The Betram ritual, when the full moon occurs on the summer solstice, is a sexual rite—and a requirement—for all unbonded Stiyaha of age. The irresistible urge to mate drives their inner beasts. Some succumb and transform, while others hide behind masks. None can escape the compelling need.
For Leonna, Betram offers one night of freedom from a destiny she doesn’t want. Eager to participate, she’s drawn to a formidable male whose tenderness burrows into her soul. Despite discovering she’s below his status, she is caught up in their passionate frenzy, and loses her heart to a male she can never have.
Though reluctant, as an unbonded male, Prince Nicholai must participate in the Betram ritual. Because he fears harming anyone he gets close to, he dons his mask and vows to stay in human form. What he doesn’t expect is the intensity of his hunger for a certain honeyed female hidden behind a disguise. As much as he longs to forget her, he can’t, for she’s unforgettable.
As they raced through the trees, Nicholai caught glimpses of her fine figure. A dark short sleeved shirt fitted her body, accentuating her firm breasts. Long, elegant legs couldn’t hide beneath the short skirt that accentuated her hips. Black gloves covered her hands, extending mid-way up her forearms. Each time he spotted her, he learned more about the female he pursued. She intrigued him, and he intensified the hunt.
He closed the distance in a matter of moments. The excitement of the chase and the thrill of the catch were like a drug in his system. He craved more.
As he took her down, he expected softness and curves. Instead, her delicate skin covered a muscular build that took him by surprise. His beast responded, eager to couple with this strong, virile female. At the last moment he spun, using his own body to cushion their fall.
Ahhhh. Her cry rang in his ears and burrowed down into his soul. A sense of masculine pride and possessiveness filled his chest, a need so raw he couldn’t deny its power over him. A thin veil of red blurred his vision, the power of the full moon on the summer solstice taking its toll on his psyche.
The spongy earth, covered in moss and small bits of grass, provided the perfect blanket of softness.
Cradling her in his arms as he lay on his back, he gazed upon her masked face for the first time.
Vibrant blue eyes encased with long lashes stared back at him through the holes in her disguise. High cheekbones, flushed from her exertion, were visible beneath the edge of her mask. Although her nose was hidden behind the tip of the material, ruby red lips provided enough details to spark his imagination.
After finishing a rewarding career in finance and accounting, it was time for Rosalie Redd to put away the spreadsheets and take out the word processor. She writes Fantasy/Science Fiction Romance inspired by classics from the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres layered with a good, hot dose of romance.
Her debut novel, Untouchable Lover, won or was a finalist in several contests sponsored by local chapters of Romance Writers of America.
She lives in Oregon, where rain is just another excuse to keep writing. When not at her computer, you can find her at Jazzercise, waterfall collecting in the Pacific Northwest, or relaxing with her husband and their pesky cat, Snookums.