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Satin Tempest sat in the comfy leather chair gripping the steering mechanism, and with a deep breath, she pushed the ignition button. The engines roared to life, the spacecraft rumbling and shaking.
In the distance, her father and the men who maintained and cared for the family’s spaceship raced toward her, waving their arms, their lips moving with their unheard shouts.
Depressing the Launch button, a loud boom followed and the men below blurred with the tremors and lurching of the ship as it hurled into the atmosphere.
What have I done?
It was her identical twin sister, Thistle, that should have been on this spacecraft tomorrow morning, heading toward the planet, Trexotera, to marry the Dragon Warlord and Commander Prince Drayce Quinn.
But it was Satin who had spent most of her teen years dreaming and planning—some would even say she was scheming—to become not only a citizen of Trexotera but also the queen of the dragon planet.
Having reached the age of twenty-five, she and Thistle had hit the required age for marriage. Both girls were stunning, or at least that’s what they’d both heard most of their lives. Long white hair draping to their waists, straight and wispy, the color accentuating their sapphire blue eyes giving them a Siren’s look, one many men found completely entrancing. Satin had heard this more than once, but when she looked in the mirror, she didn’t see any of that. She saw a warrior.
For most of her life, she had dreamed of shooting arrows and soaring through the air on the back of a fire-breathing dragon from Trexotera. Her long slim hands ached to grip the scaly points on a dragon’s neck, while her legs and hips would tighten on the wide girth, keeping her seated for the dangerous flight to a war-torn field.
Satin had envisioned herself shooting drone-led arrows toward the enemy, directing the muscled beast between her thighs to breathe fire onto the fields below, slaying hundreds, giving her fellow soldiers and country a quick victory.
Her sister, Thistle, had spent the better part of the past month weeping and waking up with night terrors over the prospect of being sent to a land filled with dragons and Warlords. Her timid spirit wasn’t made for the warring that occurred with these gigantic, fire-breathing reptiles.
Having set her sights on a planet in the universe that specialized in domestic farming instead, when Thistle had been informed that she’d been given as a prize and treasure to the Drayce, the shock to her system had been so drastic that the fragile woman fainted on the spot.
One would think that would have been enough for Alistair Tempest, King of Zelora, and their beloved father to send Satin instead, especially since she’d been begging to become Queen of Trexotera since the age of thirteen.
Instead, Alistair had dug his heels in and announced that Drayce needed a calm and timid wife, not one who would vie with him for training and management of the dragons. He insisted that Satin’s temperament would enrage the dominant soldier who commanded the vast dragon army of Trexotera.
Satin shook her head, her anger roiling in her belly once again. She vowed that she’d show him.
Dammit, I’ve spent the better half of my life studying dragons. I’m prepared for this task.
Lost in her thoughts, Satin had almost forgotten to shut off the override button. Having done her homework, she discovered that her father and his engineers had built a mechanism into the spacecraft allowing King Tempest the ability to take over the ship, turning it around and bringing back to their palace.
Not this time.
Her father would realize, once again, he’d underestimated the knowledge and tenacity of his daughter.
Checking the coordinates, instrument panel, and assuring that everything was all set, Satin activated the auto-pilot, exiting the cockpit and entering the main cabin to recline on the comfortable couches, catching up on her favorite television shows.
Satin wouldn’t be landing in Trexotera for a while and having activated the alarm; it would wake her up an hour before her destination.
Drayce Quinn, Commander and Dragon Warlord for Trexotera shook his head grimly watching the spacecraft from Zelora on his vid screen. Raking his hand through his long black hair, his anger rising, he paced in his office.
How could one woman cause this much trouble?
Instead of Thistle, her identical sister, Satin was on her way having stolen a spacecraft from under her father’s nose, defying his orders in every way possible.
Having only met the women once, spending very little time with either of the identical twins, Drayce agreed it was virtually impossible to tell them apart by their physical appearance. But when it came to personalities, they were quite different. Thistle, although intellectually similar to her sister, the rest of her personality resembled milquetoast.
However, Satin was the flipside of her twin. Again, these women were ravishing and indistinguishable. But Satin was daring and courageous, her desires and likes were more militaristic. He had been very impressed when she spoke knowledgeably about dragons—their needs, training, and care.
After having met with both women, Drayce had asked to marry Satin. He figured since he’d become thirty, and more than able and ready to choose his wife, that there wouldn’t be any further discussion about his choice. But both his father and hers felt that the Satin’s independent streak and warrior mentality would chafe with his own.
Reluctantly he agreed and made peace with the fact that he would be mated with the timid Thistle and not the fiery Satin who had piqued his curiosity. However, it had never settled right with him. He had brothers that would have leapt at the chance to marry the timid beauty.
Drayce knew that as a dragon Warlord he needed a wife that would not faint in front of a dragon or fear them. He’d need a woman who would understand the rigors of battle, not whining and complaining about his time away from her.
His role as Commander of the Dragon was intense, and many days the bloody visions were overwhelming. He needed a woman who would be a helper to him, someone who could share the burdens of his dangerous and important role on Trexotera.
And today, the Gods of Alpheas had smiled down on him, and the naughty girl had stolen the spacecraft heading directly to his planet and willingly becoming his wife.
“I see you found her, son.” Zorander Quinn stood directly behind him, also watching the monitor.
Startling a bit, Drayce peered up at his father. “Yes. She should be here within the next hour. As angry as I am that she did this, putting her life in danger, and under all our noses, I’m also a bit impressed at the courage and determination it took to pull off this feat—skillfully and successfully.”
Nodding, Zorander didn’t take his eyes from the hologram. “I agree. She’s exhibited tenacity, but I’m also afraid that you’ll find Satin’s impulsivity and obstinance are just as plentiful.”
“Impulsivity can be corrected with consistent discipline, but you can’t give someone persistence and courage. Those are traits you’re either born with or not, and no amount of discipline can make them go away, but with cultivation, those two traits can make a damn good warrior.”
Zorander nodded. “You’re right, of course. But don’t underestimate the amount of work those may entail, son. King Tempest is still offering Thistle to you. Don’t be hasty with your decision.”
“Father, I'm not hasty. I told you months ago that Satin was my choice, and I should have never let either you or Alistair convince me otherwise. The Gods of Alpheas have agreed with my intuition and changed the hand of the Goddess Gem today. I’ll not tempt the Gods any further by disregarding their hand in my fate. Satin will be my wife.”
“As you wish, Drayce. Are you meeting the ship, or shall I order my men to take her captive as soon as it lands?”
“I’ll be on the ground waiting when she lands; I’ll retrieve the naughty girl myself.” Drayce’s finger drummed on the table, itching to get the beauty in his hands and under his thumb. She’d learn quickly that although he’d be ever thankful for her defiance in this situation, he would not tolerate her risking her life or going against any edicts from his mouth in the future. Obedience is rewarded, and disobedience has its consequences as well.
“Are you going to use a firm hand with her immediately? Personally, I think it is best to start as you plan to continue.” Zorander quirked an eyebrow at him.
“Oh yes. She’ll be sitting gingerly at dinner tonight, trust me.”
His father clapped him on the shoulder before leaving the room. “Good man, I’ll leave you to plan the rest of your day, and see you at dinner.”
“Oh, Father?” Drayce waited for him to turn around before continuing. “Send for the Director of Religious Affairs; we’ll be marrying this evening right before dinner.”
“As you wish, Drayce. This evening.”
Turning his attention back to the screen, the Warlord grit his teeth, her impetuousness would be one of the first things he’d correct in the naughty vixen.