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Rebel

Rebel, July 2014
The Cat Star Chronicles
by Cheryl Brooks

Sourcebooks Casablanca
Featuring: Kimcasha; Onca
384 pages
ISBN: 1402285167
EAN: 9781402285165
Kindle: B00HFDVOCI
Paperback / e-Book
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"Hot romance, unique characters, and great story-telling!"

Fresh Fiction Review

Rebel
Cheryl Brooks

Reviewed by Miranda Owen
Posted June 11, 2014

Romance Paranormal

REBEL is Book ten in the always excellent Cat Star Chronicles by Cheryl Brooks. I usually describe this series to other readers unfamiliar with it as a mix of romance, sci-fi, fantasy, humor, and erotica. There is something for just about everybody in this series. You never feel as though you got cheated out of a story after reading a Cat Star Chronicles book, and REBEL is no exception.

Each book in this series focuses on one couple and their journey, with recurring characters from past books sometimes making an appearance. It's not necessary to have read all of the previous books in this series to enjoy REBEL, but reading at least a few gives you a better understanding of this unique world Cheryl Brooks has created. You have to understand that this is a world in which there are a myriad of species and they travel to many different planets. I am always in awe of the amount of places and creatures Cheryl Brooks can create and with such detail.

At first glance, Onca is not really anybody's idea of a hero or leader. He is recently retired from a successful career working in, and being part owner of, a fancy brothel. However, he comes to the rescue of Kimcasha "Kim" Shrovenach when it looks like she's being bothered by a giant ape man. Kim is at first a little annoyed by Onca's intervention because she was hoping to get information out of the Herpatronian. It's this search for Kim's missing friends and their plight that tie Onca and Kim together long enough to foster an attraction between them.

I liked that the attraction builds slowly. Kim isn't that interested in sex and relationships, and Onca thinks that Kim is a little too young for him. Onca is a complex hero. Although he comes from a planet known for the sexual prowess of their men, and successfully maintained a career as a much sought after prostitute, he is extremely insecure and fears rejection. This hidden vulnerability gives him depth and makes his story that much more interesting without him sounding morose or whiny.

Kim is an interesting blend of strength and naiveté. Once they make the plunge and become intimate, the sizzle is off the charts. The obstacles to their happiness stem from Onca's old feelings of inadequacy and a protective streak when it comes to Kim. It would seem ironic that a man who made his living in the sex industry would end up fighting against those making a profit from sexual slavery. However, Onca and the author make a clear distinction between what he did and what the nefarious bad guys in this story do by forcing people in prostitution.

Enough cannot be said about the diverse and cool collection of characters in REBEL. I was extremely happy to see recurring characters like the witch Tisana as well as the always fabulous Captain Jack and her sons Larry, Moe, and Curly. I also loved the new characters like the male prostitute/brothel owner Rashe, Darconians Shemlak and Draddut, the winged clone Val, and Kim's friends. The characters in Cheryl Brooks' stories are always entertaining and take on a life of their own.

REBEL is an enticing mix of red hot romance, fascinating characters, and good old-fashioned story-telling. I love these books! I anxiously await the next book in this highly imaginative and unique series.

Learn more about Rebel

SUMMARY

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...

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Other women paid for him,

Only she gets to keep him.

The city of Damenk never slept, but parts of it did get a little drowsy now and then. Onca strolled down a dimly lit street in just such a neighborhood, enjoying the peaceful stillness. Talwat was a residential district. No pheromones or subliminal advertising fogged the atmosphere here, and it was quiet after dark, especially in the hours just before dawn.

Although he’d taken this same route hundreds of times, this day was unique. His most recent client had seemed honored that she was his last before taking a much-needed rest. She had smiled, tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear, and told him to call on her if he ever needed help. Allowing her to feel special had cost him nothing, but really, it didn’t mean a damn thing—even her name escaped him now. That session simply marked the end of a long stretch before the time when there were no appointments, no ladies waiting for the use of his body, and certainly no need to sleep at the Palace. He was going home.

There were plenty of men who would have loved his job and would never have considered taking a vacation. Onca didn’t see it that way. No matter how pleasurable or lucrative it might be, it was still a job. He recalled hearing someone say that any occupation, no matter how much fun it was as a hobby, took on all the trappings and burdens of a job the moment money became involved.

That someone was right. Since his partners Jerden and Tarq had left the business, Onca had been trying to keep up with the demand, but he was finally forced to admit that even he couldn’t maintain the pace forever. He had fucked six—no, eight—women that day. Although none had complained that he’d rushed them, he knew he had. Still, he doubted they would have blamed him for hurrying had they understood the circumstances. Onca’s days began at ten and went until four the following morning, and he’d gone from doing one client every three hours to one every two—an hour with the lady followed by an hour to relax, plus an hour each for lunch and dinner.

It’s a wonder my dick still works.

He didn’t even have that excuse. One whiff of an aroused woman’s scent, and he was ready to go again—all set to dive cock-first into a hot, wet pussy. He could think about it now, but without the scent, his cock remained flaccid. He’d even gotten to where he could stifle an erection if he smelled feminine desire in public, which was a useful skill for a Zetithian man to possess. Particularly one who worked in an area where the street pheromones had every passing woman panting with need.

He planned to put that skill to good use over the next few weeks. From now on, he was simply another inhabitant of a large city— anonymous and invisible. He had even donned clothing prior to leaving the Palace, something he’d rarely bothered to do before. For that matter, he didn’t always go home. Roncas had long since given up trying to wake him after the last appointment, merely allowing him to sleep right where his client had left him. She would wake him in plenty of time to have breakfast and a shower before his first session of the day.

Poor Roncas. The tiny Zuteran woman would be left to deal with the calls from new customers, even though Onca had told her to stop making appointments two years ago, following his return from Jerden’s wedding on Terra Minor. Instead of posting an announcement, she had opted to stay on for a week or two before taking her own sabbatical—no doubt deriving some sort of fiendish delight in telling desperate women that the resident Zetithian stud had taken an indefinite leave of absence.

She certainly didn’t need the extra pay. Onca knew precisely how many credits she had stashed away, and her hefty parting bonus would allow her to live in style for the rest of her days. He could have lived like a prince himself, had he chosen to do so. However, he preferred a simpler lifestyle. Granted, he owned a house on Rhylos, which was pricey enough, but it was a modest dwelling in a neighborhood noted more for its peace and quiet than its ostentatious display of wealth.

Until the next moment, when the blessed silence was broken by running footsteps. The smack of two bodies colliding followed, accompanied by a masculine grunt and a decidedly feminine gasp.

“Let go of me, you creep!”

The man’s chuckle raised the hair at Onca’s nape. “Not likely, girly. You’re mine now.”

Onca sighed. A knight errant, he was not, although he was carrying a pulse pistol—something Jack had insisted upon if he persisted in pursuing what she considered to be a dangerous occupation for one of the galaxy’s few remaining Zetithians.

“You’ll end up dead,” Jack had warned. “Rutger Grekkor isn’t the only jealous man in the universe. You just watch yourself, bucko— especially when you’re out on the street. And in restaurants, make damned sure you’re sitting in the gunfighter’s seat.”

She’d had to explain what she meant by that, of course. Jack had made a study of old Earth’s culture, with the result that her conversation was peppered with figures of speech that no one else understood, and she took smug satisfaction in insulting miscreants with thousand-year-old expletives.

Unlike the words now issuing from the captive lady’s mouth. They were all explicit, succinct, contemporary terms—some of them having their origins on worlds far removed from Rhylos.

A highly diverse vocabulary for a lady.

Rounding the corner, he spotted the couple. A hulking Herpatronian with enough leather strapped to his simian body to satisfy the most perverse fetish held a struggling woman against the wall of a nearby dwelling.

At least, Onca assumed she was a woman. At the moment, all he could see of her was a mass of dark brown curls peeking out from beneath her captor’s arm. Then it struck him that if her size was any indication, this was a young girl rather than an adult. Suddenly, the fact that he was armed was immaterial. A child must be defended, if only with bare hands and fangs.

However, since he was armed, he drew his pistol, set it for a light stun, and fired a shot, pinging the man in the ass. With a howl, the beast abandoned his victim and took off running.

If Onca had expected the girl to fall at his feet in gratitude, he would have been sorely disappointed by her reaction, which was more akin to the ire of a hissing, spitting cat.

“You idiot!” she screeched. “What the hell did you do that for?”

Onca stared at her, not quite believing his pointed ears. “Let me get this straight. You wanted that big ape to rape you?”

Her scowl was enough to scare off more than a Herpatronian; therefore, he concluded that she must not have been trying to escape. A quick once-over revealed a small, thin girl clad in skimpy strips of ragged green satin—attire that might have been alluring on a more voluptuous form, yet only made her look like an underage streetwalker fallen on desperate times.

“No, I did not want that big ape to rape me,” she mocked. “I’m trying to find my friends.”

“Peculiar method,” he commented. “Unless, of course, he knows something you don’t.”

Her face seemed to crumble slightly. “I don’t know whether he does or not. I’m trying to find out what happened to them. Three of them just…disappeared.”

“Why didn’t you go to the police? I’m sure their methods would be more effective—and less dangerous.”

Bowing her head, she muttered something he couldn’t catch.

“What was that?”

Her head snapped up, and she glared at him. “I said they’d probably lock me up if I said anything.”

“You mean the police are in on this?”

“No, I mean…” With a wince, she sniffed in a breath, crossing her arms over her nonexistent bosom. “I’m the sort of person they don’t like running around loose.”

“Ah, I see.” A homeless waif—and probably an orphan—which was one of the few things Rhylos prided itself on not having in abundance. “I agree. You shouldn’t be running around loose. It’s much too dangerous, as you can see. There are schools and orphanages for kids like you.”

“I’m not a kid.” She practically spat the words at him. “I’m twenty- two years old and I’ve been on my own since I was ten. I can take care of myself, thank you very much.”

At least she had said thank you. Sort of. “Did you ever consider that the authorities might have picked up your friends? If they were living on the street and someone reported them…”

She shook her head. “I don’t think so. I’ve seen that happen before. It’s very official and well publicized. The cops like to advertise when they do something good—at least, something they think is good. This was different.” Her arms were still crossed over her chest, and she hugged herself, shuddering. “All three of them disappeared during the night without a trace.” She nodded in the direction her assailant had taken. “He was the first lead I had.”

Onca refused to apologize. “Don’t worry. I can report this little skirmish to the police myself. After all, I was a witness.”

Squaring her shoulders, she glared up at him, sweeping her curls behind her ears in an angry, infuriated gesture as she stomped her foot. “You will not.”

Onca’s jaw dropped. “Mother of the gods,” he whispered. “You’re Zetithian.”


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