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Newly elected as Ambassador to the infant colony of Treaine, Alex Mariltar has been ordered to take a wife from a race not his own. Rejecting the marriage choices of the Coalition, he settles on an elusive and beautiful creature from his dreams. Plucked from the supposed safety of a Coalition vessel, Earth woman, Joanna Chase, finds herself married to a jewel-eyed warrior with a will stronger than her own.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release

Anne Clarke

     An award-winning writer of futuristic and contemporary romance, Anne Clarke grew up in Africa where weekly trips to the library were the main entertainment event of the week. Although she's traveled on three continents and loves learning about other cultures, she is now firmly grounded in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. With her husband and two sons, she enjoys exploring the fabulous scenic treasures of the area but still takes the occasional trip to some exotic location. Someday, it is her fond hope, she will take her family on a grand adventure in Africa. Visit her at www.jaclarke.com.


5 Stars!

"Ms Clarke's MOONFIRE is a winner. Find out what happens when a spirited and independent Earth woman clashes wills with a strong-willed and stubborn blue-eyed Warrior. There is bound to be some major fireworks. I highly recommend reading this book ... you won't be disappointed!"

Charlene Smith -- Sime-Gen Reviews

4 Stars

"...this is well- written and appealing story of two people learning to love each other. The dialogue flows smoothly, the descriptions of the mysterious planet are believable and the secondary characters are highly likeable. So likable indeed that I wish they had their own story."

Timeless Tales Reviews

"An emotional story in a facinating universe. It's been a long time sine I read a futuristic romance with so much pleasure. Clarke's deft touch with dialogue, her colorful and smooth narrative, and an exciting, strongly emotional story work beautifully together to draw a reader into a believable, fascinating universe. Moonfire--I loved it!"

Judith B. Glad -- ParaNormalRomance Reviews

Chapter 1

HOW THE HELL had she gotten herself into such a ridiculous predicament anyway?

From her gently rotating position in mid-air, Joanna Chase unhappily surveyed the brightly checkered floor just out of reach below her, then surreptitiously glanced around the room again. It was empty, unusual for this place where one normally had to book a time slot at least a day ahead. But then she was here at an odd time, having been driven to work off a morning's worth of frustration and stress from the latest debacle at the Taragon negotiating table.

She was relieved that no one was present to witness her highly embarrassing condition but, on the other hand, how by the star pits of Balien was she supposed to get down? She couldn't quite reach the release clip attached to the back of her harness, nor did she want to use the emergency transmitter clipped to a belt at her waist. Not yet, anyway. There had to be another way out of this.

She swung her legs again, trying to build momentum to reach the closest of the multi-layered, pitted walls of the climbing gym, and groaned in frustration when her efforts brought her nowhere near her goal. She glanced up. Just how had she ended up in mid-air in the middle of the room? The obvious answer, of course, was that a clasp on her harness equipment had been defective and had given way when she had slipped at the top of her climb. But she had a sneaking suspicion that in her earlier impatient and angry frame of mind, she hadn't attached it properly.

"Need some help?"

She squeaked in startled dismay at the deep voice coming from behind her and frantically spun around. Arms and legs flew ungracefully in four different directions.

The sight that met her eyes produced another yelp, this time of fright. The man was closer than she had expected, his face at a level only slightly below hers. And all she could see of his features were a pair of brilliant pale blue eyes and a small portion of his mouth. He was covered entirely in a form-molding, black water exercise suit that revealed every superb, hard contour of a tall, lean body. Even though she had the slight advantage of looking down on him, he exuded an aura that was wholly intimidating, mysterious, formidable.

Joanna licked her lips against a sudden dryness as her gaze skimmed over a heavily muscled chest, flat belly, and strong, powerful thighs.

"Well?" There was lazy amusement in the tone. "Do you need any help coming down from there, or would you prefer to look some more?" He finished snapping on a pair of black gloves and fisted his hands expectantly on his hips.

"Yes! No! I mean, of course, I don't need any help. I do this all the time," she lied, cringing as her voice squeaked with nervousness. "I can get myself down." She felt a wave of heat cross her face as he studied her intently. The expression in the blue eyes was unreadable, but she got the distinctly uncomfortable impression he didn't believe her.

Then he shrugged slightly, regretfully. "Whatever you say." His eyes flickered to the transmitter on her belt. "Just for your information, the mecattendant was occupied with a group in the other hall when I came in, and I'll be about a half hour in the water tunnel." His gaze swept the deserted room before coming back to rest on her face. "Not that you need any help, of course."

Joanna's mouth fell open as she watched him walk away toward the arched opening on the opposite side of the hall. How dare he? He knew she needed help, despite her denial, and he was leaving anyway. What an inconsiderate, arrogant --

Suddenly realizing her most immediate source of assistance was about to exit the hall, she cried, "Wait! Please -- maybe I do need a little help to get down."

The dark form paused and turned slowly. "Maybe?"

"Oh, all right, I'm stuck," she snapped. "I've tried. I can't get down by myself."

He sauntered back toward her, every movement of muscle clearly defined. "Was that so hard to admit?"

The amusement in the deep, rich tones and the obvious provocation triggered her volatile temper. God, the man was downright obnoxious. "Oh, go away. I've decided I don't need your help after all," she declared rudely, and spun away. Instantly, she wished she hadn't since he now had a clear view of her vulnerable posterior, and the strangled guttural sound she heard was clearly one of approval.

Abruptly, a strong hand flattened against her rib cage raising her slightly, while an arm reached over and his other hand wrestled with the harness clasp. "Well, whether you want it or not, I'm bringing you down. I don't have time for games," came the infuriatingly calm response.

As the clasp released, her body came down across his shoulder. Hands caught her about her waist and slid her down against his length until her feet touched the ground.

"Thank you," she mumbled grudgingly. "I..." She looked up and the words died in her throat.

Pale blue had deepened to dark sapphire, and the message in his eyes was unmistakable. Knowing she should break the contact, she seemed to have completely her lost her will to do so, and could only watch in utter fascination as his face drew closer. His hands were burning holes in her clothes. The shakiness in her legs had nothing to do with being returned to solid ground.

Then his lips touched hers, gentle as the breath of a breeze, and she was lost. She sagged against him, her legs refusing to support her. Fire and ice raced through her body. The pressure of his mouth increased slightly, and she felt the startlingly warm brush of his tongue across her lips. Someone moaned, and a corner of her mind was shocked to recognize that the sound had come from her own throat.

The next instant, he had drawn back. She blinked dazedly, unwilling to relinquish the promise he had offered, strangely bereft without his body heat.

"That was quite a 'thank you'." The words were murmured huskily. A thumb brushed across her lower lip.

The spell was broken. Reality returned with shocking abruptness along with the realization that his other thumb was stroking the underside of one breast.