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CLAIMED BY RAFA
(Raiden Warriors Book 2)
By Denna Holm

Rafa didn’t think much of the human female when his prince first claimed her for a mate, but her strength of character soon wins him over. He watches with jealous eyes as the love blossoms between them, especially when she begins to swell with the prince’s child. When Rafa’s shaprata begins to mature, and the time arrives for him to claim a mate, he decides to return to Earth to claim a human of his own.

Aaliyah was left devastated when her best friend went missing. Abby was last seen hiking with her faithful German shepherd near one of Oregon’s mountain lakes. Six months later, Aaliyah receives a phone call, the woman on the other end claiming to be Abby, and she wants Aaliyah to drive up to the same lake to meet her … alone.

Emotionally, Aaliyah isn’t as strong as Abby. She’s had a rough childhood and considers herself damaged goods. When the alien tries to claim her, she rejects their union, not sure she is capable of loving a man, even if it means Rafa might die.

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Excerpt from Claimed By Rafa:

Aaliyah shut down the computer and turned to face Rafa, her heart beating double time. Taking a deep breath, she met his eyes, shivering at the conflicting emotions she saw in their dark depth. “So, are you ready to talk to me yet?”

He scowled, then walked over to sit on the end of the bed. “You shouldn’t be here, Aaliyah. It isn’t safe. I don’t know what Nicolai was thinking to allow it.”

“He’s a good man. He understood you’ve been acting like a jackass all week. Good grief, Rafa, you’re the one who decided we should be a couple. You didn’t ask me first, remember? You stung me, confused me, made me start to care about you, and then you just suddenly turn cold and dump me, no explanation, no nothing. I just need to understand why. I think you owe me that much.”

Rafa scrubbed at his face, growling, causing the tiny hairs on the back of Aaliyah’s neck to stand up. She fought not to reach up to rub them down. “You’ve done nothing wrong,” he said, sounding frustrated. “I’m angry with myself. I should have listened to Abby when she told me to wait to claim you. The decision should have been yours to make from the start. You’ve been controlled by males most of your life. I regret my impulsive action and only hope you can find it within yourself to forgive me.” He stood and began to pace in the small room.

Aaliyah frowned, biting at her lower lip as she watched him. “Look, I was angry when I first learned what you did, but it wasn’t just you claiming me that had me upset. It was the whole getting abducted by aliens deal.” Talk about a shock to the system. “I needed time to come to terms with everything, and you put too much pressure on me. I’ve had time to think now, and I’m feeling much better about everything. I can’t wait to see your world. I kind of thought you’d want to be there to show me. Now I’m not so sure.”

“There are issues with your . . . past that I didn’t understand. Abby tried to tell me, but in my arrogance, I thought it wouldn’t matter. I thought I could—” He looked away. “It’s rare for Raiden males to abuse a female, almost unheard of. I couldn’t . . . relate to what had happened to you.”

Aaliyah stilled, feeling cold inside. “Um, no one could, Rafa. You’re asking too much of yourself. I don’t know what the Lian healer did, but I’m dealing now with what happened to me. I don’t have the nightmares anymore. I’m actually even happy at times. And maybe for the first time in my life, I wanted to try to make something work with a guy. With you, Rafa. Only I get the feeling you don’t want me anymore. I made Nicolai bring me on board to find out why. Please, tell me what happened. What did I do wrong?”

Rafa continued to pace, still refusing to look at her.

“Did Abby get into detail about what happened to me? Is that it, and now you can’t stand to look at me? Do I disgust you?”

He stopped pacing and turned to look at her, his eyes almost haunted. “No, never. Never think that. What happened to you is not your fault.”

“Then what? What changed?”

“Nothing. You are beautiful to me, Aaliyah, inside and out. No matter what happens, my feeling for you will never change. I don’t regret choosing you when my shaprata matured, only that I didn’t give you a say in what happened before I acted on it.”

“And what if I’ve forgiven you? Would that make a difference?”

He looked away, taking a deep breath. “I can’t promise you anything right now. I’m fighting my own demons and they have nothing to do with you.”

“Maybe you should talk to me about it. I know a lot about fighting personal demons. Maybe I could help.”

He swallowed, glancing away. “Tell me about your sister,” he finally said. “How did she die?”

Aaliyah froze, taken off guard. Okay, that particular demon was one she didn’t want to discuss. Her first reaction was to shut Rafa out, but how could she ask him to open up if she shut down at the first painful question? “Would you hold me?”

He stiffened for only a moment before sitting back on the bed with open, welcoming arms. “Of course, come to me.”

Aaliyah sighed, relaxing against him.

The familiar panic that started to bubble up at the mention of Katrina eased back again as she pressed her face into his hard chest, breathing in deep of his delicious scent, reminding her of warm sunshine and clean country air. God, she’d missed him over this past week.

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Meet Author Denna Holm

A retired FEI competitor and trainer in dressage, she earned her United States Dressage Federation Bronze and Silver Medals. She began writing Paranormal and Science Fiction Romance after retiring from the show ring.

Denna and her husband Lee make their home in the beautiful State of Oregon with their loyal German shepherd, one energetic border collie, and two very spoiled cats. Animals are given a special place in her novels, their offer of unconditional love a lifeline in this difficult world. Denna and Lee enjoy spending time camping and fishing with their children and grandchildren.

Interview with Denna Holm:

Q: Tell us about your publishing journey. Did you always want to be an author?

DH:  My publishing journey has been a long one, with a few blank spots over the years. I remember writing my first story while still in grade school. Since I have always loved horses, it’s not surprising it was a story about a horse. My second story was written in junior high, a short story science fiction. I got busy training and showing horses through my middle years and didn’t get back to writing until after I retired from horses. It was a struggle to relearn grammar and punctuation after such a long break. I had to go back to school, and then take courses on how to put a novel together. My first book, Soul of a Warrior, took the longest to write, several years,
because it was done mainly through trial and error. It didn’t take me long to find a publisher once I finally got it polished. By the time I came to the Claimed series, I felt like I had a good handle on how to set up scenes, characters, setting, natural dialogue, and keep the pace moving. Each book
still takes me about a year to finish from start to finish. The rough draft usually goes fast, but then it takes time to polish.

Q: Why paranormal? What drew you to the genre?

DH:  From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always held a love for vampires and shifters. I remember watching Dark Shadows as a kid, and that was it, I was hooked. Later I also got hooked on Star Trek, which I think sparked my love of everything science fiction. When I started to write again, I took a chance and combined the two genres with my Immortal Warriors series, paranormal and science fiction, which has received mostly positive results. The Claimed series sticks mostly with science fiction, though I still fit my vampires into it.

Q: Tell us about your heroine. What inspired her quirks and struggles?

DH: Aaliyah is a complicated character. She has had a rough upbringing, abused by her parents and uncle. She is also African American, which brought her a whole new set of problems living in a predominately white area of Oregon. Aaliyah might not have had a chance at a decent life if she
hadn’t met Abby. Abby and her family welcomed her with open arms, taking her into their home when she needed a place to stay. And though they couldn’t take away the abuse Aaliyah had suffered, they showed her what a real, loving family could be like. Trust is a hard one for Aaliyah.
Though she trusts Abby, it’s not easy for her to trust men. This is going to be a major problem when Rafa claims her without gaining permission first. Rafa and Aaliyah face many obstacles in Claimed by Rafa, but their biggest one is learning to trust one another.

Q: Tell us about your hero. What motivates him?

DH:  Rafa is second in command for Nicolai Nekbet, the crown prince for the House of Nekbet on the planet Raiden. He is physically intimidating, proud, and of strong character. But he also has flaws. Like Aaliyah, his past has been filled with heartache that he’s never fully overcome. When Rafa
sees how happy Nicolai and Abby are together, he convinces Nicolai to take him back to Earth to claim his own human female. It seemed natural to bring Aaliyah aboard Nicolai’s ship, as she and Abby are good friends. Rafa is immediately smitten with her, but he should have waited to claim her. He didn’t realize the extent of her psychological damage from the severe abuse she experienced during her growing years. Their future together remains uncertain, and Rafa must try to find a way to help Aaliyah. At the same time, he doesn’t realize it is Aaliyah who will help him overcome his own past pain. The only hope they have for a future together is if they can
both overcome their painful pasts.

Q: What is your ideal reading experience?

DH:  I want to get lost in the story for a few hours. I want an exciting plot, interesting characters, but I also want enough detail that I can see the scene in my mind as I read. The pacing has to be just right. Too fast and I feel like I’m missing important details. Too slow and I want to start skimming. It’s what I try to provide with each and every story I put out, though I know it’s
impossible for any author to please everyone.

Thank you, Denna!

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