He wanted to take without giving, and she accepted his offer.
No one ruffled Cisnetta Fowler’s feathers like Major Atrates Geswin, the infamous Ugly Dukeling. Her first glimpse of the handsome alien hybrid had her dismissing his crass moniker, until his abrasive attitude proved the gossip to be true. He was an arse, but an arse that she both needed and wanted. Thankfully, Cisnetta was one tough bird who never turned-tail and ran.
Major Atrates Geswin, second-in-line to the Andrake dukedom, found himself locked in a skirmish with an astounding woman. Cisnetta Fowler handled his insults as if he passed her fluffy ducklings. But rather than softening him, she inflamed his Otar-alien side, spurring him to seize, to demand, to want… All that stood between his victorious claiming of her was a vicious, pet swan with a neck-wringing fetish.
As far as Atrates was concerned, Cisnetta was his for the taking.
This story is a science fiction alien romance retelling of The Ugly Duckling. It is intended for mature readers.
Cosmic Fairy Tales
The Ugly Dukeling is part of the Cosmic Fairy Tales collection, a collaboration of authors retelling beloved tales with a science fiction romance twist. Each book is a standalone, containing its own Happily Ever After, and they can be read in any order. Be sure to explore the other titles in the collection:
The Hunchback by Regine Abel
The Lion and the Mouse by Emmy Chandler
The Frog Prince by Tracy Lauren
The Ugly Dukeling by Bex McLynn
Contaminated by Amanda Milo
Jackie and the Giant by Honey Phillips
Escaping Wonderland by Tiffany Roberts
Rampion by Susan Trombley
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Cisnetta opened the transport door and waved Cobbs, her swan, inside. “After you, good sir.”
Only Cobbs turned and cocked his head, staring at the open gate that led to the alley between the townhomes. The driver would have to guide the transport through that narrow alleyway, then navigate the pedestrian and horse traffic of Zentrale’s city streets, before hitting the open roads and speeding them toward the country.
She had no idea what she’d expected. Perhaps a coalmonger cart trundling down the cobblestones. Instead, she gaped as Atrates barreled through the gate, his legs propelling him a few steps as he came to a staggering stop.
And oh, her flaming cheeks, those legs.
Atrates had apparently gone for a run in Otaric exercise gear. A black short-sleeved shirt clung to his chest, and he wore fitted black pants that stretched with his movements. On his feet were flexible-soled shoes made of leather and breathable mesh with treads. She could see the mechanics of his muscles rippling with each step he took towards her. His broad chest, cut with muscle, heaved like blacksmith bellows as he panted. The mid-morning sun glistened on the sweat coating his matte skin, drawing her eye like a flickering candle in the dark.
He trapped her with his stare, his eyes bright with alertness and heated like a smoldering coal in a grate.
With a downturned mouth, he pointed right at her as he strode toward the house. “Wait.”
His deep voice thrummed inside her chest.
Cisnetta blinked and parroted back, “Wait.”
“Yes,” he said as he kept her locked down by merely pointing a finger at her. A finger that was attached to a large hand, which attached to a veined forearm, up to biceps that strained the fabric of his sleeves, and ended at stacked shoulders and the thick column of his neck. “Wait for me.”
He took long, ground-eating strides past her, straight toward the back door of the townhome. Her gaze trailed from the pillar of his neck, to his expansive back, down to a trim waist and the hard, round globes of his—
The driver coughed. “Miss Fowler?”
Dazed, she turned to him, but immediately turned back toward Atrates.
The man was already gone, having entered the house.
“Miss Fowler?” When she faced the driver, he greeted her with a knowing, barely-there smile. Just a slight tug of his lips. “We are waiting then?”
Cisnetta exhaled, a grumpy noise that scratched her throat as she rolled her eyes at her own inanity. And somewhat chagrined that it had been witnessed by another.
“Yes, Mr. Ridic. We’re waiting.”
Review by Nancy
Oh, how I loved this book! Major Atrates Geswin, who’s second-in-line to be duke, is quite a grumpy curmudgeon. Atrates is an alien hybrid, a halfling, who is scorned by his regal father. He’s called home, as the old man is on his deathbed. Atrates would rather be as far from the estate as possible when he, literally, runs into the beautiful and vexing Cisnetta. Cisnetta Fowler is in the employ of Trone, Atrates’ brother. She is the protector of abused women and the owner of one very unruly black swan. She knows how to deal with a male with ruffled feathers. Be patient during the world building in the first couple chapters, because then you’ll discover how brilliantly this story has been written! It’s technical, but all makes great sense as the story unfolds. Ciss is a gentle soul with a frenetic energy. She gets the job done at ALL hours. Atrates has something she needs and she has something that soothes Atrates, as well. To find out what happens you’ll definitely want to read this “Ugly Duckling” story re-fashioned! It was a right, clever romp!! 5 stars
About Bex McLynn