Lionheart is also available as part of the three story print collection, StarQuest, available now by direct order from Ellora's Cave.
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Genre: Erotica, Futuristic, Paranormal, romance
"...This is a fast paced action and erotic love story with unique twists...Though a futuristic adventure is the story's base, this is foremost an erotic love story about the relationship between Mara and Sander. The love scenes are very hot and could easily melt the pages of the book! Kate is now working on another book in this unique series which will no doubt be just as steamy and erotic as Lionheart is. For readers of erotica, this book is highly recommended!"
Reviewed by Kari Thomas
Carol Castellanos gave Lionheart 5 Stars in her review for Sime-Gen and said: "In the end I found I wanted to read more. I hope to see a follow up to this book very soon."
"... I must add how happy I am that Ms. Douglas took the "romance" portion of the genre seriously and blessed Mara and Sander with a heaping helping of love! It adds a depth to their intimacies that is missing in many "erotic" romances. I understand there are more books coming in this series - I certainly recommend this one, and will be keeping an eye open for future StarQuest novels!"
"...Brimming with desire, need, and fearless love, LIONHEART by Kate Douglas will leave readers breathless...Ms. Douglas does an excellent job of combining passionate interludes with suspense to create an unforgettable love story that spans the universe. If you're looking for a tale that is sure to overwhelm your senses and take you on a thrilling ride, don't miss LIONHEART by Kate Douglas."
"...Ms Douglas' vibrant characters are unlike any other. Her detail to description gives the reader the insight into the very soul of the alien Sander, and the earth woman he loves...you will be hanging on the edge of your seat until the very end. A tale of sensual seduction, and surrender, that is a must read for any true erotica fan."
"...The characters in this story really seem to stand out and take a life of their own, and the ending is definitely well-deserved by both. Overall, a good read and a sexy hero... even if he is a bit unconventional!"
"...Does anyone know when Night of the Cat by Kate Douglas is going to be available. I just read the first book Lionheart and OMG!!!! I loved it. It also happens to be the very first ebook I have ever read. All I have to say is Wow. This book was GOOD!"
Chris From ParanormalRomance list
Read an Excerpt:
The following material contains strong sexual content meant for mature readers. "LIONHEART" has been rated NC-17, erotic, by two individual reviewers.
"You've been contacted again?"
"Yes. For the past five nights, now. He's come to me each night at about the same time."
"Do you still believe his is a peaceful mission?"
"Yes, Director. I do." Mara Armand faced the eight members of the governing board of the Armand Institute and wondered just how effective her mental shields were against this talented group of Sensitives. She'd never tried to hide anything from them before. She'd never had a reason. "As I explained, he opens contact with a kiss. Not a particularly warlike greeting," she added dryly, chuckling along with the men.
"What else have you learned?"
She smiled in Fred Haydon's direction. Haydon had been one of her father's oldest friends. He would always see Mara as a child, never as the Institute's newly elected leader.
"His name is Sander. His people call themselves Explorers. Their mission is one of peaceful telepathic study without actual physical contact."
Right. He didn't need physical contact, not with the ability to send the kind of telepathic kiss he'd given her last night. She wasn't about to share that information with the Board. Hiding her guilt along with her thoughts, Mara snapped her mental shields into place.
"You're an empath." Malachi Franklin, the Institute's physician, pinned Mara with a deceptively benign stare. Had he picked up her wayward thoughts? He was precog. Did he see something she should know? "You feel no threat from this contact, no sense of deception?"
"None." She met his level gaze with one of her own. She'd never tried this before, hiding feelings from someone she'd known all her life, much less someone she'd once slept with.
She wasn't certain how she felt when she realized she'd been successful. It wasn't as if she were hiding anything dangerous. She'd never do that, never put the Institute at risk. Even so, it was unsettling to realize he suspected nothing. Malachi's approving smile spread to the rest of the group.
"Then I recommend you continue the contact and learn whatever you can from these visitors." He turned and addressed the other members of the Board. "Dr. Armand would have been thrilled to learn of an entire race of telepathic beings."
"I agree." Fred Haydon grinned mischievously at Mara. "Although the idea of kissing an alien before you start your conversation wouldn't do much for me, even if it is all in your head." He laughed out loud at his own joke as Mara once again took her seat at the head of the long, marble table.
"Keep records of all your contacts. Learn whatever you can. It's a unique opportunity we've got here. But remember, be suspicious and be careful." The Director gave Mara an encouraging smile, then glanced at the stack of notes in front of him. "Next order of business?"
Mara's thoughts wandered as the long meeting dragged on. Always they came back to the kiss. What had begun as a ritual greeting just five nights ago had changed to something completely different last night.
He'd first come to her in her dreams--alien, probing, curious and open. After the first brief moment of fear at the unexpected intrusion into her mind, she'd welcomed him, thrilled by the unique opportunity of telepathic contact, the chance to actually know a sentient being from another world.
The first night she'd sensed a gentle kiss on either cheek, the second, the soft caress of lips against hers. Nothing sensual, nothing out of the ordinary, if contact with an alien creature could ever be considered ordinary.
But last night, last night everything had changed. As usual, he had entered her thoughts, establishing the mindtouch she'd learned to welcome, the subtle, non-threatening link of one open mind with the other.
Mara, I, Sander the Explorer, greet you in peace.
That was the only part of the night that had remained familiar.
Warm lips brushed her cheek, first one side then the other before finding her mouth. On other nights the kiss had ended quickly and their telepathic conversation had begun.
Until last night.
She'd sensed the difference almost immediately. The familiar ritual greeting held a question, a subtle plea for acquiescence.
The brief contact deepened, lips warm against her mouth, the first touch of a tongue stroking, tasting, inviting her to open in welcome. Without hesitation she had done exactly that...without any concern that this sensual invasion could be anything but wonderful. She'd welcomed that mobile tongue, those soft and searching lips, drawing him into her mouth, tasting flavors alien and intoxicating, giving herself over to this newfound sensuality, this contact of the mind that so inflamed her body. She'd reached for him, sensing his body warm and solid against her, but she'd touched only air and the light blanket covering her. When the kiss finally ended, she'd felt strangely bereft, as if she dangled there, suspended in the night by a silken thread of need. A tenuous thread that parted as the Explorer's ship passed out of orbit and her nightly contact with the presence ended.
"Mara? The meeting's adjourned." Fred Haydon stood up, chuckling as Mara rapidly blinked her eyes and tried to refocus on the group at the table. "You must have dozed off. Don't let your alien date keep you up so late."
Mara smiled thinly, thankful she'd at least managed to keep her shields in place, then gathered her papers and rose from her seat. "I'll try to remember that, Fred." She turned to leave, but felt herself suddenly caught in a thick wash of emotion.
Malachi Franklin stared at her from across the room. "Be careful, Mara. Remember, he's alien. His mind is obviously very powerful and we only know what he allows you to know. Mind control takes many forms. Use caution. Above all, keep us informed."
What does he know? Not only was Malachi the Institute's healer...he was also a powerful precog. The future sometimes opened to him, unfolding like leaves from a many-paged book. Did he see something Mara had missed? Did he sense danger somewhere along her path? Mara resisted the urge to try and read his emotions and thoughts, an act that would open her own mind to the doctor's.
Damn! Keeping secrets was not something she did naturally. She could, however, make promises.
"Of course, Malachi. I'll have a complete report for our next meeting." Mara brushed past him on her way out the door, her shields tightly drawn. She'd never hidden anything from anyone before, never felt a need to raise her shields, even to Malachi.
Which, of course, was the reason their brief affair had never progressed beyond friendship and a one time sexual liaison. He'd known exactly how she felt about him. They'd both realized it wasn't enough.
But now, now she concealed something profound, an act unprecedented in her knowledge of telepathy.
The kiss. Why had she deceived the Board members about the Starship Captain's kiss?
Had she simply been embarrassed by her unbelievable response to Sander's sensuality? Was the kiss so special she'd wanted to keep it to herself, or had it been something more, something sinister?
Mind control takes many forms.
An uneasy shiver lifted the hair at Mara's nape as she headed back to her bungalow and another night of contact with Sander the Explorer.
* * * * *
"He's been orbiting Earth for almost three months, Mara....yet the contact you describe is essentially unchanged?"
"That's correct, Director. I've learned so much about his home world, Mirat, and his mission to the stars. It's all here in my report."
"Have you any idea of his appearance? Are his people at all, well, human?" The Director's soft question reminded Mara of how little she actually knew about her visitor.
"We've never discussed our physical attributes, sir. He does refer to families and pair-bonds, so there appears to be a similar social structure among his people. He mentions the rigors of space travel, the loneliness, how much he misses his world."
"But nothing about himself? You have no mental image of a visitor who has come to you nightly for three months, now? Aren't you curious, Dr. Armand?"
Mara sensed his gentle rebuke and bowed her head. The Director rarely used her title. "Yes, sir. Of course I'm curious. But no, I have no perception beyond our conversation, nothing that tells me what he looks like."
"Still getting that `ritual kiss,' Mara? Maybe I should park outside your bungalow and play chaperone."
Everyone had laughed at Fred's dry wit. Mara had merely smiled, thankful for his interruption, then gathered her papers and gone home.
Now she played the conversation over in her mind, shivering slightly as she shed her clothes and crawled into bed. Deception weighed heavily on her mind, though she'd not lied when she told the Director she had no idea of Sander's physical appearance. She'd sensed hands and lips, a body warm against hers, a wet tongue stroking, a very hot penis filling her, bringing her to mind-stunning completion.
Still, everything she'd sensed had occurred within her mind, no matter how strong the physical sensation had been. The thoughts had been put there by Sander, but the sensations she felt might be merely her interpretation of his telepathic lovemaking.
It was odd, though, that she'd never felt compelled to ask him what he looked like. Mara sighed, scissoring her legs against the cool sheets. Did it really matter? Once his study of Earth was ended, Sander would return to Mirat without ever setting foot on her planet. How would she bear it when he was gone? She grimaced, thinking of Fred's joke about the `ritual kiss.' The members of the Board had no idea, none of them did, how much farther that kiss had progressed.
Maybe Fred was right. Maybe she did need a chaperone. Just look at her...lying here naked in her lonely bed, knees apart, moisture welling up between her thighs in anxious anticipation, waiting. She'd never slept naked in her life, not until Sander had come into her room on his nightly visits as his ship orbited about the planet.
Mara gazed at the only light in the room, a small portrait lamp illuminating the subtle colors of the oil painting of African lions Daniel Armand had done many years ago. Willing her agitation to subside, she thoughtfully studied the familiar features of the King of Beasts. His golden eyes had watched over her since childhood, guarding and protecting her along with the pride of females and small cubs clustered about the lion's broad paws.
A comforting presence in her tiny bedroom.
Until three months ago, the only presence.
Why didn't I tell them? She should have put it in her report, the way he made her feel, the power of his mental touch. But how could she? How could she stand there, in front of that group of men who'd known her all her life, one of whom had been her lover, and explain that only now, after three short months of the alien's mindtouch, did she finally understand what had been missing in her life?
Mind control takes many forms.
No. She absolutely refused to believe that. Her report had been as complete as it needed to be. She'd told the board members what she'd learned about Mirat, about the other sentient species Sander described, the other worlds he and his team of Explorers had visited. She would not, could not, tell them everything. She had given her life to her father's dream, her every decision weighted in favor of his beloved Institute.
Disclosing the specific nature of Sander's nightly visits would throw the Armand Institute into turmoil. The ever protective board members would insist she end the contact.
There was still so much more to learn.
Mara thought of her life before Sander. She could barely relate to the young woman she had been, so much had Sander taught her about herself. Was he affecting her mind? Was his sensual assault on her body part of an ultimate plan, some insidious plot for control?
"Ridiculous." Malachi's paranoid warnings and Fred's teasing must be getting to her. There was no danger in Sander. The only danger she foresaw was to her heart.
That was a danger she would face on her own. Mara glanced at the switch to the hummer, a simple device occasionally used to block the interfering thoughts of the other sensitive minds within the compound. Trusting her neighbors' consideration for her privacy, she still wished she could turn it on and relax with the knowledge she was completely alone with her alien visitor.
Unfortunately, the silent emanations from the device would block Sander's thoughts as well. She would have to take the risk, trusting to the innate discretion of her fellow Sensitives to ensure her privacy. Spying on one another was an unforgivable act.
Sighing, she willed her troubled spirit to relax. Naked beneath the light sheet, she waited. As patiently as the tawny lion watching over her, she waited.
Will he come? She opened her mind to his gentle touch and settled into the darkness. The details of the weekly board meeting faded along with her nagging sense of guilt. The subtle buzz and tremor of a hundred minds disappeared as Mara focused her thoughts on the alien ship orbiting above the Earth.
She recognized his mindtouch immediately, the gentle quest into her thoughts, the almost physical caress as their minds linked and renewed acquaintance. Sighing in greeting, she felt the familiar languor envelope her limbs.
"Sander." She spoke his name aloud, even though he heard only her thoughts.
She thought of that first contact, how difficult it had been to understand him. Even now, as much as she'd improved, much of his mental conversation was lost to her. But his touch! He'd awakened her, caressed a pleasure center of her brain in such a way that his touch was now a drug she must have.
Mind control takes many forms.
She closed her eyes in denial. She would know if Sander lied. An empath sensed deceit as a powerful emotion.
Giving her mind completely over to his had been difficult. Trusting the unknown, opening herself to his life-force.
Even now, she knew he was there, hovering just outside her consciousness. At precisely the moment she'd begin to doubt his presence he would appear, finally, at the corners of her mind, his touch as light as a butterfly's wing.
There! Just as she'd expected. The fragile, fluttering whisper of contact, the softest of kisses on her waiting lips, followed a moment later by a roughened finger trailing across her throat. She exhaled a sigh of surrender.
His deep, sensual laugh filled her mind as the sensation of that single finger sketched a fiery path between her breasts, encircling the rounded contour of first one, then the other, finally pausing to tease the silky underside of each in its turn.
Liquid fire pooled between her thighs. She felt the deep pulse low in her abdomen, the prickling, tickling whisper of the cool night air against her flesh. She arched her back, sighing once again and expanding her chest with a deep, lung-filling breath, lifting her breasts closer to his hands, seeking more of his caress. Broad palms cupped her breasts, strong fingers pinched and rolled her sensitive nipples into hard kernels. Unseen lips tasted her belly, nuzzling and nipping with sharp little bites and moist kisses.
Gone now was the teasing, almost tentative touch. The power of the presence grew, filling her thoughts with pure, unfiltered sensation, dragging a muted cry from between her lips.
Mara clutched the sheets with trembling fingers. She'd tried before to touch him, to stroke the entity giving her so much pleasure.
The only body she'd touched had been her own.
The kisses grew more intimate, the hands fondling her breasts more demanding, tugging and rolling her turgid nipples until she cried out. His hot and greedy tongue laved her belly with long, wet strokes, before dropping lower to trace the narrow crease between thigh and groin.
She groaned, arching her back, begging for more. Her heels dug into the firm mattress, raising her hips completely off the bed. Again she heard his laughter in her mind, a deep, masculine chuckle of pure, intoxicating pleasure. His tongue moved, flicking across her once, twice, then scampered with teasing, feather-light licks, a taste here, a soft stroke there, so close she felt his hot breath lift the silken curls between her legs, but no more, neither touching nor easing the growing pressure.
Her muscles began their own rhythmic pulse, a mute plea for fulfillment. She parted her knees, silently begging for completion, knowing his substance was in her mind but feeling his hot tongue as, finally, it entered her.
This was new, this intimate kiss, reaching deeper, stroking, filling her with heat, then lapping away the dewy moisture. Now his teeth, not his hands, gently nipped and teased, stinging little bites followed by lush, soothing, kisses, a delicate balance of pleasure and pain until she cried out.
"Now," she demanded, her voice a harsh plea for release. "Please, now!"
Sensation stopped. His touch disappeared. Her flesh quivered, bereft. She drew a deep, shuddering breath. Had she angered him? Driven him away?
The single word filled her mind, his laughter filled her soul. He hadn't left her! He waited, there, just outside her conscious mind, teasing her with his presence. Why was he taking so long? What if his ship orbited beyond their reach? What if he left her, writhing here in agony, inflamed and needy?
Her flesh pulsed, empty, bereft.
He took her with his mouth, suckling, drawing the engorged folds of hot flesh between his lips, driving into her with that incredible tongue. Once again his huge hands enveloped her breasts, his fingers none too gently rolling the taut nipples into fierce little knots.
She bucked beneath his assault, loving him, needing him, taking greedy pleasure from each new sensation he brought her. His tongue, impossible...it can't...but his tongue filled her, pulsed within her, searing her tender flesh, driving in and out then back again in a rhythm older than time. She hovered at the brink of ecstasy, her breath labored, her throat taut, the scream silent.
She felt his tongue slip free of her greedy folds and sweep the length of her, a fiery brand marking the valley between her legs from front to back and back again, parting her thighs, circling that tiny nubbin of pure sensation, driving her to the edge, to the end of oblivion and back until finally, with a last powerful sweep and swirl he filled her, plunging in then out, then in again. His blunt fingers wound about the tender tips of her breasts, his rapacious tongue suddenly stilled deep inside then quickly withdrew as his lips covered her clit, suckling, sucking her soul, her spirit, her self....drawing the last ounce of sanity from her tortured mind.
She screamed in pure, wanton pleasure, hurled from the precipice, a willing sacrifice, her mind filled with his blazing release along with her own.
Panting, exhausted, unbelievably sated, Mara sprawled across the tumbled sheets. The night air chilled the damp emptiness between her thighs. Her besieged and beleaguered flesh pulsed with the final tremors of orgasm and her nipples ached.
Once again, she felt his mouth cover her, relieving the painful pressure with a gentle caress, first suckling one breast, then the other.
Sighing, Mara drifted into sleep as Sander's starship drifted on in space.
* * * * *
Later, much later, a scream woke her, a scream of untold anguish and pain. Bolting upright in the predawn darkness, Mara instinctively grabbed the keyboard by her bed. Coordinates filled her thoughts, senseless numbers she was compelled to type into her computer, meaningless figures flying into her mind.
Her fingers stilled but the painful barrage continued.
Words lost, specific thoughts too scrambled, too frightened. Only the emotions. Her lover's emotions.
The clearest of them all, regret.
* * * * *
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