Michaela had never danced with such passion before. Maybe it was because of the thousands of intoxicating flowers ornamenting the city’s center. They sent their aphrodisiacal scent to fill her lungs and erase her nervousness of sexual promise. Maybe it was the sight of the stone altar across the square. It was upon that surface where she’d watched Plasian youths give their virginity in celebration of reaching the age of consent. Maybe it was the sheer joy of dancing a wild entreaty to violent sex, with light manacles and chains around her wrists.
More probably it was the sight of three Kalquorians at the foot of the stage, glowering at her with barely contained ferocity.
Seeing those purple eyes riveted on her made Michaela’s head swim more than the aroma of the flowers. Korkla, Raxstad, and Govi were obviously pissed off. They were also blatantly aroused.
Michaela was barely aware of anything else. She knew Jessica danced on the other side of the stage with the Crown Prince Clan watching her. Many Plasians crowded against the massive Kalquorians and the stage, watching them perform. Some fucked each other in broad daylight. The festival looked primed to descend into a mass orgy at any moment. It probably would the moment the dance ended.
Michaela paid the Plasians no mind. She didn’t even think about the hideous statue that loomed over the altar several yards away, though it was the vision of nightmares. To Michaela, the thing looked like a winged Plasian, if said Plasian was half bat and half dead oak tree. Jessica had said it was one of the planet’s ancient and forgotten deities. Michaela thought the thing should not just be forgotten, but also destroyed. Seeing the young people shedding their virginity under the leering creature had been downright creepy.
Then Clan Korkla had shown up, and all of Michaela’s thoughts of the ugly statue had ceased to exist. Her heart leapt with savage joy to see them arrive, looking furious enough to storm backstage where she watched them while hidden behind curtains. Her plan to make them jealous had worked. Now she had to make them mad with lust as well, mad enough to claim her without any more caution.
She’d taken the stage with a vengeance, matching the men’s black stares with her own. They had courted her and turned her away. They had teased her and left her wanting. Spurred by agonized wanting and the inhibition-killing flowers, Michaela was determined to have her way.
I will have you, she thought at the men as she defied their anger with a dance every bit as ferocious as their expressions. Every step she performed was a blatant dare for them to take her.
You cannot resist me. Make me yours.
She’d watched the newly matured Plasian girls give up their virginity on the altar. Now it was Michaela’s turn. She would not be denied. Not this time. Not ever again.
You want me. Take me now!
The fierce drumbeats suddenly ended, finishing the dance. Michaela dropped to the stage, playing the role of the reluctantly vanquished slave girl, overcome and submitting to her masters. Tumultuous applause crashed against her ears, applause she cared nothing for. She lay gasping for air, waiting to see if fantasy would consent to become reality.
Something low and dangerous rumbled over the cheers. It started off like a distant roll of thunder, and then grew to the sound of an enraged animal growling. Michaela’s heart, already galloping from the exertion of the energetic dance, pounded faster than ever. She raised her head and looked toward the bestial noise.
There was the blurred motion of something leaping from the ground onto the stage. Then Raxstad appeared, standing over her with fangs bared. The huge Nobek looked bigger than Michaela remembered him being. His muscular shoulders were a mile across. His reaching hands were bear paws. He resembled nothing remotely civilized.