Today we have a blog tour for THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE by Alix Nichols! Check it out and grab your copy today!
Title: THE TRAITOR’S BRIDE
Author: Alix Nichols
Genre: Scifi Romance
About The Traitor’s Bride:
On her untamed gift hinges the future of a planet—and her lover’s life…
A month ago, ex-army Major Areg Sebi was thrown into prison.
Now he’s on the scaffold, laying his head on the block.
No public trial for the disgraced war hero. No cyborgs from the League of Realms to whisk him away.
No help. No escape.
A priestess chants a prayer for the major’s soul, even as a judge cries out, “Death to the traitor!”
In the crowd below, laundry maid Etana Tidryn stares into Areg’s eyes.
His lips were hot against hers last night. His hands roamed her body, worshipped her, pleasured her.
She’s falling for him, hard and fast.
She’s still hoping, even if he’s given up…
Can Etana transcend everything she knows—transcend life itself—to save him?
Can she rise to meet her destiny?
Reverend Goyyem unfolded the light screen they’d used for Etana’s examination.
“Step behind it, undress, and wipe your entire body with these.” Superior Fo handed Areg a humid sponge and a soft towel. “Let us know when you’re done and before you put your clothes on.”
That sounded… worrisome.
Then again, he’d made his choice when he said yes to Etana’s proposal, so he’d better get on with it.
While Areg cleansed himself, Superior Fo said to Etana, “When he’s done, I’ll give him these patience knickers to wear under his nightshirt, and I’ll lock them before I leave for the rest of the evening.”
“Sorry to interrupt, Your Glory, but I don’t have a nightshirt,” Areg said from behind the screen, a hint of sarcasm in his voice. “Iltaqa inmates sleep naked.”
He hoped his remark hadn’t come across as impertinent. This was Abbess Sannya Fo—a stern priestess his late mother’s age—not the young and jovial Prioress Aynu he’d known since they were children. Respect was in order.
“We have brought clean nightshirts for you and your bride, Lord Sebi,” the abbess said.
“Of course you have.”
Why did he ever doubt the vestals? Hadn’t they brought wafers, honey, cleaning sponges, and towels? Not to mention the famously sturdy patience knickers that many a young couple had tried and failed to rip off before the stroke of midnight.
He lathered his armpits, chest and stomach with the remarkably efficient sponge and moved down to his sex.
“May I continue now, Lord Sebi?” There was an unmistakable note of irony in Superior Fo’s tone.
Ha! So, the solemn vestal did have a sense of humor. “Of course, Your Glory.”
“Etana?” The tinge of irony in the abbess’s tone had grown into a full-blown smile, judging by the sound of it. “May I have your attention, please?”
“What? Oh.” Etana’s voice had a different quality, much coarser than usual. “Pardon me, Your Glory,” she muttered.
Poor thing, she must’ve dozed off on the abbess, overcome by fatigue and nerves. Areg smiled, his heart swelling with sympathy for the girl. She’d had quite a day.
“That’s all right,” Superior Fo said, “When you’ve cleansed yourself the same way your husband-to-be is doing now, I’ll lock you into patience knickers, too.”
“Right,” Etana said, her voice still raspy.
“The purpose of these contraptions is to keep the young couple from rushing into carnal love on their wedding night,” Reverend Goyyem said matter-of-factly. “With their sexes inaccessible, they have to spend the first few hours talking. Mild touching and kissing is allowed.”
Sweet Aheya above. It was strange to hear such words spoken by a vestal.
Dabbing the last wet patch on his side, Areg slung the towel over the top of the screen. “I’m finished.”
“Put those on,” the abbess commanded without looking at him and handed him a nightshirt and a tightly woven metal mesh shaped like a pair of cropped breeches.
He slipped his feet into the leg holes of the patience knickers and pulled them up, cringing at the ridiculousness of the contraption. Then he pulled on the nightshirt and walked out.
“Your turn, my child.” Reverend Goyyem waved to Etana to take his place, handing her a clean sponge and a towel.
Superior Fo turned to Areg and held up an ancient-looking key. “Would you lift the hem of your nightshirt, please.”
“Are you comfortable, or is this too tight?” she asked, tightening the waistband of the knickers around his hips.
He stifled a sarcastic smile. “Fits like it was made for me, Your Glory.”
She turned the key, then tugged to make sure the knickers were well secured.
“When Etana is ready,” she said, drawing back, “Reverend Goyyem and I will leave you alone for a few hours, until midnight. You can do what you wish during that time, but we recommend that you talk and get to know each other.”
She went on suggesting various discussion topics, but at some point Areg stopped listening.
More exactly, at the point when his gaze fell on the screen. Lit from behind by the power candles, its fabric had lost its opacity, creating a shadow play effect like the cutout puppet shows he’d seen as a child.
Except, the current show was unsuited for children.
His heartbeat accelerating, Areg feasted his eyes on Etana’s delicate frame, the curve of her pert ass and the swell of her breasts peaking so sweetly into beautifully erect nipples. Nipples that seemed to beg for a gentle rub of his thumbs before he took them, one by one, into his mouth and laved them with his tongue.
Etana hunched her back and kept turning a little awkwardly, as if she knew about the shadow effect and was trying to block her treasures from prying eyes.
“My child?” Reverend Goyyem broke him from his trance. “Are you listening?”
“Huh?” he rasped, barely recognizing his own voice. “Yes. Yes, I am, Your Glory.”
A tiny smile curved the old vestal’s lips just as a realization hit Areg.
Sweet. Aheya. Etana had seen him like this, too, while he stroked and lathered every part of his body, unaware of the backlight. He’d paid particular attention to regions that were now enclosed in metal, wanting them squeaky clean for the occasion.
No wonder her voice had sounded weird. He must’ve shocked the living spirit out of the poor girl. She was an innocent, for Aheya’s sake! If Areg had been the blushing sort, his face would’ve gone up in flames now.
“I will return at midnight,” Superior Fo said, “and unlock both of your knickers. Then you’ll be left alone for the rest of the night.”
He nodded to show he was paying attention this time.
Reverend Goyyem reached behind the screen with a nightshirt and patience knickers for Etana.
“The moment I collect your knickers later tonight,” Superior Fo said, “your marriage will be considered consummated. It will become fully binding in the eyes of the Ra-human law and of Divine Aheya.”
“Understood,” Areg said.
Her face crimson, Etana came out from behind the screen.
Superior Fo locked her knickers and refolded the screen. Reverend Goyyem tucked it under her arm.
“Your next night together will be in a year, my children,” she said in lieu of a goodbye. “Make the most of this one.”
About Alix Nichols:
Alix Nichols is an unapologetic caffeine addict and a longtime fan of Mr. Darcy, especially in his Colin Firth incarnation.
She is a USA Today bestselling (April and June 2017) and Kindle Scout winning (December 2015) author of sexy romance novels that readers describe as yummylicious. According to Romantic Times, her books “will keep you hanging off the edge of your seat”. Kirkus Reviews claims they “deliver pure pleasure”.
At the age of six, Alix released her first romance. It featured highly creative spelling on a dozen pages stitched together and bound in velvet paper.
Decades later, she still writes. Her spelling has improved (somewhat), and her books have topped the Amazon charts around the world. She lives in France with her family and their almost-human dog.
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