Starbound by Kassie Burns
Here’s the background:
When the Starbound is lost in space, the humans on the colony ship are rescued by an alien race, the Napau, pure energy beings who live between the stars. But the Napau ask a stiff price for their rescue- they want to possess the humans of their choosing and experience the pleasures of having a physical body. A hundred years later, a new generation of humans serve the Napau as sexual slaves and think of them as gods.
The Napau have chosen Erlinn whose’s been taken to the Temple of Eros where she will be possessed. There she finds Jerod, her lover, who was forced into the temple several months before and kept against his will as a priest of the Napau.
Jerod walked through the door to the bathing pool at the same moment Erlinn emerged dripping from the water. His breath caught in his throat at the sight of her nude beauty. She was flawless, like a goddess emerging from her bath. Her auburn hair hung straight and smooth in long, wet strands over her bare shoulders. Dewy beads of water sparkled on her rosy breasts and slid over the sensual curve of hip and stomach to disappear into the sleek red bush between her legs. No wonder the Napau wanted her.
Their gazes locked for a moment, her eyes full of questions. His heart sank. If only he could talk to her freely, but he well knew from past experience that the star gods might be hovering, invisible, pure energy, watching. With a warning shake of his head, he handed her a thick cotton robe and a towel to dry her hair. Turning his back on the pool, he led her through double doors into a deserted corridor. A few quick steps brought them to another door made of carved oak. Jerod threw it open and led Erlinn into the room beyond.
All was ready as he’d commanded. A narrow table topped with padded leather occupied the center of the chamber. A folded towel lay at one end.
“What’s this?” Erlinn stepped to his side with a hint of fear on her face. She hugged her robe tight against her body. “What are you going to do to me?”
As if in reassurance, soft music filled the air with the sweet sounds of an ancient melody. Despite his worries, Jerod almost smiled to see her looking wildly around for some sign of the musicians. This was more of the magic the ancients had called science, the magic that had once belonged to his people but had been taken away by the Napau.
The Napau forbid all access to ancient knowledge. They didn’t want humans to know of concepts like freedom, honor and love. Here in the temple he’d found terrible proofs of their despotism. These star beings were not saviors—they were parasites, using humans for their revolting pleasures.
His muscles tensed, wanting to strike out. But this enemy was invisible, incorporeal. He couldn’t stop them. Before coming to the temple,he’d dreamed of trying, but the horror of his first possession had taught him how helpless he truly was. That terrible experience had destroyed an innocence he’d never known he possessed. He’d felt stripped of his manhood. Today, though, a reborn determination stirred to life deep inside him. Despite the odds, he couldn’t give up. Not
with Erlinn looking to him for leadership.
“Take off your robe and lie down,” he commanded trying to conceal the emotions roiling inside him from her concerned gaze.
“Why, what are you going to do?” Erlinn glanced at the table.
“Tie me down? Force me to endure some perversion?”
Jerod forced a laugh. “Do you see any straps?”
“No. But I’ve heard things about what they do here in the temple.”
He frowned at her. Didn’t she realize she had to be careful what she said? “Such rumors are speculation. No one remembers their time with the Napau.” Speaking the lie made him feel dirty inside. But she must not ever suspect the truth. He would cling to the last few shreds of his dignity if he could.
She tossed her head and her eyes flashed a challenge at him. “Then no one knows for certain what they do with our bodies. That’s not exactly reassuring.”
He ached to reach out and take her in his arms, to gather her against his chest and defy the Napau to touch her. That would probably only add to their amusement if they were watching. “You should welcome the oblivion they will offer you when they possess your body, Erlinn. Their sexual pleasures are not something you’d want to remember.”
She gave a little gasp. Her chin trembled for a moment before she lifted it higher. “What do you mean? You’re a priest. Surely you’ve learned something about what the Napau do with the chosen.”
For a long moment, their gazes locked. His heart swelled with an infinity of pain and fear for her until it seemed about to burst. Torn by anguish, he looked away, unable to bear the questions burning in her eyes. “You’ll find out soon enough. The Napau will return before long. In the meantime, I must continue to prepare you. I’m going to massage you with scented oil to soften your skin. The star gods demand satiny skin. Please lay down on your stomach.”
Reluctantly, Erlinn did as he commanded,dropping her robe and resting her cheek on the folded towel at the top of the table. Jerod wiped a hand across his damp forehead. He couldn’t look away from the soft curve of her backbone, her round, seductive little ass.
“What do I need to know?” she asked, stretching out her long legs.
Stubborn as ever, the little minx, always questioning. Pondering what answer he could give, he reached for the bowl of scented oil that sat on a marble-topped table nearby. He lifted it above her bare back and tipped the rim to let a thin stream drizzle over her skin.
She shivered involuntarily as the cool oil dripped down her shoulders. Setting aside the bowl, he took a deep breath. This would be the worst yet—touching her, caressing her, while keeping his terrible secrets. It seemed a betrayal of the wonderful intimacy they’d once shared. It was a betrayal. But to tell her the truth would only destroy her last hope, and he could not do that to her.
Flexing his fingers, he began to rub the oil into her back. Gods, her skin felt like warm silk.
Enjoy the burn!
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