Hope everyone’s enjoying the weekend! We had another blustery cold weekend filled with snow flurries so I’m using it as an excuse to catch up on some reading!
Today we’re shining the spotlight on Ms. C.J. Scarlett’s new release, Ambassador’s Bride. The book is available for purchase as well as to borrow via Kindle Unlimited for those who have a membership.
Get all the juicy deets below the cover…Enjoy!
Sci-Fi Romance in a dystopian future where humans have foolishly squandered Earth’s natural resources, the few remaining people are becoming desperate. Crowded in huge underground cities, they’ve finally come to the end of the line and they must decide whether or not they will trade the only valuable resource Earth has left… Women.
Being the daughter of a wealthy diplomat, Rose is blissfully ignorant of how the less fortunate live. Desperate to escape to a planet where she can enjoy the sun on her face and swim in clear unpolluted oceans, she vows to make herself the first bride to be mated to off-worlders.
When the Krylon delegation arrives, she realizes that in addition to being good stewards of their planet, eager for female companionship, and polite to a fault, the Krylon males are also drop dead gorgeous. Unfortunately, Earth’s population is vehemently opposed to the galactic mate’s treaty… will Rose and her soon to be Alien Husband be able to make their escape from Earth?
Teric wasn’t even joking. He walked her directly to his ship, boarded, and didn’t stop until he was in his private quarters. Specifically, his private cleansing room. The large man set her grimly on her feet.
Rose stared at him dumbfounded. He was a man on a mission. His huge pewter-colored hands quickly pulled off her clothing and he pressed her into a tiny enclosed area. Warm steam spewed forth from every direction, saturating her body. He handed her a large sponge-like pod with lots of tiny protruding tentacles. It smelled slightly antiseptic.
“Please wash yourself. I do not know what they did to you but you carry a strange odor. It may be harmful to your skin.”
Rose rubbed the strange sponge over her skin and through her hair. “I’m filthy to be sure, but the chemical odor isn’t dangerous. They kept me locked in a dark closet with cleaning products.”
“Barbarians. You were locked away this whole time? How could they…” Turning to gather up a small throw, he made a frustrated trilling noise. “It does not matter. You are here, safe, and from this moment forward, you are mine.”
Rose rolled her eyes at his overt display of possessiveness. “You’ve got that the wrong way around. I’m not yours, you’re mine.”
His head came up and he pinned her with a ruthlessly possessive gaze. “You would dare lay claim to me?”
“Yep. Why? Is that not allowed? I thought that’s how things worked on your world.”
Looking away, he spoke quietly. “You are correct. I never thought myself worthy of being claimed. It is… a great honor to be chosen by such a courageous and beautiful female.”
“Aww, you say the sweetest things.”
“I will enjoy every moment you gift to me.”
Stepping out of the cleansing unit and into his waiting wrap, she mused aloud. “What does that even mean? If we fall in love, it’s for keeps. You know that, right?”
“On my world, women often trade out their partners when someone of higher status presents himself.”
“Yep. The men on my world tend to do that as well. It really pisses us off. Makes us feel like we’re never quite good enough.”
“It is because they are so few. They can do as they like with very little consequence.” Teric was nothing if not insightful.
“Let us see. It takes about three months to get to your home world. Why don’t we just spend the time getting to know each other?”
Smiling, he motioned her towards the door. “I appreciate the consideration you show towards me.” He seemed so sincere.
Rose really didn’t know what to make of that comment either, so she decided to change the subject. “How many women did we end up with?”
“A little over ten cords, including the children.”
“A cord is eleven.”
Rose’s eyes flew open. “I want to check on them.”
“Of course. You are welcome to view their security feeds at any time.”
Teric walked over to a large viewing screen and pulled up several data streams. On one, Jen waved her arms around, yelling at Chal. On several more, women were in small, sparsely furnished rooms.
“You have them imprisoned?”
A hurried explanation followed a tiny trill of frustration. “Each woman has been assigned a warrior. She resides in his quarters and is cared for by the male.”
Rose sighed dramatically. “Come and sit down. We need to talk.” He followed her to the settee and turned to her expectantly. “Teric, you cannot simply give the women away like that.”
His face scrunched up. “Like what? They are not given, they choose.”
“Each woman chose the man she lives with?”
“Of course, not. The males are not worthy of mates. Most are low status. They are merely vested with the care and protection of the woman until she reaches the Krylon home world.”
“There’s so much wrong with that explanation, I really don’t know where to start.”
“As I will oversee securing brides from your people, I am eager to learn. Please explain.”
“Well, first we don’t really consider status when choosing a mate. We are attracted to males based on compatibility and mutual attraction. I believe a good many of the women may find themselves attracted to members of your crew. If that happens, will they be allowed…”
“Yes. A woman’s choice is final, no matter the male’s status. It just never occurred to us to think they would consider…” He closed his mouth abruptly.
“Also, they are going to be anxious and scared if they can’t see each other.”
“I remember you saying that Earth females do not fight one another.”
“We do, but rarely. It will make the voyage go a lot smoother if they can visit back and forth. The little ones will be eager to play together.”
“Shall I ask the males to invite them to the dining hall for breakfast? It is one of the few spaces large enough to hold all of them along with their children and caretakers.”
“That would be nice. Can we join them?”
Tilting his head slightly, he asked sincerely. “You wish to dine with them? You realize there will be many of them and their caretakers will be present?”
“From now on, when you say something bizarre, I’m just going to ask for an explanation. Care to explain why I might not want to dine with the males? Do they have bad table manners or eat raw meat?”
Looking down, Teric remained silent for a moment. She got the strong impression he searched for a polite way to phrase his reply. “As I mentioned, the caretakers are all warriors. Plainspoken males who have spent most of their lives training to protect our home world. They will not be quite as cultured or refined as Chal, Yeral, or myself. I do not wish you to be offended by their rough ways.”
“Why did you choose them to caretake the women?”
“Lack of more appropriate options, quite honestly.”
Rose grabbed the wrap tighter around her as she spoke. “Humans don’t shy away from our soldiers. Marrying a soldier has historically been considered an honor. They were revered specifically because they were protectors. Of course, now most of our soldiers are females. We respect them greatly.”
“It will please them greatly to know they are so well thought of by your females.”
“I really like Yeral and I’m looking forward to meeting more of your crew.”
Teric stiffened in his seat. “Captain Yeral is high status enough to warrant a bride.”
Something about the tone of the ambassador’s voice alerted her that he was displeased.
“Your reaction is strange.”
“If you wish to spend time getting to know our captain better before you make a choice, I will understand.”
Catching his drift, Rose smiled. “I’m interested in him for a friend, not a mate. I only want to spend time with you.”
Teric visibly relaxed. “I have made arrangements for you to have clothing. I believe your mother is sending your things this morning.”
After slipping into the nice gown he provided, they headed to the dining hall. Rose was pleased to find all the women present except Jen. She felt an unease in the back of her mind, especially after remembering how she yelled at Chal on the monitor. “Will you please ask Chal to bring Jen to the dining area?”
Nodding, Teric spoke into his communicator. “They will be here shortly. Shall I bring you something to eat?”
“I’m not hungry. I just want to walk around and talk to everyone, if that’s okay?”
Before she could get turned around, Yeral strolled in carrying Sarah’s child, with the woman walking anxiously at his side. He settled them both at a table and ambled to the back of the room to get them food.
Rose cautiously approached the woman. “Sarah, how is your little one?”
“Fine. The surgery didn’t even leave a scar. She’s more alert and engaging than I can ever remember her being.”
“Is the captain treating you well?”
The woman’s eyes darted around. “He’s a strange man.”
“In what way?”
“He treats us like honored guests or something. In fact, my little Lea is getting more attached to him by the minute. He’s spoiling her absolutely rotten.”
“Sounds like the Yeral I know and love. He’s a good man. Do you like him personally?”
“He’s wonderful. I hesitate to get too familiar with him, since I don’t know what they plan to do with me.”
“Teric tells me the good captain is high status enough to take a mate. He’s handsome, protective, and seems quite taken with your little one. I’d consider all that reason enough to give him a shot.”
“I think he’d take me on just to keep Lea with him. He’s a natural-born father, that’s for sure.”
Just then, the captain returned with two heaping plates of food. Sarah sighed. “We’re never going to be able to eat all that.”
The man sat down with a thud, smiling broadly. “Speak for yourself, woman. This is a mere snack for a huge man like me. You noticed I am large all over, have you not, Miss Sarah? I am using the man and woman terminology you seem to prefer. I am a fast learner that way.”
Rose smothered her laugh with her hand as she saw Sarah’s face grow hot at his overt flirting. It was kind of cute to see him bragging himself up to her.
Just then, the door burst open and Jen stormed into the room, making a bee line for her longtime friend. Chal trailed behind her, no less furious himself.
“What the seven hells have you gotten me into here, Rose?”
“I’ve been locked in Chal’s suite and he’s been dropping rule after rule on me like I’m a freaking five-year-old.”
“What on Earth are you talking about?”
“I honestly didn’t object when he insisted I begin the Krylon language program. I’ll be living on Krylon, so that makes sense, right? What does not make sense is that I must go to bed at a certain time, get up at a certain time, can’t visit with the other women, and to top it all with, I’m not allowed to drink sim-caf. Want to tell me how I’m supposed to survive this flipping fun-filled three-month voyage without killing the little freak in his sleep?”
“Calm down. I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation for all this.”
By that time, Teric hovered over them. “Can you lower your voice? Your behavior reflects poorly upon us and nothing you described is a serious issue.”
Jen clinched her teeth. “Maybe it’s no big deal to you, but all the nonessential rules are really cramping my style.”
Yeral stood, glaring at them momentarily. Turning his back to them, he moved Sarah and Lea all the way down to the end of the table. Rose took that to mean their behavior was severely out of line. Jen began to speak again but Rose gripped her upper arm. Turning to her friend, she looked her in the eyes and gave the strongest redirection she’d ever given anyone in her life. “You will stop, NOW. I’m not sure what’s going on but it’s clear to me that we’re making a spectacle of ourselves. We’ll take this discussion somewhere private.”
Once inside their quarters, Teric began to pace. “Is it too late to trade her out for another female?”
Rose was taken aback. “We’re not trading her out.”
“Perhaps this negotiation was not a prudent move. Our peoples are very different. We thought Earth females had stable personalities.”
Rose was stunned. She dropped into a chair and watched the males speaking quietly to each other. Though they didn’t raise their voices, they seemed to be in a heated disagreement. Finally, Chal stormed out of the room.
Teric motioned for Jen to sit as well and dropped himself down on the settee. “I am sorry but I must withdraw my offer of marriage. I hope you do not take this as a poor reflection on you or our relationship. I have no other choice.”
“Do you mind if I ask for more information about what prompted this decision?”
“Chal has been at my side since we were small. Though he is from a low-status family, he has spent his entire life striving to better himself. He has always served me with honor and distinction. I refuse to allow all that he has worked for be stripped callously away by a selfish female too wrapped in her own petty grievances to see the harm she inflicts upon others. He deserves my support. This is a sacrifice I willingly make out of my respect for him. I hope you understand.”
Jen spoke up yet again. “Well, I sure as hell don’t. Maybe you can tell this selfish female how objecting to being controlled by a man she barely knows is the end of the world as we know it.”
Teric barely spared her a sideways glance. “Is my explanation sufficient for you to understand, Rose?”
“I’m afraid it isn’t. Tell us specifically what we did that shamed your friend. From our perspective, he was being an ass to Jen and she’s getting blamed for standing up for herself.”
“Our people place great importance on being respectful to each other. We do not speak of private matters in front of strangers. We do not raise our voices in anger, nor do we curse, call people foul names, or threaten to visit harm upon them. To do these things brings great shame upon us as individuals and upon the ones who raised us. I have spoken publicly of my interest in you, and Chal has your friend, therefore your behavior today reflects badly upon us. It calls into question our judgement.”
Rose sighed. “Thank you. That clears things right up. Is there anything we can do to make this right again?”
“I am afraid not. As you have stated, you will not choose another companion, Chal has stated his only remaining option to save my reputation is to ask to be transferred to another’s service.”
Rose gasped. “You mean a few hastily spoken words will result in you being separated from your best friend?”
“Not if I choose another bride. Perhaps I can find someone with a less volatile companion. I wish to salvage the accord if possible but once word begins to get out about your friend’s deplorable behavior, I doubt Krylon will agree to move forward.”
“I don’t understand why they would care so much about how one woman behaved.”
“It is not a well-known fact but the females of our home world have been becoming increasingly more emotionally unbalanced over the last few generations. The entire reason for initiating trade negotiations with your people was because your bloodline was thought to be stable. If the elder council of my home world suspects we are merely compounding our problems by bringing in more unstable women to breed with, they will be furious.”
“It’s just one person.”
“It will not matter. Some on my home world oppose interbreeding and will look for any excuse to void the treaty.”
“Some of that information would’ve been nice to have going into this situation.”
“I never in my wildest dreams thought such insights would be necessary for you to treat us with dignity and respect.”
Rose sat staring at him, genuine regret twisting her gut. “What of the women we rescued?”
“I do not know what will become of them. If the treaty disintegrates, they will not allow me to bring them to our world.”
“I don’t understand why no one seems interested in discussing Chal’s behavior towards me.” Rose turned her stunned face on her friend but before she could speak, Teric excused himself from the suite.
Rose struggled to come up with a way to engage with Jen that would drive her point home without harming her friend’s self-esteem. After careful consideration, she realized that wasn’t going to be possible.
“Jen, I’m sorry Chal treated you poorly. I’m trying to figure out how I’d be acting if the shoe had been on the other foot. I might have flown off the handle in the dining hall, because we weren’t aware of how strict their culture is about public displays of disrespect. What I’m really struggling to understand is how after Teric explained it so thoroughly, you can still be banging on about it. I mean is you being denied sim-caf and being given a bedtime more important than the survival of our world and theirs? Is it more important than the women and children we rescued? Is it honestly worth ruining Chal’s life over?”
“I have rights. I need to speak up for myself or I really am a nobody.”
“It was just made really clear to us that we’re very different from the Krylon and therefore we’re probably going to have conflict off and on. The important thing is the manner we make our objections heard. The issue now is about how we’re going to resolve this situation and how we’re going to handle conflict moving forward.”
Jennifer sighed and slowly stood up. “I’ll go talk to Chal. I’ll work it out somehow.”
“He’s not an unreasonable person, Jen.”
“Easy for you to say.” Secretly, she knew her friend was right. He was funny and nifty in a lot of ways. She’d been enjoying her time with him until he went overboard with telling her what to do. He pushed too far and she snapped.
Describe your book in 5 words.
Ahhh, its so tough for me to describe it in only 5 words… But my hope is that at the very least my readers find it captivating, exhilarating, romantic, silly, and enchanting.
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
I enjoy taking the scenery, the wildlife, the weather, the adventures and turning them into my literary expose. Each element of my life is lived out in my romantic fiction.
What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
Honestly, the hardest thing for me was trying to fit all of these amazing characters into one book! I know that future books will definitely have to be focused on more on individual characters which I am actually super excited to do as I feel each character will be so spectacular in their own ways.
Who is your favorite character from this book and why?
Surprisingly my favorite character ended up being Jen(the main characters best friend)! She is such a strong and brilliant female character and I can’t wait to write more about her!
Ambassador’s Bride is book one in the Celestial Mates series, what next can we expect from this series?
Wow! I don’t even know where to start.. I guess to make it short and sweet I would say you can expect me to continue writing more books. As long as my readers are reading my book’s I will continue writing them! I have actually become sort of attached to the story and its characters so I expect it will continue to blossom into an exciting, romance filled series that everyone will be able to continue to enjoy for years to come.
Find C.J. Scarlett on the interwebs
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