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Tales of the Citadel


Shattered Light

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #0
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Soul Keeper

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #1
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Zeyan has lived in the shadows, keeping her talent to herself. When she tries to reach out to console a grieving l...

Zeyan’s head still ached and her skin was too tight, but the healer’s pain was far more obvious than hers was. She moved to help the woman as the healer struggled to stay upright.

They moved together and exited the shuttle.

The sunset was just taking hold and there was a peace that ran through the very air.

Three figures in robes approached them and asked Fury, “What happened?”

“The healer made contact with your new student and collapsed.” Fury handed her over.

The contact healer tried to smile. “It was more than I expected.”

Zeyan was embarrassed. “I am sorry. I have never done anything of that nature before.”

One of the robed figures, a male with wavy blond hair and pointed ears, smiled at her, gently taking her arm and leading her toward the doors. “What did you do, my dear?”

“Her touch was looking for pain, so I gave it all to her. I didn’t know she wasn’t prepared for it, so I took it back, but it was too late.” She could feel the blush as they stared at her.

The healer nodded. “It was more than I was braced for, but if you walk around with that all day, you are definitely in the correct place.”

Her companion helped her to the interior of the building and Zeyan was left with the Guardsmen and the two other robed figures.

She didn’t know what to do, but when she felt a touch on her mind, she straightened and slammed it back at its owner. The woman on the end swayed and blinked rapidly. “That was sudden.”

“I am not used to…why are you trying to touch my mind?”

The male with the pointed ears smiled. “We are merely trying to determine the nature of your gifts.”

She crossed her arms and scowled. “Fine, take me to a dead body and I will show you.”

Zeyan has lived in the shadows, keeping her talent to herself. When she tries to reach out to console a grieving loved one and is summarily arrested by her people she finds life and a new start in the Citadel, as the Soul Keeper.

Zeyan has been banished by her own race and her talents have developed under the careful eye of the instructors at the Citadel. When a psychic plague breaks out that shatters the mind body connection, the locals call the Sector Guard and they, in turn, call the Soul Keeper. It is time for her to return home.
Orenn has envied his cousin Fenn’s life and love in the Sector Guard. As a telepath at the Citadel he recognizes a powerful will when he sees it and when Zeyan looks into his eyes, he also sees his future stretching before him, with her at his side. He had no idea it was going to be the other way around.

 
Price: $3.99
Wrapped in Thought

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #2
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Espionage was never something offered to Aliiva as a career path until the Citadel came for tea.   A t...

Baengar Lekkal was exhausted. Two weeks working with Sector Guard extraction teams had worked on his nerves and his body with equal measure.

As he walked up the pathway to the Morganti Citadel, Apprentice Kalo came to him and took his bags.

“What is it, Kalo?”

“Turnari needs to speak with you about a new recruit.”

The exaggerated calm of Kalo’s tone was not lost on Baengar. “What is up, Kalo?”

The younger man grinned. “You have got to hear it to believe it.”

His curiosity overrode his exhaustion. “Turnari had better be more forthcoming than you are.”

Kalo chuckled. “I will drop your bags in your rooms. Shall I dump them for a cleaning cycle?”

Baengar gave him a dark look and the younger man moved down one of the corridors. Stomping down the halls, he reached the coordinator’s office and knocked on the door.

“Come in, Baengar.”

Turnari raised his head and rubbed at his forehead, his horns gleaming in the light of his lamps.

“What is up, Turnari?”

“We have a situation. Have a seat. The tea is fresh.”

Baengar took a seat at the table set with two places and poured himself a cup of tea and a glass of water. Munching on a sandwich, he waited for the facility manager to finish his notes. Turnari got to his feet and joined Baengar at the table, his frame taxing the small chair.

“Now, Baengar, let me preface this by saying that I know you have sworn off taking personal apprentices, but we have a situation.”

He sipped at his tea and waited for the Dhemon to continue.

“We have a recruit and she has a peculiar and amazing talent. She needs hand-to-hand and weapons training.”

Baengar sipped at his tea and leaned forward. “How long has she been here?”

“Ten days.”

“And you haven’t started her training?” That was a bit of a surprise. Normally, an asset would begin immediately training to master their talents and whatever skills they needed to go with it.

Turnari rubbed his forehead again. “I didn’t say that. She has gone through three instructors. They all refused to work with her again.”

Espionage was never something offered to Aliiva as a career path until the Citadel came for tea.

 
A talent for knowing what folks were thinking was something Aliiva had come to terms with, but leaving her home and using those skills at the Citadel was not something she was prepared for.
Learning etiquette, deportment and self defense becomes her focus, but when the combat instructors keep running away, what is she supposed to do?
Returning from a harsh assignment, Baengar is not very keen to take on a new apprentice, until he sees Aliiva. Making sure that she is prepared to take on whatever comes her way is his primary concern. As they get to know each other, the concern shifts into something much more intense, and when they are sent on a mission together he knows that they have a destiny beyond their duty.

 
Price: $3.99
A Healing Caress

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #3
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Exotic and talented, Bren wants nothing more than to get her hands on the man who saved her and subject him to her...

Tracker continued his determined stride until they were actually inside the shuttle and he sealed it before he released her. “I apologize, but he wasn’t going to let you pass. Therin was on his way.”

She froze in surprise. “How do you know that?”

“I am a Tracker. Once I attach to a target, I keep it on my sensory web.” He gestured to the navigator station. “Please have a seat. We will get under way as soon as we can get clearance.”

Bren quickly strapped in and waited, facing the most technology she had ever seen. Everything was so shiny and bright. The ship was as new as the section of the Alliance that had spawned it.

The Sector Guard had been in operation less than two years, but already, they had saved lives that numbered in the billions. Entire planets had benefited from their existence and a few species even had collector items based around their own Guardsman.

Bren had seen the figures and holograms in the local markets as well as with younger travellers who were passing through. “Where is your partner?”

Tracker’s voice was a little surprised. “I don’t have one. Why?”

“I thought all of the Guardsmen were in teams.”

“No. Not yet. We all find our partners when the time is right.” Tracker’s voice was amused. He slid into the pilot’s seat and arranged for clearance.

“Oh.”

“Don’t worry. It is a common question.”

The magnetic lifts gripped the shuttle and moved them into the launch area. Bren couldn’t believe it. She was actually going to fly through space.

 

Exotic and talented, Bren wants nothing more than to get her hands on the man who saved her and subject him to her healing caress.

Brenawyn has lived life with one goal, survival. When Tracker of the Sector Guard lands on her planet she tries to buy herself some time at his expense and ends up with him and travelling to the Citadel.

Training and teaching for four years, no one is more surprised than Bren when Tracker comes in, his body desperately needing her attention.

After the healing he gives her another option, instead of languishing at the Citadel she can join him at Teklan base.

She keeps him in suspense for the entire nine seconds that it takes her to make up her mind, and then they simply have to negotiate for her freedom. Easy.

 
Price: $3.99
Fighting Sanity

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #4
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Being a bastard on Bassinor has been difficult enough, but Erinii Zakkata has always done her duty to family and t...

Four years. She had been here for four years. She rubbed at her eyes as her mind cleared and she was able to see her situation with intense clarity. Her talent flickered weakly, wrapping around her and shifting the contents of her chamber in short jerks. The vents in her ceiling popped and she cursed. Just a little more time and she would have been able to work something free. She had no idea where she would run, but she wanted so desperately to be free.

Erinii Zakkata stared at the blank walls of her cell. She could hear the cries and moans of the other imprisoned talents through the stone that surrounded her in the power-segregation facility.

Thick green mist was pumped in through the vents and as she breathed in, the grim surroundings faded away. She was off to her mind-crafted world and the creatures her brain used to keep her company.

 

* * * *

 

Erinii sat up and smiled at the bright and cheerful environment that surrounded her. Birds twittered, the nearby brook babbled and she was free to wander around serenely in the hallucination that her mind had woven for her.

Ahead of her, a wall opened and one of the squid faces came forward, pausing at a respectful distance. He was wearing a purple squid on his face today and it contrasted sharply with his bright blue eyes.

“Zakkata, please come and have your meal.” His voice was muffled as the squid faces always were.

She got to her feet, her pretty gown weaving itself out of nothing to drape to the tips of her glittering shoes.

“Who are we today, Zakkata?”

She smiled politely and curtseyed toward him. “I am a princess, of course.”

“Very good. Your tea party awaits, my lady.”

He walked with her down the hall to where fascinating creatures cavorted and frolicked, some letting out the most horrible screeches while throwing their food around.

She sat gracefully at her table, accepting her tray with a gracious smile. The squid face that delivered it didn’t speak, but she could feel its disturbing scowl underneath the creature that wrapped its face.

She sipped at her tea, frowning at the tepid brew. She was about to ask for a hotter pot, but the two squid faces near her were in deep conversation.

“They have been asking for her, you know.” The server was muttering while darting worried glances toward Erinii.

“Have you heard what they want?” Her escort stood with his arms crossed loosely over his chest.

“No, but someone outside our government is making inquiries. How they learned she was here is a mystery.”

 

Being a bastard on Bassinor has been difficult enough, but Erinii Zakkata has always done her duty to family and that was what landed her in the facility to begin with. Gassed into a hallucinogenic state, she has spent four years trying to swim out of the fanciful creations of her mind, and with a little intervention from a familiar face she manages to find reality again. Or did she?

Until she can find a way to escape she has to appear to be a madwoman in a psych facility, and when the role comes far too easily, she has to wonder if she has made it out of her nightmares or is she still trapped in her own mind, living out an escape that seems far too good to be true?

A representative from the Citadel is now featuring heavily in her fantasies, but is he real or just another illusion to keep her from escaping her imprisonment?

Time and a heavy detox will tell.

Price: $3.99
A Hunter's Dream

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #5
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Iris has been a prime hunter to her people, but when the Citadel calls can she refuse the chance to go stellar wit...

Iris rode Teddi up to the gates of the Citadel outpost Keroa. The two men on guard in their smoke grey and black robes greeted her. “Welcome, traveller. How may we help you?”

She dismounted from her rhesh and looked at them in turn. “I understand that someone at the Citadel has been looking for a morinial. I decided to audition for the position.”

One of the men stepped forward and held out his hand, palm up. “Allow me to lead you inside, candidate.”

“And read my talent at the same time? Certainly. Take my hand, Teller, and determine if I am a freak by Keroa standards.” She put one hand out and kept her other on the reins.

“Harvin will take your rhesh for you and get it something to eat.” The other guard took Teddi and led him into the compound. The gates shut and locked with their guards inside.

Iris was inside the Citadel and she had to find out why folk were looking for her. In her eleven years as an active talent, or morinial, no one had ever come looking for her for anything other than her skill as hunter. Some days, anything new was interesting.

The outpost was small, it held twenty members of the Citadel who involved themselves with the community and used Keroa to propel themselves to the outer planets of the system.

Few Keroans had ever been inside the buildings, so it was fascinating to see them up close.

The guard who had a grip on her hand suddenly looked nervous. She came to the awareness that he had just determined her talent.

“Don’t worry. I have not accidentally discharged my blades in almost a decade.” She chuckled at his small sigh of relief.

“Thank you. When awareness of your talent struck, I was pointedly focused on where your hand was.”

Iris almost hooted with laughter, but she restrained it to a light snigger.

They passed into the main building and the guard took her to an office. He knocked on the door. “Administrator. There is someone here to see you.”

“Come in.”

The guard left her with a bow and she opened the door in front of her. Two creatures were inside and since Iris had never seen an alien before, she had to guess at what they were based on Alliance information streams.

Two men turned to her, one crimson and one bronze, both with savage features. She grinned at them and inclined her head. “Gentlemen, I believe that I am the morinial you are looking for.”

 

Iris has been a prime hunter to her people, but when the Citadel calls can she refuse the chance to go stellar with her talent? Of course not.
 

Price: $3.99
Bound by Law

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #6
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Col wants nothing more than normality, but being forced to fly in public causes her to be bound by law.  ...

Colah shouted when the icy burn of the bullet ran through her left shoulder and knocked her off her tenuous perch.

She heard screams from Cabbili and Makki but was unable to concentrate on anything other than saving her own life.

Making a choice between life and freedom in a hundred feet was no contest. If she had her life, she could pursue freedom later.

With the propulsion of muscle and mind, she changed her trajectory and lifted her body into the air in a graceful arc. She returned to the rooftop where her sister and niece were clutching each other, sobbing together.

“Cabbi, I am so sorry. They will come for me right away, but know that I love you both and always will. Makki, do your homework and always listen to your mom. She may not be right, but she deserves respect for putting up with your dad all these years.”

Makki sobbed and then smiled, “Aunt Col, you can fly.”

“Yes, sweetie, I can fly. And now, I can be arrested with as much dignity as I can manage.” She pressed a kiss to Makki’s forehead and hugged her sister.

The door to the roof burst open as the guards surged in to round up any residual thieves. Once they determined that there was no additional danger, the guard in charge approached her.

He held out wide manacles and gestured for her to turn around. As he locked her arms behind her back, he spoke the words she had been dreading for years. “As you are a physical talent, I now order you to be bound by law and remanded to the dome for confinement. Your restriction begins immediately.”

Col wants nothing more than normality, but being forced to fly in public causes her to be bound by law.

 

Physical talents are illegal on Resicor, they fear an uprising and so lock their active talents away.

Col knows her talent for flight can get her arrested and if she dares to show it in public, her life will end in the dome.

A robbery at a museum ends up with her being thrown off a roof and it is fly for her life or die a free woman. She negotiates with herself swiftly and decides that freedom might be possible if she can live to see it.

Ysyr is on retrieval duty when he meets his first Resicor and she knocks him and his instincts on their backsides. Life with this woman might be awkward, but being without her is intolerable from the moment she put her trusting hand in his.

Price: $3.99
A Limitless Sky

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #7
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Flying is her dream, a limitless sky is her destiny and a seer is her partner. The future is going to blow. &n...

The knock at the door was expected. Ikari got to her feet and finished chewing her mouthful of breakfast.

“Hey, doc, you are early. You normally come after I finish eating, not during.” She swung the door open and found herself face to face with members of the guard of Resicor.

Her mother gasped, and her father was behind her in an instant. “Why are you here?”

The guard captain held out his hand, and an image appeared.

Ikari winced as the image of her hovering low over the recalcitrant animals and herding them home with a handheld floodlight leading the way. Her face in the image was lit with a spooky gleam.

The next guard held up wide manacles, and the captain said, “Ikari Quono, you are under arrest for the use of a physical talent. You will be confined and remanded to the dome.”

She fought the urge to run with everything in her. Her parents would be injured if she tried to leave and that was not going to happen.

Steeling herself, she extended her hands and allowed the guard to put the manacles on her. “I am sorry, Mom. I never meant for this to happen. It is my fault and don’t forget that.”

Her father gripped her mother’s hand tightly, and the guard led Ikari away.

 

The ride to the confinement centre was tense, and Ikari remembered all the stories that she had heard of physical talents being hauled off and never seen again. Sure, they were ostensibly allowed visitation with their families at least once a year, but what if they didn’t survive until the visit?

She sat and bit her lower lip until it bled. Her life on the farm was getting further away with each passing minute, and her heart was starting to ache already.

“Can I make some calls?”

The guard across from her blinked. “Who would you call?”

“My aunt and uncle. My parents need help with the farm. The calving is happening, and they need assistance.”

“You are about to be locked in the dome and you are concerned about the farm?” the man raised his brow.

“Is there a better time to be worried about my family than when I know I will not be able to help them?”

 

Flying is her dream, a limitless sky is her destiny and a seer is her partner. The future is going to blow.

 

Ikari has enjoyed life on the family farm until a neighbour turns her in for being a talent, from that point on, things spiral rapidly beyond her control.

 

She is put in a restrictor suit, shipped off world and sent to Teklan base to try to remove the suit without killing her.

 

Ikari has an assignment as the courier on Dorali, and her new partner is waiting.

 

Khivon has known his flier was coming to him for over a year, but when she shows up and her eyes spark memories of far-off nebulas, he feels his instincts taking over when his logic should have been holding fast.

Price: $3.99
Call the Moon

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #8
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Naka can use her mind to destroy a world, or she can save it. When nothing seems right, she calls the moon. &...

Naka spent her afternoon working on her small, personal garden. The only foods she could identify easily were herbs, so that is what she planted.

She was on her way inside when her suit spoke to her.

“Naka Gwyn, please report to the entrance. You are being recalled.”

“What?” She blinked at the herb garden around her.

“Report to the entrance immediately. You are being moved to another holding area.”

Naka looked around to see if one of the others was using a voice talent to throw her off. There was no one near her plot.

She washed her hands quickly. No sense having dirt under her nails when she went wherever it was that she was going.

Wahli was in the lane when she walked past. A sobbing young woman was leaning against her. “Naka, where are you off to?”

“I just got a notice from my suit that I am needed at the entrance. Something about being reassigned.”

Wahli stopped in her tracks and stared, “Are you sure?”

“I haven’t been here long enough for the walls to talk to me. It has to be my suit and that means the guard. Either I will be gone or I am facing a move, not that I have heard about any other facility on Resicor to house physical talents.”

Wahli frowned. “There isn’t. Can you wait?”

A voice emanated from Naka’s suit. “Naka Gwyn, report to the entrance immediately!”

Naka winced. “He sounds pissed. A hug for good luck?”

Wahli put her charge aside and gave Naka a quick hug. Her huge eyes got even wider as their skin connected arm to arm. “That explains it then. Good luck and long life. You deserve it.”

Naka grinned and waved goodbye as she passed the first and last talent to greet her in the dome. The archway was ominously silent. She entered the narrow hall, reaching the electronic curtain swiftly. Her touch on the screen let her hand pass through, and closing her eyes, she rushed the rest of her body through the tingling barrier.

When she was in the normal air again, she opened her eyes to see a world-weary stranger waiting for her. Behind her, the barrier whined into full strength, so she stepped quickly into the antechamber where she had protested her lack of physical talent for the last time.

“Naka Gwyn?”

She stared at the man, his horns reflected the minimal light in the space. His skin was deep red, hair black and woven into minute braids tipped with silver bands. She didn’t look at the half dozen guardsmen that had guns trained on her, this stranger took up all her senses.

“Are you Naka Gwyn?” The man was impatient. His sensuous lips were flattened in displeasure.

“I am.” Her instinct was to curtsy for some reason, but she held back and lifted her head.

“Come with me. We have a ship to catch.” He held out his hand, and the dark robes he wore slid back to expose a heavy metal cuff on his wrist. It had an ornate pattern on it that she would have loved to explore, but his impatience was palpable.

With a feeling of finality, she placed her small, pale hand in his larger burgundy grip, and he closed his digits around hers, turning and simply walking away from the dome.

She felt ridiculous as he hauled her along the barren flats toward a shuttle. Her mind screamed a thousand insults at his back during their journey. She hated being treated like a child.

When they entered the shuttle, she noted that it was geared for his body, his height, the breadth of his shoulders, everything was meant for someone of his physical presence. She felt like a child in the seat next to the pilot’s controls, but she let him buckle her in place for the journey.

Her life had ended the moment that they put the suit on her, so wherever she was going now was bound to be an improvement on jogging through a dead city to keep her mind out of the planet’s crust.

It had been such a little earthquake, after all.

 

Naka can use her mind to destroy a world, or she can save it. When nothing seems right, she calls the moon.

 

 

Naka was adrift with no means to focus, but accidentally starting a tremor in her hometown lets everyone know what she is and sentences her to confinement. The Citadel sends a representative to take her away, but the information that he is given will make sure that she finds no friends off Resicor.

Her life is no longer her own, but her talent begs to be used, and on the planet of Piq, she finds something very wrong. The empty world should not be empty. Its mind has been stolen and lodged in the moon. In his efforts to escape, the living mind of the planet has almost ripped his old body apart. With skills she didn’t know she had, Naka steps in to carry one mind back to its home. She hopes she will survive the process.

Price: $3.99
Called to Power

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #11
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Syrella was born to nobility and cursed by her talent. The last thing she expected was to be called to power. ...

A chill of nerves ran through her as she hiked up the path that would take her to the com centre. In her twenty years at the Citadel, Thoola Education Centre, she had gotten four calls. The first two were from her mother telling her how proud her mother was that she was doing well. The third had been the notification that her mother was dead, the fourth communication was that her father was dead. It had been years since she had heard anything from her home world.

Saluthic was a quiet world in the Vexar Empire. Technically, Syrella was the Duchess of Saluthic now, but it was an empty title with her father’s properties entailed to one of his male relatives.

There was something about not knowing the person who was calling her that sent a ripple of unease down her spine.

She nodded to a few instructors and their students as she passed through the main hall. Autumn on Thoola was a good time for new intakes. If they could adapt to the harsh winters, they improved their character dramatically.

Syrella moved through the familiar halls until she was standing outside the com centre. With a deep breath and a serene expression plastered over her features, she opened the door.

Tuubi was on the com today, and she got to her feet, winking as she patted Syrella on the arm. It was obviously a private call.

Syrella sat at the station and keyed in her pass code. The face that popped up on screen was familiar in that it was Vexar. Aside from that, she had no idea who she was looking at.

The woman was matronly with her hair up in a formal coil. “Syrella? Is that you?”

Syrella blinked. “I am Syrella. Who am I addressing?”

“Lady Algiatha Loesh Nevic, your grandmother.”

Shock ripped a hole in Syrella’s heart as she stared at the woman who had given birth to her father via contract and waltzed out of his life as soon as another offer presented, rarely seeing her son from that moment on.

“What can I do for you, Lady Nevic?” Syrella wanted to get off the com as quickly as she could.

Lady Nevic frowned as if the conversation was not going as she had planned. “Oh, well, I have been asked to tell you that you have to return to Vexa. The entire line of succession is dead, and you are all that is left.”

“What?”

“You are the new Empress of the Vexar Empire.”

Lady Nevic’s bright smile had an effect she wasn’t counting on. Syrella cut the communication and lost her lunch in the wastebasket. Not a good move for the new empress.

Syrella was born to nobility and cursed by her talent. The last thing she expected was to be called to power.
 
Syrella was a talent in a noble family where talents were not normally accepted. Her parents decided that learning how to control her skills would be better for her than being shunned at home, so they sent her to the Citadel school at Thoola. Sy learned everything she could, including the surprising side benefit to her talent and shifted from student to instructor as the years passed.
Sy receives a call that changes her life. She is the last inheritor of an ancient throne, and she must leave the Citadel immediately.
Dorium is the bodyguard that the Citadel assigns to her and he just happens to be the man that Sy has had a crush on all her life.
Death threats, greedy nobility and facing a deadly grandmother are all precursors to the one thing she is looking forward to, the Vexar Day of the Dead.
Price: $3.99
Crisis Management

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #12
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

She shuffled forward with the others in minute increments until she was finally facing the registration officer.

“Hello, miss. May I have your name?” The woman’s skin was a soft pale pink and her baby blue eyes were soothing.

Dev cleared her throat. “Devani Jarix.”

“Devani, what do you believe your talent to be?” The woman’s fingers were poised over the icons on her data pad.

Dev looked around and relaxed when there was no one near the kiosk. “Um. I am bullet proof and I can lift large weights.”

The woman raised her brows. “How large?”

“Two tons is my current limit.” Dev shifted from foot to foot.

“Are you willing to prove your talent?”

Dev nodded. “Yes. There are also local news reports that should be easily accessible.”

“You have been in the news?”

“Not willingly, but yes. I seem to stumble into trouble.”

“Just a moment.” The woman’s fingers moved rapidly and she raised her brows with an impressed expression on her features. “I see. You will be meeting with a recruiter immediately. Please take this locator and have a seat through those lavender doors.”

Dev took the palm sized disk and walked past the other kiosks, smiling when she realized that she couldn’t hear anything as she passed. The kiosks were sound proofed.

She pushed open the lavender doors and walked into the waiting room with the small disk in her hand.

There were some chairs set along one wall but no one else in the room. Dev took her seat and waited. A door on the other side of the room opened, causing Dev to raise her head.

It was male, tall, and was wearing an armoured body suit in black and gold. “Devani Jarix?”

“Yes.” She got to her feet and noted the width of his shoulders. Two of her could stand side by side and might just be the same width.

He smiled and his scarlet skin darkened against the white of his teeth. “I am Helsin, please come with me.”

He gestured for her to walk with him and she paced at his side as they entered the door he had come through. He spoke again. “While ostensibly this is a recruitment drive for the Citadel, we are looking for those who can work in concert with Udell base. The nearest moon has a new Citadel outpost and having additional members available to help in a pinch is always useful.”

She nodded as if his words made sense to her. They didn’t.

He chuckled. “Don’t worry. I am taking you for some medical testing to determine the extent of your talent. Most of those applying today are weak talents, at best. To find someone who has your skills is remarkable.”

She spoke, “Don’t be too impressed. The press put it all out of proportion.”

He smiled and his bright yellow eyes sparkled. “And yet you mentioned being impervious to projectile weapons in your initial statement. That shows some pride.”

“It shows desperation. I have no social life here, my friends keep their distance, the requests for interviews are constant and I have no inclination to live my life as a law giver when it has to be a life alone.”

“Why must it be alone?”

“No male of my acquaintance was comfortable with me after I moved the bus to free the passengers. I am regarded as a freak in my daily life and I am tired of the stares and whispers.”

He paused, “So what is it that you seek at the Citadel?”

“I seek to be with exceptional beings who know what it means to be alone in a room full of their own kind. That’s all. Just the company of equals instead of being looked down on.”

Price: $3.99
The Duty of Pain

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #13
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Taking pain from those in need cost her nothing until her freedom was ripped away and a life of adventure was offe...

Alda-Xeri stared out the window and watched the people below going about their lives. Bright colours, chatting to loved ones and laughing and crying in equal measure. She envied them in every way. They had freedoms that they didn’t even know existed—freedom to live, love and enjoy companionship as they saw fit.

She heard thunder in the distance and raised her head, staring at the incoming clouds. The moment she heard movement at the door, her back tensed.

“Are you ready?” Inor-Thak, the high chancellor was in her doorway.

She nodded and turned. The glittering chains on her wrists and ankles clashed. “I am ready.”

She moved as gracefully as she could in the chains. It was a learned skill that she had never anticipated acquiring. Head high, stomach in and her makeup precisely in place, she walked as if she were equal to the courtiers and stellar visitors in the throne room.

The balcony walk was heavily guarded for her daily stroll to the royal chambers. No one was going to lay hands on the Pain Taker if they valued their lives. The Duke of Olsted was lying on his deathbed, and he needed her to enable him to get through his day.

She couldn’t ask how much longer he would take to die. He was degrading steadily, but her help was extending his life far beyond what he should have lived. Five months of taking his agony into her body was enabling him to make sweeping changes for his people, and for that, she respected him. The chains that the high chancellor insisted on turned her efforts from the gift one would give to a service that was taken.

The doors to the royal chambers opened at her approach, she stepped inside, crossed the huge expanse of the room and sat next to her patient. “Good morning, Duke Ralen-Croth.”

His eyes rolled as the agony of his body consuming itself twisted him into a foetal curl.

Alda-Xeri reached out and touched his temples, finding the parts of his mind that were lit with agony and soothing them into normalcy. Once his brain was calm, she stroked his limbs, placing a block between his nerve endings and the pain he was in. The procedure took five minutes and was hampered by her chains, but when she was done, the duke lay there panting.

“It will not be long now.” The duke took her hand and kissed it.

“I know. I will be here as long as you need me.” She raised her cuffs. “I have no choice.”

“I wish Inor-Thak was not forcing you into those chains, but when the pain takes me, he runs our world.”

Taking pain from those in need cost her nothing until her freedom was ripped away and a life of adventure was offered in exchange.
 
Alda-Xeri enjoyed her life in her small town, helping those who needed surcease from pain during surgery or the last moments of life. When she is taken to the court to attend the duke’s final days, her life is altered forever and her talent twists in a way she never could have imagined.
The Sector Guard helps her leave her home for a life in the stars, helping more than the wealthy. She agrees to an assignment she cannot remember and soon finds herself in the clutches of Raiders, taking pain from victims of experimentation and wondering how she is going to find the freedom promised her when all hell breaks loose and she leads the charge.
Price: $3.99
The Starborn

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #14
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Powerful, alone and far from her family, Wia has found a path of her own but she is surprised to find it leading h...

She was one thousand five hundred twenty-four years old. It was unlikely that she would find a man her own age.

She shook her head for considering the thought of mating with her father’s choice. “It doesn’t matter now. I will return to Citadel Aria, and Braenar will engage in his own life once you have burned bright.”

“So cold, little one. I wonder what made you so cold?” There was a change in the tone, and she jerked away from the man who was no longer speaking for the star that had spawned her.

“Braenar, I presume?” She moved a few feet away and had a problem looking into his frank and open gaze. His eyes were crystal blue, and they seemed to see far too much.

“Wiali of Suek. I have looked forward to meeting you. Your father has told me much about you.” Braenar stepped forward and kissed her hand.

Warmth unrelated to the fluctuating sun ran through her. When he released her fingers, she folded her hands in front of her. “I was aware that there had been a transition, but not that Suek had called another Avatar.”

“I was assigned to information gathering and was interviewing Sovalli-Suek when Sovalli faded. Suek asked me to take over, and knowing that there would be an end to the position, I gratefully agreed.”

“Why?”

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not everyone can be a star-born power.” The full curve of his lips was hard to look away from.

“I do not consider myself a power.”

“You are working with the Citadel, are you not?”

She frowned. She was an excellent ancient studies instructor considering that she had access to the entire Archive in her memories. “I suppose I am, but it was the method of my storage that created the desirable talent, not my bloodline.”

“May I question you about your family? Get additional details for the archives?” His hopeful expression made her remember where she was.

“Most of my family is dead, and the last member is dying. This is not the day to talk about it.”

She looked around at the garden and remembered it as it was, her parents standing arm in arm while she played with the flowers and stacked rocks in the centre.

Powerful, alone and far from her family, Wia has found a path of her own but she is surprised to find it leading her to the arms of an Avatar.
 
Born to a star, Wiali faced fifteen hundred years of stasis followed by ten years of work in the Citadel. While frozen, the entire Archive of the Alliance ran through her mind, her education was controlled by her whims.
When her father went nova, she was finally and definitely alone until the moment Suek’s last Avatar came to tell her she was transferred from Citadel Aria to Citadel Lowel, the adjunct to Sector Guard Base Udell.
Braenar knew that Suek had chosen him for Wiali, but the mechanism by which they would meet again was a mystery until she walked into his life with a group of students trailing behind her. From that moment on, he kept tabs on her until the day he could tell her that she was stuck working with him in deadly and dangerous situations.
Planets, power and infinite peril…What girl doesn’t want that sort of thing in her life?
Price: $3.99
Power of Learning

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #15
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Wisdom comes at a cost, but if knowledge can be shared, it might not kill her.   Yavil suffers from a...

Showering and getting dressed felt very peculiar, but she was up at Morganti dawn and trolling through the data system with glee. The specs for the halls were easily memorized, and she found the food court with ease.

Carefully, she eased out of her comfortable environment and into the hall where other Citadel occupants were heading for breakfast.

She met two cheerful women—Iyanna and Vesa—and they hauled her along for the meal.

When she saw the robes everyone was wearing, she blushed. She had forgotten to put it on over the bodysuit.

Iyanna patted her hand and smiled. Her smile faded, and she gave Vesa a sharp look. “So, you are an educator by trade?”

“I am or was. I am not sure what the Citadel wants me to do, but there was no future for me back home, so here I am.” She shrugged and ate the grain mix she had put on her tray. “What does an assessment officer do?”

“This and that. I check new intakes and try to see the potential of their talent, enrolling them in the appropriate classes to help bring that potential to the surface.”

Yavil ate another bite of the cereal. “So, what did you read when you scanned me?”

Iyanna blushed. “Sorry, occupational habit. I read that your talent is twofold, your mind and your voice combine to be a very powerful combination. You already have control over your talent, so you can proceed directly to instruction of large groups.”

“That is what I thought would happen.” Yavil continued to eat and tidied up her tray when she was done.

She checked a chronometer on the wall and decided that she still had enough time to make it back to her quarters to grab the robes before she joined Turnari.

Yavil made her goodbyes and promised to have breakfast the next day if she was able and quickly moved through the halls back to her room. She had just lifted the robes out of the wardrobe when a knock sounded.

She shivered and slid the robes over her shoulders, flicking them until they were straight. The knock sounded again. “Just a minute.”

Turnari was standing at her door, and he seemed surprised to see her awake. “I was just coming to see how you were.”

Yavil could see interest in his eyes. She held up her hand. “I have been up, had breakfast, met some nice personnel and am now ready for our meeting.”

He sighed. “Too bad. It would have been easier if no one had seen you.”

Wisdom comes at a cost, but if knowledge can be shared, it might not kill her.
 
Yavil suffers from an intellectual infection. Her mind absorbs every detail of everything she sees, and she can force understanding on her students when she goes into lecture mode. Her brainstorms have gotten the attention of the Alliance, and after she speaks with one of their representatives from Citadel Morganti, she is on her way to working as an educator to the best and brightest of talents.
Hosh is a first aid instructor assigned to Citadel Morganti, and when he listens to Yavil’s lecture on the local flora and clotting properties of minerals on Tebr, he is filled with complete understanding of the topic. This is a new experience for him, so he signs up for the entire series of lectures, and by the time they are complete, he knows more than just how to grow plants in a vacuum, he knows that Yavil is the group educator that the Sector Guard has been looking for.
Price: $3.99
Light of Battle

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #16
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Forced to retire, Jiska must leave her world to ratify a treaty by partnering with a man who sees the truth in eve...

 “General Irthano, you are the best that the Urgat species has to offer, and your military record is exemplary.” The administrator in the centre of the judiciary panel looked nervous.

Jiska kept her eyes forward and her expression blank. She was the final member of the security force being dismissed, and once she was gone, the peaceful world that had come to treaties after decades of bloodshed would be able to pretend that she—and the other warriors—never existed.

“With the breakout of peace, I am sure that you understand why we cannot retain a military force in our cities.” The man was sweating, but the room was cool.

“What is to be done with me?” She remained at attention, her limbs straight and head high.

“We have made an effort to place our military with other colonies and the Alliance. They were interested in you, and you are being assigned to Citadel Lowel.” He brusquely moved his data pad and the judiciary watched her for any signs of attack.

She nodded her head. “I realize that this will be struck from the record the moment I leave this room, but I have served the government of Urgat to the highest of my ability for the last fifteen years. I am pleased to see peace in my lifetime, but I know that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Sending the military away and pretending that we were never here, never acted on your orders, is the height of hubris. When the next uprising happens, and there will be one, who will you turn to when there are no more children to train?”

She saluted the panel, turned on her heel and strode out of the room with slow, measured steps. Outside the judiciary, she relaxed her posture slightly but kept walking to her quarters. She closed the door and leaned heavily against it, looking at the remains of her life in service. Her rooms were sparse, spare and had no personal effects.

With shaking hands, she pulled off the uniform that she had worn with pride. Her civilian clothing hung in her wardrobe, and she pulled on the dress that her mother had gifted her with on her last birthday.

Jiska let her hair down and put on a jewelled clip that kept the strands from her face. She confirmed that she looked like any other woman in the city by turning front and back. As a final measure, she packed her bag and had it ready for her departure from her world. First thing was first. She wanted to talk to her mother.

Forced to retire, Jiska must leave her world to ratify a treaty by partnering with a man who sees the truth in everything.
 
Jiska has grown up as her people’s fiercest general. When peace breaks out, she is reassigned to Citadel Lowel and given a partner who needs a bodyguard. After a few minutes in his presence, she knows why. She is assigned to protect him, even if she wants to kill him.
Deskin is a Negotiator specializing in hostage situations. He needs a bodyguard to watch his back while he plies his trade, and General Jiska Irthano is far more than he could hope for.
Jiska has grown up denying her needs from clothing and shelter to companionship and love. The Citadel offers a solution to her denial in every category.
Price: $3.99
Mauled by Destiny

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #17
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

A brutal attack changed her life and turned her into a monster with the power to defend those who cannot or will n...

Priina watched her flock, counting carefully. Two missing. “Damn it!”

She climbed down from her perch and walked against the wall, looking for the spot where her beasts had slipped through. Her mother normally had the task of seeing to the wall at night, but when she fell from the stones and broke her leg Priina had been forced to leave school to help out at the farm.

The coppery smell of blood sent a sense of unease through her. She flashed her light over the base of the wall where it met the field. Her beasts had clawed a hole, and something on the other side had finished it.

She knelt and shone her light through the gap. Priina struggled out of her tool belt but took her light with her. She had to find out what happened to her varek. If there was a predator near the wall, her people needed to know.

Struggling through the two-foot expanse of stone, Priina crawled on her belly toward the exterior of the wall. The blood lined the curve of carved stone under her, and she knew that varek bodies were what she was going to find.

The moon and starlight was different when she exited the hole and stood. She kept her light off and at her side while she got her bearings. The wet trail of blood extended off into the night, so she followed with her senses on high alert.

The remains were in savaged condition. Priina winced and realized that the warnings she had been given her entire life were not simply empty threats. There was something huge and dangerous outside the walls of the inner country, and she had just walked into its hunting ground.

Having confirmed that her animals were slaughtered and did not need rescue, she made her way back to the wall, clinging to the edge and trying to blend in.

She was ten feet away from the hole in the wall when she heard the low growl far too close to her.

Instinct screamed at her to run, but she moved slowly, carefully feeling her way along the wall. She felt the first claw tear through her clothing and mark her arm. The second spun her around to face the long muzzle, red eyes and furred bulk. The long claws were covered with blood, as were the lips and jaws.

Pain was burning her limbs and the scream froze in her throat as his gnashing teeth closed an inch from her neck.

He struck her with his claws again and again when she didn’t react the way he wished her to.

The only noise in the night was her ragged breathing and the harsh gasps of her attacker. Another growl suddenly sounded in the darkness, and her attacker was removed from her with the sweep of another clawed hand.

Priina was beyond pain. She crawled back toward the hole and shifted herself through, inch by inch. Sobbing was no use, so she struggled to haul herself free of the gap. She grabbed for her tool belt and pulled the sealant free. Her hands slipped with blood, but she depressed the sealant and shot the entire canister in the gap.

Now that she was free, she gasped and sobbed. Priina lifted her tool belt and hit the emergency signal. The beacon would bring help, and hopefully, she would survive to see it.

A brutal attack changed her life and turned her into a monster with the power to defend those who cannot or will not defend themselves.
 
Priina lived on a farm, and one night, she broke the laws of Cial and ventured through the wall to find some lost herd animals. She finds the remains of her beasts and is attacked by a creature that is far beyond her experience.
She survives the encounter but is changed forever more by the exposure to the alien beast. Her people ship her off world so that her contamination will not spread into a susceptible population.
Six years at Citadel Thoola gives her an education, self-control and an appreciation for the variety of species in the Alliance with their differences embedded in their very genes.
She is summoned to active duty at Citadel Lowel and the man sent to collect her is the one who saved her six years earlier. Can Rhanos induce her into a partnership when she refuses to let her instincts rule her, even a little bit?
Price: $3.99
Heartbeat of Silence

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #18
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

An open mind is a terrible thing to waste, so armour it up and send it to the Citadel with a fanged shape-shifter...

Halfway to the garden of new arrivals, she heard a gong. Veera paused. There was no service scheduled for today.

The gong rang again marked with a sharp chime and a third gong.

“Someone is calling.” Veera turned and headed for the dock on the far side of the island.

Three of the sisters passed her and nodded, their hands hidden by their robes as they bustled past her, going to hide in the chapel. It was standard for the sisters not on duty to hide when they were not needed for a ceremony. Veera had tried to ask them about it, but she only got the vague answer in hand signals that it was a tradition.

She moved quickly but decorously across the paths until she could see the dock and her visitor.

The sister on duty walked past her, heading for the chapel. Veera reached out and touched the minds of the people just beyond her line of sight. Her feet picked up speed as she ran to greet her sister and brother. The other mind that was with them was harder to spot, but if he was with her siblings, she didn’t see a problem with him.

She could always flay his mind with hers at a later time.

“Teesha, Reynal!” She ran forward, and her siblings embraced her.

They laughed and hugged together as Veera ran through all of their current thoughts and events in their lives. She smiled and caressed Teesha’s cheek. “I am glad to see you.”

Reynal tapped her nose with a finger. “You have learned to be politic, dearest Veera.”

She inclined her head. “The sisters have been good for me. I needed this silence. Come with me to the Garden of Tears and tell me why you are here.”

Teesha nodded and turned to look behind her. A shadow detached itself from the wall and took a few steps forward.

Veera swallowed heavily. Something about him spoke volumes without saying anything. His mind was completely silent as he approached her.

“Veera Halig, I am pleased to meet you.” He extended his hand, and she took it, jolting as a wave of heat rolled up her arm and rippled across her body.

“I…” She frowned and looked to her siblings.

Teesha was amazed, but Reynal took point. “Veera, this is Stanik Arlinik. He is going to be your link.”

She shook her head, dazed by the hormonal surge the light touch on her hand caused. He released her fingers, and she stepped back. She gestured for them to follow her. “I believe we need to discuss things.”

Teesha and Reynal Halig followed her, but Stanik stayed at her side.

She led the way to the Garden of Tears and gestured for them to take seats on the benches arranged in conversational settings.

She primly smoothed her pink gown around her legs and perched next to Teesha. “Not that I don’t appreciate you taking time out of your performing schedule, but why are you here?”

Teesha smiled. “When you were first afflicted, we didn’t know what to do. Mom and Dad looked into every remedy or treatment that they could find.”

Veera wrinkled her nose. “I remember.”

“Well, when I was off world performing, I ran into a Wyoran who told me about members of their populations born with open minds, like yours. They get what is called a link. It is a person who can offer them mental stability until they can match their self-control with their talent. Similar to the braces Reynal had to wear on his teeth until they straightened.”

Veera laughed. “So this is a Wyoran thing?”

Teesha rubbed her nose. “Well, yes and no. Farellens don’t match well with Wyorans. Our minds are too dissimilar. As the family travelled, we went looking for a species that had someone with a mental signature that matched yours and was willing to devote possible years out of their life to helping you master your talent.”

All of them turned to stare at Stanik, and he sat casually as if sitting and sunning himself was all he had planned for the day.

Veera cleared her throat. “Please tell me that the volunteer is Mr. Arlinik’s little sister.”

An open mind is a terrible thing to waste, so armour it up and send it to the Citadel with a fanged shape-shifter watching her every move.
Veera’s mind broke wide open during a tragedy. A telepathic call for help sent her into a coma where every mind around her was open to hers.
A stint on an island where no one spoke or thought a harsh word was just what she needed, but when she was offered a chance to live a life out in the open, she agreed to everything that the shape-shifter asked. Life was something that she needed to find.
Stanik trained to be Veera’s link for eighteen months. When he finally met her, her physical presence sent his senses reeling. The reality was much better than the images her family had sent him to entice him into agreeing to share his mind with hers.
He gives her stability, and she gives him attitude, a challenge and someone to protect. It is a fairly even swap.
 
Price: $3.99
Ice Runner

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #19
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Using heat to skim along ice delivers her into the arms of a botanist who has more than a casual interest in her a...

Kescu checked her pack, tested the insulation and verified her food and water supply. Her body heat would keep the botanical samples from freezing, and the insulation would keep the majority of her supplies edible during the trip.

“Courier Washley, are you ready?” Dr. Senzer smiled at her as he emerged with the pack designed to her specifications.

“As ready as I will ever be. Frankly, I am more nervous about speaking at my sister’s primary school on Fiveday.” She hoisted the pack onto her back, and it settled above her supplies as neatly as if it had been designed for just that thing.

“You will do fine. Now, Teckaro Base?”

“Will be there in three hours. Two and a half if I have a following wind.” She shook his hand and said, “They will call you when I arrive. Don’t fret. You have your fretting face on.”

“Those are exceedingly rare samples, Kescu. Be careful.” He turned her around and gave her a swat to the backside before he backed off and left her to face the outer doors.

Three insulated airlocks kept the research station from the bitter cold. Her body started to shake in the second lock as her talent activated to keep her alive.

When the third set of doors cycled open, the frost built up on the outer door began to melt. As the inner door closed behind her, the outer door groaned open, dripping icy water.

Kescu started to sprint as her feet melted the ice beneath her. A strange motion of gliding kicked in, and her forward momentum sliding across the frozen surface took on a dizzying speed.

She cleared the valley in minutes, putting her on the open ice plane and allowing her to pause in order to check for wind. “Yes!”

She quickly unfurled her kite, pressed the tabs on her heels that extended her skis, and funnelled more heat through her feet. The wind caught her kite, and she was on her way, expending far less energy than a straight run would have.

Kescu played with the wind, flipping and twisting as the kite dragged her across the surface of Wanlio 6.

She grinned as the cold tried to lash at her, but her talent for generating large amounts of personal heat was her own private shield. Her feet melted the ice beneath her just enough to allow her an almost frictionless slide across the glaciers and fields. Using the wind to pull her along meant she had to put more heat in her feet, but it was a more-than-even trade off.

She enjoyed the feeling of freedom that the kite gave her. When a chasm loomed, she jumped and pulled her legs in, twisting them to the side until she cleared the three-foot span.

Kescu landed with a thud and scanned the horizon for one of the few location beacons on the surface. Carefully moving her right hand to her left wrist, she pressed the pinger on her cuff.

Three pings, a pause and two pings. She was an hour out from Teckaro Base and making excellent time. She could have a nice dinner and be on her way home for breakfast.

Using heat to skim along ice delivers her into the arms of a botanist who has more than a casual interest in her and her talent.
 
Kescu has been raised under ice. Under the surface of Wanlio 6, the locals live and thrive with the Ice Runner moving emergency and experimental supplies from one city and base to the other. Her talent is heat, but she channels it through metal plates, and she skates along the frozen surface of her world.
Lorvik is a new botanist who is assisting a researcher at another base to develop fast-growing fruiting plants for starving populations. When the Ice Runner first arrives in his base, he knows she is more than she seems, but a kiss and genetic testing proves that his path has led him to the right woman. His woman.
Negotiations do not go too smoothly, but Kes knows she is meant for another world. Life in the ice is beginning to hurt. She agrees to his suit, and he only has one more hurdle to pass. Her mother.
 
Price: $3.99
Trained to Destroy

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #20
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

A Guardsman wakes a deadly weapon of mythic proportions, Rathi, and she must choose sides with only his earnest ga...

Jarrod dug with the others, seeking the Destroyer of Ichadra. They had only the most vague of location descriptions, but they did seem to be in the correct area.

Jarrod had been a student of the Citadel for years before joining the Sector Guard. As Hidden, he was not on any public rosters, he went in undercover and got the job done.

A cry rang out from the far end of the site, and the diggers all moved to excavate the find. Jarrod kept his mind on his task and his hands busy until the silvery metal and onyx stone was exposed to all of them. The Seeker, running the dig, moved them all back as he tried to read the code to the lock.

Jarrod watched with the others as the Seeker entered code after code, moving his fingers over the glyphs around the opening.

Jarrod and the others sat around, watching as the Seeker worked into the night. For Jarrod, the means of entry was simple, and yet, he could not move. Not yet.

 

It was near dawn when the Seeker keeled over and had to be taken to his tent to rest. Only two men remained near the doorway, and they were both listing over with fatigue. It was time to see if he could take possession of the Destroyer before the Raiders captured one of the greatest weapons in history.

He hid himself and walked to the door in the ground, standing centrally. He knocked with his heel and the door disappeared beneath him.

Jarrod dropped fifteen feet before sliding to a halt. He looked up and the door solidified once again. If they could wake the Seeker, they would figure it out in a few moments, but with the drug he had slipped into the Seeker’s meal, he should have a few hours.

The halls didn’t light as he entered, so he flicked his secondary lids over his eyes to improve his night vision. The tiny bit of light from the end of the passageway was enough to lead him directly to his quarry.

He had no idea what he was seeking. The people of Ichadra were lost to history. No images of them remained. They had been a race who didn’t like strangers. Their Destroyer was designed to keep all invaders at bay. It had been so successful that once the Destroyer had been engaged, no one had seen an Ichadra for six centuries. That had been before the quarantine went up.

He rounded the corner and entered the lightly lit area. Tables and computers covered in thin plexi sheets sparsely occupied it. A taller structure stood against the wall, a sheet draped over it as well. Jarrod shook his head, as it seemed that the Destroyer was a creature of myth and legend, not fact.

He pulled the plexi sheets off one by one, removing the tall covering last.

To say he was shocked by the woman sleeping in full armour and a standing position was to minimize his feelings at the moment. He was stunned to the toes of his boots.

Dark hair was braided away from her face, fine tattoos in the palest gold across her cheeks and dark lining around her eyes that was more pigment than makeup. Her body was clothed in black armour etched with the same gold colouration as her face.

Jarrod reached out to touch her skin, and to his amazement, it was warm. There was a small bell near her head, and he took the hint. He lifted the small hammer and struck the bell.

Her eyes opened wide, and she looked at him in shock but then continued past him. “Who woke me?”

Jarrod reverted to being seen, and he bowed low. “My name is Jarrod, Destroyer. There are those above who wish to capture you to use for their own gain. I am here to tell you that working for the Raiders would cost countless lives.”

Her gold eyes blinked slowly. “You are not one of my people.”

He could literally feel power swirling in the room. “Your people have been dead for nine hundred and fifty-seven years. They were destroyed by a pestilence and none survived.”

She stepped from her platform and the power simmered but remained in the vicinity. All of the hair on Jarrod’s body stood on end.

“Why did you come for me?”

“Because I wanted you free and alert before they came for you. It should be your choice whether you are used or not. I merely came to wake you before they did and offer you a position in the Sector Guard if you want it.”

She took a few steps, the chainmail dags covering her abdomen swinging. “You have come to offer me employment?”

“I have. In the Guard, your free time is your own, and your only duty is to those who are desperate for your help. You will have companionship of others with similar powers, and you are free to come and go as you please.” He inclined his head.

The Destroyer tilted her head as if she heard something in the distance. “You are offering me freedom?”

“I am offering you nothing but the opportunity to choose. You served your people well, but they are gone. You can return to your sleep, but now that your tomb has been unearthed, others will come and try to take by force what you can offer freely.”

She turned and faced him. “They are coming. Are you honest in what you offer? I may have my freedom?”

Jarrod nodded and turned to face the doorway.

The Destroyer wrapped her arms around him from behind and whispered. “I really hope you are telling the truth. Death at my hands would not be pleasant.”

A Guardsman wakes a deadly weapon of mythic proportions, Rathi, and she must choose sides with only his earnest gaze to go on.
Hidden does his work in secret and silence. Searching for the deadly weapon known as the Destroyer of Ichadra, he insinuates himself into an archaeological team looking for the ancient power. The woman he finds is young, strong and can rip him apart at the molecular level with the wave of her hand.
Rathi can remember over sixteen hundred years, but she has slept for the last thousand. The handsome male who wakes her entreats her to do what is right and that alone wins her agreement. When she sees that her world is dead, she must choose to align herself with a current power, and nothing will convince her like a kind word and an offer to help discover what happened to those who came before.
Price: $3.99
Sudden Storm

Written By: Viola Grace
Series: Tales of the Citadel #21
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Control over the elements is dull until a man walks onto her world and makes her senses burn.   Vexan...

“Damn.” Something was awake on Ki, and it was starting a row of dust devils on the sand dune half a kilometre away.

He inhaled and concentrated, looking for body heat. Heat was his thing, and body heat was impossible to hide unless you had a talent to do it. There.

He fixated on the point where he felt the body heat and sent the skimmer toward it. He was racing the cyclones of sand that were coming down on him, and time was a factor.

A small piece of stone was projecting out of the sand and he leapt from the skimmer, sealed it against the sand and started digging the doorway out of its sliding protection. When he saw the glyphs on the door, he remembered what he had been told and simply knocked on the door. A moment later, he was inside the tunnel with the wind whirling outside screaming to get in.

The muffled sound made him glad that he was within the tunnels. He could feel the heat of the storm coming off the walls, and without another moment’s hesitation, he walked further into the darkness.

He lit a ball of fire in his palm and held it in front of him to light his way. The tunnels twisted and turned underground, but he eventually found his way to a strange chamber.

To his surprise, a woman was sitting on the edge of a fountain, idly trailing her fingers in the water. She looked up in surprise as he entered. Her brow furrowed in confusion.

“Hello, miss.”

“Greetings, visitor.” She continued trailing one hand in the water. Her blonde hair gleamed in the light, it cascading down over the shoulders of her bodysuit, giving an air of innocence to her features.

When Burn met her gaze, it was obvious that she was far older than she looked. Her eyes showed every one of her seventeen hundred years.

“Elemental, I have come to you with an offer to leave this place if you wish it.”

She rose to her feet and glided toward him with an unsettling grace. “What? You wish me to make another planet uninhabitable?”

He shook his head, catching hints of her scent as she walked around him with that peculiar stride. “I wish you to leave this place and find another use for your talents.”

“What of those who hired me?”

“They have released you from your contract. They released you nine hundred years ago, but the communications systems on Ki were dead by then.”

He slowly removed a document and extended it to her. “Here is the release.”

She took it from him and lifted it to the light, examining it closely. She ran her fingers along the document. “It has the feel of age.”

“It is nine centuries old. There was no way to deliver the news that you were free of obligation without landing here, and your orders were to keep Ki free of living creatures, so no message could reach you. It was quite the tangle.”

She smiled absently as she read the document. “Well, this is in order. Where do they want to send me?”

He slowly withdrew another document. “They are giving you your freedom. It is now up to you to decide what to do with it.”

Her hand trembled as she discarded the first document and took the one he offered. “Freedom?”

Control over the elements is dull until a man walks onto her world and makes her senses burn.
 
Vexaniali has spent her life in solitude, finding ways to entertain herself on an empty world that has become her prison. She was ordered to keep anyone from landing, but it was just a make-work job to keep her out of the way.
Burn arrives and offers her a chance to use her skills on a variety of worlds under the aegis of the Citadel Arcani.
Moving a cure around a world using her mastery of air is time consuming and tiring but not difficult. It is a good start, and when Burn offers himself to top up her flagging energies, how could she refuse?
Price: $3.99