At the Mercy of Her Pleasure, Antonello Brothers 1: a Scifi Romance
In this scene from At the Mercy of Her Pleasure by Kayelle Allen, Senth Antonello brings his half-brother along for a meeting with the Harbinger, who also happens to be Senth’s adoptive father. Senth is a HalfKin (half human, half feline Kin).
When they rounded a corner, the noise level lowered. To the left, wide marble stairs wound upward. Bouncers stood guard on the first landing, weapons cradled in their arms. Beside them, arrowed signs pointed in different directions. hotel. cashier cage. exit to slakehouse.
Senth started up, but stopped at a tug on his cloak. He turned and looked straight into Khyff’s eyes.
“Here.” Khyff dug into his pocket. “My master’s in the club. I saw him. Take this.” He offered a wad of soft money. “He’ll pat me down before he puts me to work.”
Senth hid the cash in a pocket.
Khyff set one foot on the bottom stair. “They won’t let me go up there.”
“The Man’s note said to bring you. You’re coming with.”
“You prolly misread it.”
“I’d show you but you ripped that sucker up, remember?”
Khyff clamped his jaw shut. Lighting in this section cast a warm glow over his features.
For the hundredth time, Senth wondered at their relationship. They couldn’t be more opposite in looks. But Saint-Cyr had tested their DNA, and they shared the same mother.
“Come on.” Senth turned and headed up the steps, and after a brief delay, he heard footsteps pounding after him. Senth let himself smile.
On the hotel level, six of his Sen’dai‘s private, no-nonsense goons in dark suits and dark glasses blocked the hallway.
Senth flashed the Harbinger’s hand signal.
One man scanned him with a handheld, glanced at the display, and with a grudging nod of respect, opened a door. “He said you should wait inside.”
Senth and Khyff entered a darkened room. The door shut behind them with a click. Background noise ceased.
“You gonna turn on a light?” Khyff’s voice sounded hollow in the dark.
“Don’t need one.” Besides being HalfKin, Senth had been trained to work in darkness.
An interior door opened, and though Senth could not see the Harbinger, he felt the Man’s presence. A native-born Kelthian, Luc Saint-Cyr’s dark chocolate skin and habitual black attire made it possible for him to disappear into the shadows.
If the Harbinger himself was on Kelthia, this was an important job.
A small light clicked on, but that made the shadows darker. You still couldn’t see Saint-Cyr. “Senthys. Khyffen. Thank you for coming.” The Man took one step, and the light revealed part of his face.
“Sen’dai.” Senth bowed.
Khyff bowed also.
“Khyffen. Good to see you.” Saint-Cyr offered his hand, and Khyff wiped his hand on his pants before he shook it. “Your brother has the opportunity to take a sizable job, and if he accomplishes it, I’ll help him buy your contract and free you.”
A full Kin could smell emotion, and while Senth could not match their prowess, he couldn’t miss the scent his brother gave off. Like the air after a rain, fresh and clear: hope. A tinge of tart fear followed.
“Thank you, sir, but why would you do that?”
“You’re blood to my blood.” Saint-Cyr squeezed Senth’s shoulder. “I made your brother my slave to foster him into the Guild. I have no others. A man should be free. Now, how much did you get tonight?”
“For what, sir?”
Senth understood his brother’s hesitance. If anyone reported Khyff working the streets without a license, he could be sent back to prison.
“It’s all right.” Saint-Cyr stepped all the way into the light. Like most people, Senth avoided looking directly into Saint-Cyr’s eyes. The man wore contact lenses that turned his eyes solid black. Raven’s eyes, peering, intent. Vulturous. “Your secrets are safe with me. Liu Alderon is one of my people. Did she treat you right?”
Khyff glanced at Senth, as if seeking approval.
Senth gave a slight nod.
“Yes, sir. She paid me, and then tipped me.”
Senth made a handsign, and Khyff continued.
“She gave me a thousand draks, sir. Best tip I ever got.”
“Good, good.” Saint-Cyr steepled his fingers. “Since Senthys told me about your situation, I’ve been matching what you earn on the street and putting it into your freedom savings account.”
“That’s generous of you, sir, but why would you do that?”
“I know you’re in a bad spot. I’m doing everything I can to help you.”
“What do you expect in return?”
“The better question is, what does your brother expect?”
Khyff narrowed his eyes, sending a questioning look Senth’s way.
Resisting the urge to shrug, Senth waited for Saint-Cyr to jump in. It didn’t take him long.
“I want Senthys for a job. If he’s successful, he could buy his freedom. Since I won’t part with your brother, I hit on this solution. What do you say?”
Hired to steal back a prototype taken by the imperial armada, Senth Antonello retrieves it, but his brother is kidnapped to force Senth to surrender the device.
Now he has to rescue his brother, outsmart the armada, and keep the item out of imperial hands. All doable, except for one small problem. He must do it in the company of NarrAy Jorlan, a genetically altered woman whose pheromones could enhance the mission or crumble it into dust with a single siren kiss.
He’s a thief. She’s a soldier. Do opposites attract? Oh, mercy!
Genre: Military science fiction romance set in a dystopian world.
Heat level: PG13 – sweet romance with a kick
Book length: 59,650 words (full novel)
Publisher: Romance Lives Forever Books
Series: Antonello Brothers (standalone books)
The sequel for this book is For Women Only.
Voiceovers by Marcus Watson of MarcusVoice.com
About Kayelle Allen
Kayelle is a best-selling American author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.
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