Here are the winners in the category (with links, so you can enjoy their fabulous books as well):
- Unleashed by Crystal Jordan
- Nightfall by Robyn Bachar
- FrankenDom by Robin L. Rotham
- Tangled Web by Christa McHugh
- Other Oceans: Book 2 of the Hook and Jill Saga by Andrea Jones
- Mayan Inferno by A.S. Fenichel
But first, the Nightfall blurb:
When a wounded runner stumbles into her workshop, sculptor Talena Spenser’s comfortable, quiet life is shattered. Aiding the escaped slave risks losing more than just her freedom. She is in phase, when Cy’ren females are overwhelmed by the drive to mate.
Mordacki Loren, shadow sword of House Nightfall, knows the pain of losing a mate. He never intended to take another. But Talena, raised by humans with little knowledge of Cy’ren ways, leaves him no choice. As the mating lust consumes them, Dack promises to honor her wishes—even if that means letting her go.
Scarred and hardened by a munitions accident that sent her Alliance career up in flames, Carmen Hawke joined the Cy’ren resistance as captain of the flagship Talon. When old flame Dack returns from a mission with Carmen’s childhood friend and first love, Talena, in tow, the temptation to allow someone—or two someones—close to her again cracks her emotional armor.
Pursued by an unknown enemy, the trio works together to discover the secrets of Talena’s past, and to uncover a threat that could destroy the fragile peace of the Cy’ren homeworld.
Warning: If the epic space battles, gunfights and swordplay aren’t enough to get you going, strap yourself in for a male-female-female threesome that’s scorching enough to fire your engines into overdrive.
And now, a scene from Nightfall between Talena, Dack and Carmen. Don't worry, this one's safe for work. ;)
The Talon seemed small to be fighting slavers, or at least it was much smaller than the Constitution. The hull was dull gray, and it had a boxy body with awkward wings stuck to the back, which were studded with engines. It looked a bit like a bird—an ugly, lumbering bird—but she kept that observation to herself as the shuttle flew over it. They maneuvered through an opening atop the Talon and settled into the shuttle bay.
Talena picked at her skirt as Dack powered down the engines, and he gave her a reassuring smile. “Captain Hawke can be a bit brusque, but don’t worry. It’ll be okay.”
She nodded with a weak smile. Dack reached over and stroked her hair affectionately, and she blushed as her pulse jumped. They had worked through the initial overwhelming needs of the phase, and had settled into a calm before the next storm, but she noted that his touch already affected her differently—her desire was stronger, and it burned hot and fast. It was a strange feeling. Odd, but not unwelcome, and she wasn’t sure what to make of it.
As though sensing her confusion, Dack leaned in and kissed her. “I’ll take care of you. I promise.”
“That’s a lot to promise someone you’ve just met,” she pointed out.
“It’s what I do.”
“Really. How many mates do you have?” Talena peered at him, and his face fell. She had meant it as a joke, but judging by the sudden change in his mood he didn’t find it funny.
“That’s a long story.”
“Wait, you have other mates?” she asked.
Dack flinched. “No, not anymore. My first mate died. Come on, let’s go.”
Talena winced, feeling like an idiot as they exited the shuttle. She shivered when they stepped into the chill air of the shuttle bay, and Dack draped his coat around her shoulders. “Sorry, it’s cold onboard,” he apologized.
“Lieutenant Loren,” a sharp voice called out. Talena turned and spotted a human woman marching toward them with a displeased expression. She wore a dark uniform and a pair of pistols slung low on her hips. “I told you to stop bringing strays home from missions.”
“She’s not a stray,” he replied.
No, she’d been kidnapped, so she assumed that made her a victim, but Talena kept the comment to herself and focused on the captain. She was tall and lean like Dack, and her dark brown hair was cropped short. For the most part she was pretty, for a human, but a mottled red scar masked a quarter of the left side of her face, as though the bronzed skin had been burned away.
Despite the scars, Talena recognized her instantly. “Carmen?” she said hesitantly.
The captain’s attention whipped toward her. Recognition dawned across her face, and her jaw dropped as she gaped.
“Tali?” she asked.
Talena nodded and grinned, an electric thrill running through her. She threw her arms around Carmen and hugged her, overjoyed at not only finding a friend onboard the Talon, but Carmen, someone she knew and trusted. The past ten years had hardened and changed her, but though Carmen stiffened for a moment, she returned the embrace.
“You two know each other?” Dack asked, bewildered.
Carmen stepped back, her face reddened with a blush. “Yes. Congratulations, Lieutenant, you rescued a free woman.”
“I know. I’m going to make it up to her—”
“Damn right you are. You’ll be lucky if her father doesn’t put you in front of a firing squad,” Carmen warned. She was a navy brat as well. Her father had been the captain of the Constitution, the ship that rescued Talena, and Tali’s adopted father had been its first officer. Carmen glanced Talena over and frowned. “Are you hurt? You’ve got a laser burn on your skirt.”
Surprised, Talena looked down and spotted the scorch mark, but she shook her head. “I’m fine. It must’ve been a near miss.”
“I’m sure it was meant for Lieutenant Loren.” Carmen glared at him, but he seemed impervious to her temper even though Talena was sure she could hear the captain’s teeth grinding as she clenched her jaw. She swore, and Talena flinched. “Damn it, Dack. Did you at least get the data?” she asked.
“Yes,” he replied.
“Then take it to the comm. room and start analyzing it for distribution.”
Dack hesitated. “I can’t leave her. She’s my mate.”
With an irritated sigh Carmen pinched the bridge of her nose and squeezed her eyes shut for a moment. “Of course she is. Tali is safe with me. I gave you an order. Follow it or I’ll throw your ass in the brig.” Carmen stared at him, unmoving, and Dack growled and stalked away.
Poor Dack, so outnumbered... He'll be fine. ;) Nightfall is available in print and ebook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Samhain Publishing, All Romance eBooks, Kobo, the Sony Reader Store, and of course the iTunes store.
The next book in the trilogy features Captain Hawke's first officer, Lieutenant Commander Najacen Harrow. Like Dack, Jace is about to be outnumbered by females who can and do kick his butt. He'll be fine, too. Here's a peek from Morningstar:
“Captain, we have a problem,” Jace said.
Captain Hawke’s exasperated sigh hissed above the static on the comm. in Jace’s helmet—it was a sound he heard often enough, usually directed at him. In general, Jace didn’t mind it. Jace was her first officer, but Captain Hawke had little patience for him on a good day. As the deck of Jump Station 3 rocked beneath the soles of his armored boots, Jace doubted today was going to be a good day.
“Sam says you’ve got 15 minutes before the station’s hull integrity fails. You don’t have time for problems,” Captain Hawke informed Jace.
“We’ve reached the market deck. There are mercs between us and the Indexer, and the signage says there’s a brothel here that isn’t listed on the station’s business registry,” Jace reported.
“You don’t have time for a quickie either,” she snapped.
“Pity,” Soth muttered beside him. Jace fought the urge to shush him. Technically Commander Soth outranked him as a shadow sword, but Jace outranked him aboard the Talon II.
“It’s a Cy’ren brothel, staffed by female slaves,” Jace clarified. A lurid neon sign advertised “the sexiest Cy’ren fems in the sector” just a few doors down from the club that was their target. Freeing slaves was one of the main focuses of the resistance, and Jace refused to leave these slaves to die with the Jump Station.
The captain cursed. She was human, but she had two Cy’ren mates, both of whom had been slaves, so he knew she would be sympathetic.
“The mission is priority. Once you get the indexer out, you can go after the females.”
“Acknowledged, Captain.” Jace motioned for his team to proceed.