Maria Rubine. She has always known she's been living on borrowed time. She is Aurian and also an Impure, born with a genetic curse she cannot escape. Eventually, she knows, she will transform into a monster, both in body and soul.
Her time has run out all too soon in the form of the military forces of the King of Aur, the Emissary, who show up one day while she's at a coffee house in downtown Portland, Oregon, minding her own business.
It also shows up in the form of an uncommunicative but much too attractive High Scholar from Aur. He also seems bent on taking her back to Aur and probable death in some thoroughly unpleasant manner, for that's what High Scholars do to her kind.
If only she didn't find herself inexplicably falling for him.
Maxens Adamas. He is an Aurian High Scholar, born with the ability to weld control over matter and energy. But, disillusioned and carrying with him a secret shame, he gave up his life of privilege at the Scholar's College on Aur, and exiled himself to the far corners of the world.
His exile is curtailed, however, when he is called in to fulfill a magically enforced debt of honor. Or die. He must bring the Impure woman, Maria Rubine, back to the ruthless Chancellor of the College, Nazar Callaina.
Maria, though, is nothing like what he expected. When he is forced to choose between her life and his own, he finds that it isn't so hard to choose, after all. But is their growing bond enough to help them overcome not only Nazar, but also Maria's horrible destiny?
Red Like Rubies is a paranormal romance, first in the Exiles of Aur Series. It contains a very mild dosing of sensuality and language, and some fairly mild (by today's standards, especially) violence.
Length approximately 69,000 words.