Hi Cheryl and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Rebel!
He helped to find her kidnapped friends. Will he let her steal his heart?
Kimcasha has lived by her wits since she lost her family when she was eight years old. So when three of her friends vanish, she has no fear about using herself as kidnapper’s bait, until a stranger foils her plot…
After ten years of selling his services in a brothel, Onca has decided to retire. A refugee of planet Zetith, he has no family, no surname, and no woman-until he rescues a young homeless girl from a kidnapper. Onca helps Kim find her friends, but as their intense attraction deepens, he begins feeling too jaded for someone so innocent. It’s up to Kim to convince him otherwise…
Random Facts about REBEL:
1. My hero and heroine are both Zetithian, a race of nearly extinct humanoids that possess several feline characteristics. They have cat-like eyes, fangs, and they can purr! While some readers may find this off-putting, it isn’t a problem when you consider that they face the same sorts of dilemmas that a human couple would face, along with some interesting issues that are specific to Zetithians.
2. Rebel is the tenth book in the Cat Star Chronicles series, and though it is best enjoyed by reading the earlier books first, it can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. Several characters from previous books in the series put in an appearance, and devotees of the series will recognize many old friends along with mentions of a few others. New readers may find themselves wanting to start over at the beginning!
3. Although the hero, Onca, has been giving joy to his clients at the Zetithian Palace brothel for years and should be cocky beyond belief, he’s still insecure in many ways. When he meets Kim, who is fourteen years his junior, he is convinced that she needs someone closer to her own age and does his best to deny the attraction. Kim is determined to prove him wrong!
4. The story takes place in Damenk, a major city on the planet Rhylos. Rhylos is a pleasure and commerce world where everything is perfect, at least on the surface, and subliminal advertising is present in almost every district. The fact that it has a not-so-perfect underbelly is something the authorities do their best to deny.
5. My Zetithian heroes are the sexiest guys in the galaxy. Their astonishing sexual abilities lend credence to the motto of the Zetithian Palace brothel: “Once you go cat, you’ll never go back!”
Although she was obviously trying not to stuff herself like a pig, she wasn’t wasting any time making that bowl of chupka disappear, either.
“This is delicious,” she said. “What did you say it was called?”
“Chupka,” Onca replied. “It’s an old Zetithian recipe—or so I’m told. It’s not like my mother ever made it for me.”
She stopped chewing for a second or two. “Funny thing, I remember some of the stuff my mom made. Didn’t taste anything like this, though.” Dipping her spoon into the stew, she had it in her mouth, chewed, and swallowed before Onca could comment.
“Different spices, perhaps.”
This time, she only nodded her agreement. Onca wanted to know more about her and what she remembered of those days, but he was loath to interrupt her. He had never seen anyone so thin before—on this world or any other—and she was much smaller than she should have been. On average, Zetithian females were nearly as tall as the men, most of which topped out at about two meters. This girl was tiny. Unless she was lying about her age.
Twenty-two, she’d said. He would have guessed her at half that, although her mop of brown curls might have been responsible for that impression. Her elfin face reminded him of Bonnie and Lynx’s daughter, Karsyn. She was smaller than average too, but then, Bonnie was rather petite herself—and she was human.
“You’re a purebred?”
“I think so,” she said between swallows. “Both my parents had ears like mine, and so did my sisters.”
She was one up on him. Onca couldn’t remember his family at all. Still, having been rescued from Zetith just before it collided with the asteroid that blew it to bits, he could safely assume that his pedigree was pure.
He had about a thousand other questions he wanted to ask her, which wasn’t surprising considering he had never come across a Zetithian female in the wild.
In the wild… He had to laugh at his choice of terms. It made her sound like a rare species of fauna, which was essentially what she was. A very rare species. If she’d had her origins on any other planet, he wouldn’t have been quite so intrigued. Yet he couldn’t stop the questions buzzing around in his head. How had she survived—orphaned and on the street—from the age of ten? He couldn’t begin to imagine the dangers she must have faced, not the least of which was keeping herself fed.
The climate was temperate, so shelter hadn’t been a problem, but why had no one ever found her and taken her in? Then again, perhaps someone had tried. He’d been afraid for her—enough to intervene—and she had turned on him like a wildcat. She was certainly tough. He shuddered to think what kind of men she’d had to fight off before.
Closing his eyes, he turned away. The beast he’d rescued her from had easily been three times her size. The mere thought of what he would have done to her made Onca sick. He wished he’d done more than ping the bastard—which she had chastised him for doing. He still didn’t understand what she hoped to achieve. Yet another thing he would have to ask her.
Her spoon scraped the bottom of the bowl. She looked up at him with eyes so brown they seemed to absorb the glow emanating from her pupils. “Is there any more of this?” She drew in a breath, holding it for a second before she spoke again. “I’ll fuck you for it.”
Onca leaned back in his chair and stared at her, unblinking. “You’ll what?”
With an upward glance, she heaved a sigh as though resigned to do something extremely distasteful. “I’ll fuck you for more of this if I have to. I’m still hungry.”
Onca didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or throw up.
“I don’t really want to,” she went on. “I mean, I’ve done it a few times. Never seen what there is to get so excited about. Men seem to like it, though.”
For once in his life, Onca was speechless, which might have been due to the sharp pain near his heart.
“Of course, I’ve never met a Zetithian guy before. Maybe you don’t like it any more than I do.”
Onca had fucked over a thousand women—at a thousand credits a pop—and to the best of his recollection, he had enjoyed each and every moment. He cleared his throat. “We like it okay.”
She simply nodded, eyeing him expectantly.
“You don’t have to fuck me for food,” he went on. “There’s plenty more where that came from—or something else if you’d prefer.”
She cocked her head to one side, intensifying the elfin quality. “Why are you being so nice to me?”
That same pain knifed him in the chest again and his jaw dropped. “I—we Zetithians have to stick together. There aren’t many of us left, you know.”
She frowned, staring down at her empty bowl. “No, I didn’t—at least not until you told me just now. All I knew was that my family was in danger. Even though we’d lived here all my life, I think my father intended for us to go someplace else—until those creeps killed them all.” She was silent for a moment, and when she spoke again, her voice was a whisper. “I’m not even sure they ever saw me. My mother heard them coming. She told me to start running and never look back. I’ve been running ever since.”
She had probably been too scared to trust anyone, and since people came and went so often on Rhylos, her family’s disappearance might never have been questioned. Even if the Nedwut bounty hunters had been caught, one less child among the bodies could have easily gone unnoticed. What Onca couldn’t figure was why no one had ever bothered to tell her what happened to Zetith, and that she had a guaranteed home on Terra Minor.
Then again, with her hair covering her ears so completely, she could easily have been mistaken for some other species. Even Onca hadn’t realized what she was at first. All he had seen was a big ape trying to carry off a child.
What he’d thought was a child. Whereas her eyes had been pleading a moment before, he could see the age and the strain in them now. The life of a fugitive would age anyone beyond their years.
And make them hungry. He took her bowl, refilled it, and set it back down in front of her. “Do you want some bread and cheese with that?”
“Yes, please.” She sighed with apparent relief. “Thanks for not making me fuck you for it. I’m sure you’re a very nice man, but I’d rather not.”
Onca burst out laughing. “A lot of women have paid good money for that privilege. I believe you’re the first to show such a complete lack of enthusiasm.”
“Really? Women actually pay for sex? I thought only men did that.”
“Clearly you’ve never been to the brothel district.”
She stared at him, aghast. “Why would I want to go there?”
She had a point. The fact that the men’s brothels were on the other end of the district from the women’s would make it a dangerous place for a young girl. Onca hadn’t heard of anyone snatching ladies off the street, but there was a first time for everything.
Onca shrugged. “I don’t know why you would. It’s where I work, though—and there are some seriously hot guys working that area.”
She snorted in a most unladylike manner. “I’ve seen males of lots of species, but none that I’d want to fuck.”
“Really?” Onca knew Zetithian girls were hard to seduce, but surely she had a few sexual urges. He pulled out his comlink and flipped through the pictures. “Here, check out these guys—they’re Statzeelian twins. And this one. He’s very popular.” Rashe had a sword tattooed on his chest that drew the eye downward to his impressive tool. Some women thought tattoos were hot. Onca had never seen the need for ink—not when he had clients booked two years
Curious, she took the link and flipped to another page. “Hmm…I kinda like the look of this one.”
Onca peered at the display. Great. She’d found the photo taken when Jerden was voted the best fuck on Rhylos for the third year straight. “That’s Jerden, my former partner. He’s married now, so you can’t have him.” He shook his head wistfully. “He sure made us a ton of money—especially after the Damenk Tribune named him the Hottest Hunk in the Galaxy. Twice.” At least she had good taste.
She paged through a few more pictures. “Is this you?”
“Um, yeah.” He was beginning to regret showing her any pictures. It was embarrassing for some reason—which was strange because under ordinary circumstances, he would have been naked when he first met her. Although most of his clients were older, this girl wasn’t exactly a blushing virgin. In typical Zetithian female fashion, she simply didn’t like the idea of sex—and never would until she found the right man.
“You look pretty good,” she said, rather grudgingly, he thought.
“I am good,” Onca said, though without his usual conviction.
Nodding, she paged back to Jerden, studying the image closely. “Do all Zetithian guys have that little ruffle around the end of their penis?”
Definitely embarrassing. “Standard equipment.”
“Hmm. Interesting.” She handed the comlink back to him and went to work on the stew again.
So much for that. Maybe she would like one of Cat and Jack’s boys better. At eighteen, they were a little younger than she. Still, they were closer in age to her than he was.
What am I thinking?
In Jack’s opinion, an unmated Zetithian man was an abomination, and she’d been after Onca to settle down for ages, telling him he was looking for trouble by keeping the Palace open. Given that their fluffer had been killed by a nutcase of a woman who wanted her job, Jack made a decent argument against continuing the brothel. Onca had told her he would quit when he was ready—though he’d neglected to tell her when he stopped booking appointments. He didn’t need her help in trying to decide whether to pick up where he’d left off or retire permanently. Being told what to do went against Onca’s nature in ways Jack didn’t understand.
“Tell me again why you threw such a fit when I, um, rescued you?”
Despite their initial disparity, they had gotten along reasonably well since then—although he suspected that the offer of food might have had something to do with her level of cooperation.
And she’d thought she might have to fuck him for her dinner.
She really must’ve been hungry.
“My friends have been disappearing. I was trying to find out where they went.”
“Admirable, but did you never suspect you might wind up facing the same fate?”
“Well, yes,” she conceded. “But I knew what I was getting into and was prepared. They weren’t.”
“You think they weren’t prepared. They might have known exactly what was happening and it didn’t do them any good.”
“Possibly. I’m…well, I’m a little…tougher than they were.”
Onca chuckled. “Tougher? You mean as in harder to chew?”
“Maybe.” With a withering glance at him, she swallowed the last of her second bowl of chupka and wiped her mouth with a napkin. “Um, you did mention bread and cheese, didn’t you?”
“Yes, I did. What’ll you give me for it?”
Her eyes narrowed. “You said I wouldn’t have to fuck you.”
“That’s right, and don’t worry, you won’t. I’m looking for information, not a good time.”
Her snort left no doubt as to what she didn’t consider to be a good time. “What kind of information?”
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About the Author:
Cheryl Brooks is a former critical care nurse turned romance writer. Her Cat Star Chronicles series includes Slave, Warrior, Rogue, Outcast, Fugitive, Hero, Virgin, Stud, Wildcat, and the current release, Rebel. She is a member of the RWA and IRWA and lives with her husband and sons near Bloomfield, Indiana.
Author Website: http://www.cherylbrooksonline.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CherylCatMaster @CherylCatMaster