Imagine if your life path had been decided when you born, even before you were born.
People think of royalty and see privilege, power, and wealth. But, there’s a downside people often don’t see: the restrictive expectations and the fact that one’s life has already been decided for you, especially if you are in direct line for the throne. The heir apparent is literally born to rule. He/she will be expected to act in a certain way, attend certain schools, marry someone appropriate and produce an heir. It might even be an arranged marriage. Being monarch sounds good, but frankly, I wouldn’t want to be queen.
A huge crisis and scandal erupted in the British Empire in 1936 when King-Emperor Edward VIII wanted to marry Wallis Simpson, an American socialite. Because she was twice divorced, she was considered to be socially and political unsuitable to become the king’s consort. Also, at that time, the Church of England did not allow divorced people to remarry if their ex-spouse was alive, and as king, Edward was the nominal head of the church.
His solution? Edward abdicated so he could marry Wallis Simpson. He not only gave up the throne for himself, but for all his descendants. His children would never inherit. Edward’s brother, Albert, the second son, became king, taking the name George V when he ascended the throne. George was the father of Queen Elizabeth, the current monarch.
The constraints upon behavior when one is a royal was one of the inspirations behind Claimed by the Cyborg. Princess Julietta of Xenia was born to be empress. Her bonding to her consort is an arranged one, the actual mate selected by seer. She doesn’t even get to meet him until the day of ceremony. Julietta is resigned to her fate, until she meets a Terran cyborg and falls in love.
Claimed by the Cyborg Description
March Fellows assumed he had all the time in the galaxy to pursue a relationship with Jules, an alien exchange student from Xenia, until she vanished without a trace. After years of searching, he finds his lost love on the eve of her arranged marriage.
The daughter of the Xenian emperor, Julietta never meant to fall in love with a Terran man while visiting Earth. Leaving to fulfill her responsibilities on her home planet opened up a hole in her heart that could never be filled. When March, now a cyborg, unexpectedly shows up just before she is to be bonded, she struggles to find the courage to turn him away a second time and follow through with her duty. Before she can act, the lovers are thrust into a political conspiracy that threatens the Xenian empire and their lives.
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Claimed by the Cyborg Excerpt:
(It’s the eve of Julietta’s bonding to a man she’s never met. Her completed bonding tunic has arrived and her sister Marji urges her to try it on.)
Marji’s eyes were wide. “You don’t want to see what it looks like? Come, on! I’ll help you.” She scooted off the bed. “Try it on, please?”
“All right,” she capitulated. The tailors had done an excellent job, but it wouldn’t hurt to verify the garment fit—and it would make Marji happy. At only sixteen solar cycles, her younger sister’s bonding wouldn’t occur for several years. Like most girls her age, she talked about her future ceremony constantly, planning what she would wear, who would attend—and wondering who her mate would be.
Julietta stripped down to her panties and a lacy bra. She’d adopted Terran undergarments when she’d attended school off planet. For the bonding ceremony—and thereafter for the rest of her life—she would wear the traditional one-piece Xenian undergarment. Her choice of underwear—one more thing bonding would force her to give up.
She pulled on the pantaloons sewn in the royal huber fabric. Shimmering threads of pale rose were woven throughout so that the garment sparkled. Marji undid the fastening of the shift and held it out. Julietta slipped her arms through it, and her sister did up the back.
The weight of her world rested on her shoulders.
Her sister reached for the headdress.
“That, too?” she protested, but bent at the knees so the crown could be settled on her head. Her legs threatened to buckle, but she shored up her strength and remained upright.
“You look beautiful. Just like an empress!” Marji gushed.
“How appropriate, considering,” she replied dryly.
The ceremony brought her closer to becoming the sovereign. The bonding—and production of an heir—were the only two hurdles left. Then, when her father passed the scepter upon his fifty-first solar cycle, she would rule with her consort at her side.
The last time she’d tried on the dress, the crystals hadn’t yet been sewn on. She took a few exploratory steps.
“How does it feel?”
“It’s perfect!” Marji said.
Could she walk down the aisle without toppling over, without bursting into tears, without making a spectacle of herself in front of thousands?
She would have to—what choice did she have? As firstborn, she was heir apparent. Her future had been decided on the day of her birth, twenty-five solar cycles ago. “Let’s take it off now.” She lifted the crown from her head and tilted her neck from side to side in relief. Marji undid the back of the shift and removed the garment. While she hung up the tunic, Julietta donned her clothing.
“I can’t sleep, I’m so excited for you,” Marji said. “Tomorrow night, you get to see your consort! I don’t know why you never chose to see him before this. As future empress, you receive special dispensation and could have seen him if you’d wanted to. I would have jumped at the chance!” She sighed. “But, like everyone else, I won’t see my future mate until the Sha’A’la and won’t meet him until the bonding ceremony.”
“Whether I see him or not, the future will proceed as scheduled,” Julietta said.
“Father says he’s very kind. Mother says he’s supernova!” she said. “That’s means handsome.”
“I know what it means. Mother has been watching too many Terran vids.”
Marji giggled, and, despite herself, Julietta smiled.
Though she hadn’t seen Earth herself, their mother loved Terran culture and had encouraged her eldest daughter to study there and explore the wonders of the Blue Planet before fulfilling her duty. Julietta had had two glorious years of freedom, two glorious years of being “Jules,” two glorious years of being just another Terran Technical Institute student, two glorious years with a man who most definitely qualified as supernova, two glorious years to pretend the future would never come.
Cara Bristol Bio
USA Today bestselling author Cara Bristol has been the no. 1 best seller in science fiction romance, bdsm erotica, and holiday fiction on Amazon. She’s the author of two science fiction romance series featuring tough alpha heroes: the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance cyborg series and the Breeder science fiction romance series, which emphasize character-driven stories written with a touch of humor and sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara lives in Missouri with her own alpha hero, her husband.
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