BLURB

Tiffany doesn’t care about all the attention she’s getting from the alien men, but there is one particular hunter she can see herself with—if only she can find a way to move forward from the past. . . .

It’s hard being the most popular girl on the ice planet. The alien men are falling all over themselves to impress me in the hopes that I’ll take them to my furs. But they don’t know my secrets. And they don’t realize that behind my smile, I just wish they’d take their courting presents and their competitions for my affection and go away. I want to be left alone. But on a planet where women are a scarcity, that won’t be happening.

If I had to choose a mate . . . it’d be someone with a gorgeous blue body, big horns, and the most intense gaze ever. Someone who knows the truth of what happened to me and why I don’t like attention. Patient, handsome Salukh knows my secrets. He knows why I have nightmares and why I don’t trust anyone. He’s willing to let me “experiment” with him. I can use him. Take what I need from him to work through my trauma. He’s been a good friend and the best shoulder to cry on.

There’s one small problem.

When it comes to us, he doesn’t just want to be my friend. He wants to be my forever. And day by day, he’s getting harder to resist. . . .

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ruby Dixon is an author of all things science fiction romance. She is a Sagittarius and a Reylo shipper, and loves farming sims (but not actual housework). She lives in the South with her husband and a couple of geriatric cats, and can’t think of anything else to put in her biography. Truly, she is boring.

 

Keep reading for a non-exclusive excerpt.

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

I study my rows of planted seeds, hoping for a sprig here or there. Right now, there is nothing, just an upraised row in the snow where the dirt was piled back onto them. Frustrated, I move down the row I’ve marked with a few sticks, but there’s nothing to be seen. Surely plants here can’t be that different from plants on Earth, can they? The snow is throwing me off, but it’s still water, and plants need water to grow. I shove my fingers into my glove and then kneel near one of the small mounds, digging. There has to be something. If there’s even a hint of a sprout on one of my seeds, I’ll have hope.

I dig down maybe a foot into the snow and stop when I see a hint of pink threading through the white. Sure enough, one of my seeds has sprouted and is pushing its way through the snow. It’s working! Excited, I pile the snow back on top with a pat and get to my feet. Wait until I tell Salukh!

As if my thoughts have summoned him, a familiar male silhouette appears on the ridge, burdened by a kill. He seems to be walking strangely, and I dust the snow off my hands and

 

surge forward. Is he hurt? He’s moving slow. For a moment I almost think it’s one of the elders, but there’s no mistaking the way Salukh’s horns curve up at the ends, or his long fluttering hair. He drags a dead dvisti behind him and cradles one arm against his chest, and my heart hammers. Does he need the healer? Maylak’s at the other cave, though, and it’s at least a half a day’s journey to get to her. “Salukh, are you all right?” I call as I push through the snow to get to his side. “Can I help?” “You can help,” he agrees, and as I get to his side, he thrusts a cloak-covered bundle into my arms. “Cursed thing

bit me all the way here.”

I blink in surprise as the bundle tries to leap from my arms and bleats angrily. I tighten my grip on it and stare at the hunter. “What is this?”

“A dvisti kit. The mother was lame and so she became fod- der for my spear. But I could not kill the young one. I brought it for you.”

“Me?”

“Yes, you.” He drops the spear on the ground, letting his kill tumble into the snow, and then rotates one big arm, rub- bing sore muscles. “Ah, that feels good.”

I try not to watch as he rubs one big blue bicep, but . . . mercy. Those are big biceps. Hard, too. The creature in my hands wriggles, and my attention turns back to it. “I . . . Do you guys even do pets?”

“Sessah has a two-teeth he feeds back at the main cave.” “And no one tries to eat it for dinner?” I don’t want to get attached to something only to come home and find someone roasting my pet.”

“I will not allow them to touch it.” His words are so sure,  so bold.

 

 

I feel a weird surge of warmth and smile at him.

He reaches forward to uncover the creature’s head, and then two big, blue, khui-lit eyes are gazing at me. The head is tiny, a bit like a fawn, but covered in long, crazy fur like a sheepdog. It bleats angrily at me.

And I laugh because it’s so ridiculous looking and cute at the same time. It’s all nose and googly eyes and shaggy hair. “I love it.”

He gives a masculine grunt. “I am glad it pleases you.” “It’s sweet of you to think of me,” I admit. I’m endlessly

showered with useful things by the other guys, but this is the first time someone’s thought to give me something completely . . . frivolous. And a pet truly is frivolous in a setting like this, but I really love it, and I love that Salukh was so thoughtful. “Thank you.”

His gaze burns into mine. “I have been thinking upon your words, Tee-fah-nee.”

I shiver. The way he says my name always makes me think he’s mentally caressing each syllable, and it makes me feel things that I thought were long gone.

He steps forward and he doesn’t touch me, though he is close enough that our faces could practically press together if we were the same height. As it is, I’m staring at a lot of broad, velvety-blue pectorals. The baby dvisti in my arms snaps at a bit of fringe on his vest and begins to chew on it.

I suddenly feel flushed and overheated despite the ever- present ice. “My words?”

“You wish to practice in the furs.” His intense look pins me in place. “I wish to be the male you practice with.”

 

Excerpted from Barbarian’s Prize by Ruby Dixon Copyright © 2023 by Ruby Dixon. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *