The Naked Truth
by Lilly Cain
The Confederacy Treaty
Book Two Carina Press
Captain Susan Branscombe was the victim of brutal torture at the hands of terrorists. Though rescued, she’s now facing an equally brutal accusation: treason.
The only way she can prove her innocence is to allow Asler Kiis, a Confederacy Examiner, to delve into the depths of her mind. Asler is Inarri, the alien race that made contact with Earth just months before. His duty is to find the truth, but when he explores Susan’s mind he can’t resist drawing her into a more intimate experience.
Susan takes comfort in Asler’s heated sensuality. Their erotic sensory exploration chases away the darkness and her body aches for more. But as their desire reaches new limits Susan finds it difficult to suppress the memories she is desperate to forget.
Is the passion they share enough to let Susan push aside her fear and trust Asler, not only with her mind and body but with her ever-opening heart?
In the start of this second book of the Confederacy Treaty series, Captain Sue Branscombe has just been rescued after the terrorists attacked with her in tow and she’s in pretty bad shape. Sue was one of the characters from the first book that I really liked so I was glad this was her story. She’s no nonsense, brash and seemed to have great instincts, which bore out by the end of the story.
Several months have evidently passed since Major David Brown joined the Inarri’s but unfortunately, not a lot was shared about him or Alinna. He mostly receives an honorable mention, enough for you to know he fared okay but that was about it. The humans on Earth and the Confederacy are working together to form a Treaty and there’s still a threat out there from a group of Earth born terrorists and another rogue alien race that pose an added threat. As with the first book, the science here isn’t very complicated, just futuristic enough to support the notion of an alien-human connection and a few cool things to make life easier. It worked for me but if you’re a true sci-fi buff, you may not be so easy a judge.
Sue and Asler’s connection was pretty immediate as he was responsible for helping her heal and conducting the “private” investigation using their mind connection abilities. The Inarrii don’t have the same hang-ups as humans about sexuality so it gets pretty sensual and steamy very quickly. However, this story lacked the seductive qualities of the first book and I wasn’t connecting with these two as a couple until near the end. There was a lot of reiteration about what was at risk for Sue if she couldn’t be cleared of treason and Asler’s probe into her mind seem to drag on endlessly. It really kicked into high gear in the last two chapters with some exciting action and tension. I liked both Sue and Asler but wished some of the time spent musing about the m’ittar (mind communication) would have been devoted to more dialogue and relationship between the two. Well, see, I’m already using the Inarrii language!
While I had some issues with this story, I’m still strangely drawn to this series and its characters. The premise of an alien confederacy interacting with Earth is a pretty good one that serves as an interesting backdrop for the relationships in each book. The sensual nature of the Inarrii eliminates any erotic boundaries you would normally expect to see for military officers so pretty much anything goes in the area of romance. The two together make for interesting reading. If not for all that repetition, I’d give it a higher rating. But, I’m hooked on the series and waiting to read next one!
KEEP READING TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND FOR AN EXCERPT FOR THE NAKED TRUTH
About the Author:
Lilly Cain is a wild woman with a deep throaty laugh, plunging necklines and a great lover of all things sensual - perfume, chocolate, silk! She never has to worry about finding a date or keeping a man in line. She keeps her blond hair long and curly, wears beautiful clothes and loves loud music. Lilly lives her private life in the pages of her books.
When not living up to her pen name, Lilly is a single mom who loves reading and writing, dabbling in art and loving and caring for her two daughters. She loves romance and the freedom erotic fantasy provides her imagination. She loves the chilling moments in her novels as much as the steaming hot interludes. Her stories are an escape and a release, and she hopes that they can give you that power, too.
Website – www.lillycain.com
Publisher (books also available on Amazon etc, and available as an audiobook at Audible.com) www.carinapress.com
Group blog - http://contactinfinitefutures.wordpress.com/
Facebook – www.facebook.ca/LillyCain
Twitter – www.twitter.com/LillyCain
Excerpt The Naked Truth
She hurt everywhere. She didn’t want to talk to them, hadn’t expected to live long enough to have to tell them what she had gone through. She didn’t want to think about it. What was done was done, no use crying about it.
“Captain Branscombe, open your eyes!” The sharp bark of her commander had her snapping to alertness even as part of her willed him to go away. The nasty vomit-green walls of the medroom swam into focus, along with the blinking lights of her medical monitors and her commander’s concerned frown.
“Listen up, Branscombe, and pay attention. I know damn well you’re a good soldier and loyal to the Starforce Marines. Never mind what they’re saying. You stand tall and proud.” Commander John Davies leaned over her, his gray camouflage hat seeming to blend in with his hair. Steel-blue eyes stared into her own.
“The admiral has decided the Confederacy will be handling the investigation into the attack.” He turned away from her, looking at the humming machines that surrounded her medroom bed. “It’s not my choice, but you are to report to the Confederacy shuttle at o-nine-hundred today.”
“What?” She struggled to sit up, tried to understand through the haze of drugs she’d been given what he was trying to say. “Am I under investigation?”
“I’ll be frank, Branscombe. There are some who are certain you gave away the location of the base.”
To hell with this. She lifted her chin and stared into his eyes. “I did.”
“What?” He shook his head. “You were tortured. You didn’t know what you were doing.”
“I knew exactly what I was doing. I did tell them, but only because I fully expected our ships to defeat theirs. I knew if I didn’t give them a believable target, they’d attack somewhere else, maybe some place we couldn’t defend. We had three warships at the base, Commander. There was no chance we wouldn’t win. That was the part I didn’t tell them. It was the only thing I could do.” Spent and dizzy from the longest speech she’d made since her rescue, she dropped back against the bed pillow.
“Hmmph,” he huffed, his face unreadable.
A soft rustling noise at the doorway caught Sue’s attention. Her eyes flicked to a stranger at the entrance and back to her base commander as he opened his mouth to say more.
“Captain Susan Branscombe, you are requested to accompany me to the Confederacy ship Horneu.” The stranger spoke brusquely, interrupting Davies. The base commander’s mouth snapped shut. He swallowed whatever he had been about to say, looking as if the taste of it hit a sour note.
Sue examined the figure in her doorway, her gaze caught by the startlingly intense expression in the stranger’s eyes. His mouth turned down at the corners, full lips pressed thin in a disapproving grimace. She shivered, her fingers nervously fisting in the soft folds of the medroom bedcovers. How long has he been listening?
He had to be an Inarrii. She’d seen pictures, read the descriptions of all the aliens in the Confederacy they were about to join. She’d even had personal contact with Alinna Gaerrii, the Inarrii spy who’d practically crash-landed in her backyard. She’d guessed the Inarrii were selected from among the Confederacy to discuss the Treaty because they would garner the most respect. They looked human, aside from their skin markings, which to her eye looked like henna tattoos.
What the pictures hadn’t shown, or perhaps she hadn’t noticed, was how patrician their features were, with their long, thin noses and well-defined cheekbones and jaws, sensual lips. She certainly hadn’t noticed Alinna that way. And the news vids hadn’t done justice to the gorgeous contrast of bronzed skin against long blond hair and eyebrows, either. Or how their bright green eyes could flash with anger. Discomfort sent a chill through her as curiosity morphed into anxiety.
“Commander Davies, we do not need your presence, nor was it indicated or even implied that you would brief Captain Branscombe. Please leave.” His voice was tight with controlled emotion, but she could see it reflected in his eyes.
Sue watched as her base commander drew himself up, his spine snapping stiffly to full attention. This was the man she’d come to consider as a friend, perhaps even a father, in light of her orphaned state. She’d served under him for nearly a dozen years, on one base or another until her recent transfer to the Mars Settlement Defense unit. And when that mission had been placed on hold with the Confederacy’s arrival, she’d returned to piloting the base scout shuttle at his request. Now he defended her again, even though she’d disappointed him and her career was likely over. She tasted bitterness at the realization. She’d never fly again, and her dream of visiting an alien world would be only that, an impossible dream.
“Examiner Kiis. Dragging this woman out of her sick bed is ridiculous. I can’t imagine what you hope to accomplish, but this kind of behavior won’t go unnoticed,” Davies said coldly.
The Inarrii stepped into the room, his shadow stretching over Sue as she lay on the medroom bed. Her heart pounded. He was taller than the commander. Not by much, but he seemed huge from her vulnerably prone position. She pressed backward against the pillow, but there was nowhere to go.
Her mouth dried as the stranger broke eye contact with the base commander and looked down at her. This was an Examiner, one of the Confederacy law enforcement officials.
What the hell does he want with me? What is he going to do with me? Interrogate me? Torture me some more?
A shudder rippled down her spine, despite her attempts to stay calm. She ground her teeth together. Get it together, Branscombe, tough it out.