ARIES (THE ZODIAC QUEEN #1) by Gemma James
Release Date: October 1st
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Twelve men. A virgin queen. One arranged marriage.
The first time I met the boys of the Zodiac Brotherhood, I was forced to my knees for the introduction. Still grieving the death of my parents, I was a child queen, a pawn in my uncle’s agenda for wealth and gain. As my guardian, he had the authority to arrange a marriage upon my eighteenth birthday.
That meeting took place six years ago.
Now those boys are powerful men.
Twelve virile men that want to own me.
And I must spend a month with each one.
Bending and yielding to their desires and commands.
Shedding pieces of my innocence so long as my virtue remains intact.
Because they want a virgin queen after the last month concludes, and my uncle plans to auction me off to the highest bidder.
Out of the twelve men, only one has my heart.
And only one can claim my hand in marriage.
If only it were up to me to decide.
I hold my breath as my uncle’s hand hovers over the line at the bottom. One flick of his wrist and a little ink, and life as I know it will change forever. That ink will be the start of the end.
Fighting tears, I watch my uncle scrawl his name across the bottom. He sets the pen down carefully, paying small homage to the significance of this moment and the destruction ricocheting through my heart.
“Excellent,” Liam says as he stands. “Before you take your leave, I do need a show of good faith from Novalee.”
I’m trying not to wither under the chancellor’s scrutinous stare when my uncle asks the only question in my head.
“What do you have in mind?”
Liam’s light brown eyes refuse to waver from mine. “A sexual favor as a show of her commitment to the contract. Her virginity will remain intact, of course.”
I jump to my feet. “I will do no such thing!” It’s a gut-instinct reaction—an absurd one if I take into account what will be expected of me in the next twelve months.
Liam’s only response is a challenging arch of his brow. “You’ll do it because I demand it.”
My uncle stands, shooting me a look of warning. “Remember your place, dear niece.”
“My place?” I cross my arms, incredulous, and glare at both of them. “And what exactly is my place?”
“That would be on your knees,” Liam says, taking a step closer.
“Why? Because you’re the chancellor?” I challenge in a scathing tone, knowing full well my mouth will get me into serious trouble with this man if I’m not careful.
“No, my queen. Though it’s customary to kneel in the chancellor’s presence, my reasons are a matter of logistics.”
“Logistics?” I say unbelievingly.
“Yes. The position will provide more efficient use of your mouth.”
I turn to my uncle. “You can’t allow this!” The plea echoes, and I’m positive everyone on the first floor hears my outburst.
Rowan sets a heavy hand on my shoulder. “Obedience to the Brotherhood is your duty, Novalee. Kneel before the chancellor.”
I stiffen my legs, refusing to submit even as my eyeballs burn from the impossibility of the circumstances, because no amount of begging for a different outcome will make the resolution on either man’s face waver.
Because there is no freedom on this island.
No rights as queen of a foreign nation.
The unyielding weight of my uncle’s grip sends me to my knees. My chest heaves with indignation as Liam stands in front of me, hands at his back, shoulders wide as the bulge behind his zipper taunts me with what I’ll face for the next twelve months.
Headstrong and virile.
And all of them determined to own me.
About the Author:
Gemma James is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author of a blend of genres, from new adult suspense to dark erotic romance. She loves to explore the darker side of human nature in her fiction, and she’s morbidly curious about anything dark and edgy, from deviant sex to serial killers. Readers have described her stories as being “not for the faint of heart.”
She warns you to heed their words! Her playground isn’t full of rainbows and kittens, though she likes both. She lives in Oregon with her husband and their four children—three rambunctious UFC/wrestling-loving boys and one girl who steals everyone’s attention.