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I’m in love with a villain.
Ice-cold smile, shiny collection of scalpels, and he’s ravenous to use them on me.
Joke’s on you, mad scientist.
I’ve been trying to cut this sickness out of me since forever. Not all scars are in a place that you can see.
In your frigid alien embrace, I’ve found myself.
So why the hesitation in those pretty silver eyes?
You’re the big bad conqueror. I’m just an ordinary human.
Put me in your maze.
Let the experiment begin.
*** Contains unique alien shifters, fierce passion, and fated mates who defy everything to be together! Although it continues plot lines from the previous novels, this complete, self-contained, epic happily-ever-after can be read as a stand-alone.
TW: suicide, self-harm, medical trauma
Asexual readers note – the heroine identifies as ace, and may more properly be demi. There is a lot of (imho necessary!) sex in this book. A lot. It’s recommended for any readers who enjoy high heat romance and who don’t mind the first-person POV.

We come together in the clinical light of the science office, hot and sweet, and always in the same position. It’s the one I used to trap him that first time, when I promised with large eyes that sex meant nothing. We’re both scientific instruments, logical and emotionless, right? Entwining our bodies would never cause that to change…

He thrusts, regular as a metronome, and my back arches higher with each pulsing crescendo. I am an orchestra of cymbals crashing with wet, twisting needs. Without expression, my conductor watches me writhe and thrash beneath his thick drumbeat. That’s how I know he’s concentrating, counting his thrusts, controlling variables. An unusual bead of sweat slides across his gray forehead and disappears beneath small, opaque glasses. They hide his silver eyes. Even when I claw at him, even when I sink my teeth into his alien skin that seems so human, he doesn’t flinch, doesn’t lose count, doesn’t change his speed. My mind fractures like a mirror, and he only watches me break, until he, too, silently releases.

Orgasmic relief bubbles into my muscles and bones. Satisfaction makes my skin glow, my eyes close, and a sleepy wholeness seeps all the way into my hair follicles and fingernails. I am flooded, I am jelly. I sigh deeply and collapse in a shaking heap, my organs returning to their proper places after contracting in ecstasy so many, many times. He could tell me how many. I lose count.

Every thrust, with him, is a perfect O.

He leans across my trembling chest and scribbles observations on his data tablet. My part in this experiment is over. His is just beginning.

One day, I’ll be free. I’ll escape the sickness driving me, against my will, to embrace strangers. I’ll no longer need his fluids tunneling through my veins, neutralizing the urges that cage and torment my captive brain. I’ll never again experience the spine-cracking orgasmic release that only he can give me.

I almost think I’ll miss the last part.


His handwriting is steady, notations smooth. Musings, facts, measurements. The only sound is the slight squeak of alien plastics above my tortured breathing. His voice is dark, rich, and utterly unaffected. “Any changes this time?”

I swallow. “Why would there be any changes?”

He looks down at me. Skeptical? Questioning? His opaque black surgical lenses reflect my sweaty face, nothing of what’s inside him.

Because there is nothing inside him. He’s still a scientific instrument.

And me?


He decouples us and stands, swabs our liquids, feeds the samples into his alien science machines. The silhouette of his taut body, nude before the wall screens, is a perfect specimen of gray muscle and sinew, hard and male.

Columns of numbers flash by. His body temperature, my erratic heartbeat.

All the numbers for him are the same. His heart is a metronome.

But mine is an aching, bleeding, organic creature, and right now, it’s simmering in an unfamiliar cauldron of secret wishes and forbidden aches.

I don’t know what to make of these new, uncomfortable feelings. He studies the graphs of my body without comment. Maybe secret wishes don’t show up on his alien sensors. Maybe the forbidden aches are all in my imagination. Maybe they’re not even mine, and this is another mutation of the foreign creature that stole my body for its pleasure. Maybe this is the last stage, where, after all these years of fighting, the creature finally steals my wish to be free.


He’s going to solve the riddle in my blood. I’ve crossed an unspeakably violent universe for a cure, and I’ll get it, one way or another. He laughed when I ordered him to kill me, in his dry, amused way. I, a lesser, dared to make demands on him? But he gave me his promise so easily. And now I wait to see which future is my own. The one where I walk away, cured, or the one where I don’t. Because if he can’t cure me, he’s promised to fulfill my last wish and take my life.

These feelings don’t change anything for us.

One way or another, I will be free.

This is currently the longest book in the Blades of Arris series at 392 print pages!


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