, unless you’re afraid of being invaded by a bunch of single women, you’ve got nothing to worry about.”
He didn’t look convinced. “Why are you here?”
“Honestly? I have no idea. One second, everything was fine, the next… Boom. Our ship’s star-drive failed or exploded or something and we fell back into normal space. The next thing I knew, we were all told to abandon ship.” She jerked with her thumb toward the banged up remains of her escape pod. “I’m alone. I don’t know if any of the others made it. There were other passengers and a small crew.”
Reality finally dawned on her, or more accurately, reality came crashing through the bubble of denial she was living in and shattered it. Her ship had crashed. Everyone else might be dead or injured. And unless someone managed to get off a distress call, no one knew she was here.
Her knees threatened to buckle, and she decided to sit down before she fell over. She took a careful step backward and then another, keeping her eyes on her demon the whole time.
“I need to sit down. I’m not armed. I just… they’re gone. That hadn’t sunk in until now.”
Something that might have been concern flickered across the male’s features. The black lines that marked his forehead from mid-brow to his hairline made it hard to be certain, but he didn’t tell her to stop moving.
She went back to the same mossy rock she’d been on before and sat down with a sigh. “Thank you.”
“For not killing you? I haven’t yet, but I still might.”
She barked with laughter and lowered her hands to her lap. “Sure thing. Until then, thanks for letting me sit down.”
“You have no weapons? At all?” He was moving again, prowling around the crash site with a smooth, gliding motion that reminded her of old vids she’d seen about long-extinct hunting cats back from Earth. Everything he wore was rustic and looked handmade. The kilt, the sword, the spear she could see strapped to his back. No shirt, only a few leather cross-straps and a couple of bands of leather tied around his biceps, holding two daggers in place.
He had sections of hardened leather bound to his lower legs, too. Greaves? She had no idea where she’d read the word, but it felt like the right one. Whoever he was, he’d come here dressed for combat not conversation. Though at least he had a translator. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be conversing at all.
“No weapons. No shelter either.” She gestured to the punctured emergency shelter. “I do have some food and things. Hungry?”
She didn’t have anything else to offer him. Whoever he’d come here expecting to find, she wasn’t it. She couldn’t give him answers, so she’d have to hope he was open to bribery.
“You hunted already?” He cocked his head to one side, his amber eyes narrowing. “I thought you said you had no weapons. Or did you throw your shoe at something else before I got here?”
Was that a note of humor she heard? She hoped so. “I never said anything about hunting. I was talking about rations. There should be some in that container over there. Shall I check?”
She knew his answer before she’d voiced the question. He didn’t trust her enough to let her do anything of the sort.
“No. I will look. You stay where you are.” He sheathed his blade and went over to the container, keeping one eye on her as he bent to unlock the top and sort through the contents.
With him distracted, Bella took the time to get a better look at him. His hair was dark at the roots but faded to a tawny blond by the time it reached his shoulders. The cut was shaggy and uneven, as if his barber had been into the booze between clients. Or maybe he’d done it himself. He had a short beard not much longer than the fur that covered the rest of his body. It was thick, but she could still make out the high cut of his cheekbones and the hard line of his jaw beneath. His eyes were incredible. They were slightly rounder than a human’s would be with no visible whites. Only the deep amber color of the iris around a jet-black pupil, all of it marked with a line of pure black fur that would have made a make-up artist jealous.
While she admired the view, the big alien went through the supplies. Food packets, water canteens, a first-aid kit and more were pulled from the container. He briefly examined and sniffed each item and then dropped it onto the pile growing at his feet.
He took a little more care with the flare gun and what looked like a fire starter, but after that she didn’t recognize much. It wasn’t surprising she didn’t know what half the stuff was. Most of her adult life had been spent as the kept woman of a dangerous and very wealthy man. What she knew about survival gear could be written on the back of a cocktail napkin and still have room for a game or two of hangman.
“This has many useful things,” her demon announced as he lifted the last item out and held it in his hand. “This is a transponder. Yes? An emergency beacon?”
“It is. Once we activate it, someone will come looking for me.”
“No.” He threw it against a large rock with enough force to crack the casing. Before she could say anything, he had his spear in hand and used the butt end to smash the transponder repeatedly. In less than a minute it was nothing but scrap.
“That was my only way off this planet!” she yelled at him. Probably not the smartest thing to do, but dammit, he’d destroyed her best chance of rescue. Unless the escape pod had its own beacon…
She looked that way before she could stop herself, and demon-guy followed her gaze.
“The ship has a tracker too?” “No. I mean. I don’t know. It’s an escape pod. I don’t know how it works.” Her words came out too rushed to be believable. She needed to get her shit together right the hells now, or she was going to end up dead out here. She took a swift breath, squared her shoulders, and got to her feet.
“Look. Can we start again? My name is Bella, and I’d be grateful if you stopped breaking my stuff.”
Hayes, Susan. Marked For Mayhem: An Alien Fated Mates Romance (Crashed And Claimed Book 1) (Kindle Locations 272-331). Black Scroll Publications Ltd.. Kindle Edition.
Going through Bella’s emergency pack, Mayhem destroys the portable transponder, and demands to know how to disable the one on her ship. It’s when she almost falls that Mayhem realizes something else. Bella is his.
There are many tense moments in this book, a scary planet for Bella and Mayhem only intrigues her more as things rapidly heat up between them.
This is a fun, sexy, page turning read, I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Susan!
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Susan lives on Vancouver Island, off the Canadian west coast where the waters are patrolled by orcas, and the sighting of snowflakes leads to citywide panic. She’s jumped out of perfectly good airplanes on purpose and accidentally swum with sharks on the Great Barrier Reef.
If the world ends, she plans to survive as the spunky, comedic sidekick to the heroes of the new world, because she’s too short and out of shape to make it on her own for long.