My cat Noodle is perched on my lap as I write this post. She’s helped me with promo for Bad Kitty, posing for pictures with the paperback. Don’t tell her she’s not the only inspiration for Xia, my felinoid heroine! Her contribution to Xia and her feline hero Rahal is unshakeable self-confidence. Noodle knows she’s beautiful and lovable, even if at this stage of her life she’s shaped more like a dumpling than a noodle and has a voice that can shatter glass. Likewise, my felinoid characters suffer their share of anguish, but never, like their human partner Cal, doubt that they are hot or that their lovers desire them. Real love? Oh, they have some doubts there, but they never doubt that the others want and like them. They’re so sexy and charming!
Two earlier cats who shared my life also inspired assassin Xia. Gypsy had been a feral. My ex-husband and I gradually tamed her, but she never lost that wild edge. We once caught her cornering a raccoon the size of a beagle. She weighed perhaps five pounds, but that raccoon was cowering and seemed relieved to be rescued by normally scary humans! Like Gypsy, Xia is tiny but deadly, and she can take on much larger opponents. Gypsy, though, never lost all her feral fears—the brave cat who’d hunt anything would run away at the sight of a pair of men’s work boots. Xia, too, is haunted by her past.
Pusheen was half Siamese but tortoiseshell in coloring, a sleek, elegant killing machine who devastated the local bird population. Her contribution, besides the grace she brought to slaughter, was her loyalty. I was her person and she’d protect me. Even if the only way she could figure out to do so was peeing on my ex’s stuff when he and I fought.
Luckily for the plot, Xia has resources an actual cat doesn’t. So when she needs to protect her adoptive family, she comes up with a wily plot that has definite benefits for her.
Of course, Rahal also sees some benefits to it. He’s felinoid himself, after all.
Excerpt (For some background, Rahal has been trying to blackmail Xia’s adoptive parents into being the faces for his anti-slavery campaign. She doesn’t like this plan, as it would interfere with their actual clandestine rescuing of slaves):
“My dads are obvious badasses. I’m petite and adorable and I look like the worst thing I could do is steal your lover, and I’m a trained killer. How is that not terrifying?”
“Point.” He started grinning, a real smile, not an aggressive display of fangs that nonfelinoids might mistake for a smile. “It’s classic cinema—you using the skills you learned as an exploited child to take out other evil people. But it only works if the audience isn’t dumb and so many people are dimmer than dark matter. I’m still leaning toward your fathers.”
He liked the idea. She could tell by his body language, the way his ears cocked toward her, the lilt of his tail. But she needed to sweeten the deal. Time for that good-bad idea.
She’d had sex for far worse reasons, such as I’m bored and I don’t feel like getting arrested tonight so I might as well pick someone up and It’s cold and dreary; why not curl up with someone warm. And since she wanted him as badly as she’d ever wanted anyone, why not? “Let’s put it this way. You agree to my offer, you get me. Any way you want, for as long as you want.”
“I’m not sure it counts as a good bribe,” Rahal said. “I’m all in for sexytimes with you, don’t get me wrong. But you’ve flat out said you’d sleep with me, so I’ll need more than that to consider it a bargain, not just a good time between two people who want each other already.”
Time for a careless shrug and studying her nails nonchalantly. “I never sleep with anyone. Never spend the night. But I will with you if you want. And, yeah, I was going to sex you once. No one ever gets more than once, even if they’re as good as you probably think you are. But you’ll get me all you want if you let Mik and Gan off the hook. No limits.” Then she narrowed her eyes. “If you say no, I’m out the door and you will never touch me again. But if any harm comes to my fathers because of this little plot of yours, I’ll be the one doing the touching.”
“In a life-ending sort of way?”
“In a life-ending sort of way. When you least expect it. I don’t care how tough you are or how good your bodyguards are. Sooner or later, you’ll slip up and I’ll be there.” Not an empty threat, she realized. He was good. He was probably way better than she was. But if he harmed her family, he was dead.
Rahal laughed. It sounded menacing, but mischievous, and definitely erotic. It made her shiver with lust right down to the tip of her tail. She hoped she wouldn’t have to cut off her chance to taste more of the beautiful body she’d enjoyed.
“You are so sexy, Xia. Hot and evil and good at the same time, and good’s something I don’t see enough of. You make death threats seem like the most erotic thing ever. I’ve had plenty and, trust me, they don’t usually affect me that way. So I’ll take you up on this, make you the face of my campaign to stop child abuse and slavery. Leave your dads out of it. In exchange, you’ll share my bed every night for as long as I find it entertaining. Which might be a long time.”
A cold lump formed in her stomach at the words share my bed, but she’d find a way to deal. After all, she’d just told him her deep, dark secret, that she’d been a slave herself. And maybe he’d wear her out so much she wouldn’t be able to find the dark place, so he wouldn’t hear her whimper. “Deal,” she said, extending her hand.
He shook her hand. “Deal. But I can think of better ways to formalize it than a handshake.”
She tried to keep her cool. She really did. But what came out of her mouth was “Great stars, yes. Here. Now.”
When you make the Devil’s bargain, be prepared to take the heat. A lot of heat.
Most of cat-girl Xia’s early memories are repressed, thank the Great Cat Mother. But her body remembers how to kill.
The longer she and her fellow Malcolm crewmates are holed up on lawless Cibari hiding from assassins, the twitchier she gets—until the planet’s insanely sexy warlord, Rahal Mizyar, borrows her skills to take out slavers.
Rahal suspects Xia is his mate, but the human-raised female never learned the finer points of felinoid rituals. The solution: make her fall hard and fast for him, even if it means playing dirty.
Hired to determine if Xia is the long-missing granddaughter of the felinoid prime minister, Cal Janssen has finally tracked her down. Getting past Rahal, though, is a problem—until he’s mistaken for a notorious arms dealer and playboy. And he finds himself the object of both Rahal’s and Xia’s seduction.
When their first mission brings Xia’s memories bulleting back to the surface, she realizes she’s fallen for two men who don’t exist. Running away, however, could be her deadliest mistake.
Warning: Contains an assassin with a swiss cheese memory, a badass warlord who’s getting tired of his own con, and a freelance lawman. Secrets, lies, and hot sex with no rules.
Chronicles of the Malcolm Series blurb:
In the 26th century, humans and numerous alien races share the galaxy. Technology has advanced massively. Old Earth is a vast preserve and museum, and humans have spread to the stars. But some things remain the same. Love, lust, and money motivate both humans and other sentient species. Politics can get ugly. And crime can pay very well indeed.
Meet the wacky crew of the independent freighter Malcolm. They usually succeed in keeping things only a little bit illegal. But then a seemingly legit job goes supernova—and they’re on the run, hiding from assassins, a planetary government, and their own dark pasts.
It’s the perfect time to fall in love!
Teresa Noelle Roberts started writing stories in kindergarten and she hasn’t stopped yet. A prolific author of short erotica, she’s also a published poet and fantasy writer—but hot paranormals and BDSM-spiced contemporaries were her favorites until she realized science-fiction romances offered new possibilities for outrageous adventure, wild sex and love that overcomes serious obstacles, including being from different species! Find her at www.teresanoelleroberts.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTeresaNoelleRoberts, or on Twitter, where she hangs out as @TeresNoeRoberts.