Bonded(Mating Ritual Book 2)

By: Ria Candro

Book 2 in the Mating Ritual series

When Inara crash lands on a deserted planet, the last thing she expects is to run into two stunning men from the planet Spygia—who claim she is their mate. While she’d love nothing more than to indulge in a steamy encounter—or two or three—with these gorgeous hunks, she’s on the run from the barbaric Malucons who decimated her home planet. And she’s on a mission to find her cousin, the only other survivor. Nothing, not even the promise of paradise to be found in the Spygians’ arms, is going to stop her.

When Inara refuses to be bonded to them, Neichon and Valeron strive to uncover what secrets she’s hiding before they unveil a few of their own. How will their reluctant mate react when she learns she’s destined for, not two, but four Spygian men?

Just so you know—this story contains explicit M/F/M and M/F/M/M/M scenes. Enjoy!

Chapter One

If there was one thing Inara hated more than this damn deserted planet, it was the Malucons. In fact, those bastards were the reason she was stuck here, with nothing more than the clothes on her back and the dagger strapped to her right thigh. After she’d successfully evaded them for months, they’d latched onto the tiny spacejet she’d appropriated and chased her for the past five days, before getting lucky and landing a hit with one of their ship’s guns. Thankfully, she’d been flying by the decimated planet Fresna at the time. Her spacejet had barreled down and she’d managed to parachute out before it hit the ground. She’d landed miles away with nothing more than a few scratches.

“And now here I am.” Trudging through the thick, green forest in search of her ruined jet and praying there were enough pieces left for her to salvage it. If not, she’d be on this dead planet for the foreseeable future, hoping against hope she’d eventually come across a merchant ship who’d decided to brave the Malucons’ wrath and land to gather some of the planet’s remaining resources.

Or until the Malucons track you down and finish the job.

“Oh, fuck me.”

She didn’t kid herself. That was the most likely scenario, given that after she’d crash-landed, she’d caught sight of a Malucon shuttle heading toward the wreckage of her jet. She had to hand it to the Malucons, they were persistent. Once they decided to annihilate a planet’s inhabitants, they didn’t stop until every last being was dead. Look at what they’d done to Fresna. Now it was nothing more than an empty shell, devoid of all life.

Not to mention her own decimated planet.

No doubt the Malucons had examined the wreckage and realized she’d escaped. That would explain why the shuttle traveled through the sky at a low altitude. They wouldn’t stop searching until they found her. Killed her. Her only solace was that they probably didn’t think her stupid enough to go back for her jet. If she was lucky, she would be able to get it up and running before they came back to the site.

A branch crackled somewhere behind her, and Inara’s heart thumped. There was no life left on this planet, other than what resided in the waters, which meant…

Damn it! How could they have found her so quickly? The Malucon shuttle had gone in the opposite direction, but some of its crew must have gotten off somewhere.

Pulse pounding, she raced through the forest, going as quickly as she dared without rustling the leaves that covered the forest floor. Her only hope was to find a spot to hide. Maybe up in the trees…

Without warning, a figure stepped from behind a tree, right onto her path. She collided with his chest. His bare chest. The man’s arms closed around her, holding her imprisoned in his grasp.

“No,” Inara cried, struggling against him. If the Malucon had disrobed already, that could mean only one thing. They intended to rape her before killing her.

Gods, no.

“Hold still, female,” said the man. To her surprise, he spoke her language.

Come to think of it, he didn’t feel—or smell—like a Malucon. He actually smelled good. Really good. Like one of the luxurious desserts she’d enjoyed as a child, before everything and everyone she’d loved had been taken from her by the hideous Malucons.

Ceasing her struggle, she tilted her head up, for the first time allowing herself a look at the man. She drew in a loud breath.

Rather than the seven foot tall Malucon with gray flesh and tangled dark hair that she’d expected to see, the man holding her was just over six feet tall, with silky black hair that fell to his mid-back and gorgeous honey-toned skin. His eyes, an arresting shade of burnished gold, looked down on her with concern. And though she’d mistaken him for being nude, he actually wore a loincloth that barely covered his assets while leaving his broad, muscular chest bare, and soft suede boots on his feet. On his right arm was a decorative brass arm cuff.

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