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A warrior’s duty. A clan’s honor. Is their dragonfire strong enough to survive?
A quest has fallen upon Tyrnt Andrak’s shoulders, tearing him away from everything he loves, but it’s a matter of clan honor.
For Adatha Krytt there is only one dragon, but he has vanished leaving her to pursue her dream of becoming a dragon warrior. Duty is everything until the day comes when Trynt’s quest becomes Adatha’s mission.
His honorable quest has made him a thief. To catch a thief, she must track down the dragon she loves.
Can she fulfill her mission without breaking her heart?
Available on March 13th from Changeling Press
THE DRAGONFIRE SERIES IS AVAILABLE AT AMAZON, B&N, ARe and Changeling Press.
BJ’s author page at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/author/bjmccall
Word Count: 10K
Page Count: 37
Genres: Erotic Romance, Novella, Paranormal
Themes: Shapehifters, Magic
He’s got cat style, but does he have what it takes to win her heart?
Penelope went to the witch’s house to look at the cats, not bring one home. The moment she spotted the tiny fur baby with huge green eyes, she lost her heart. But Hildegard’s cats aren’t all they seem. One skeptical owner plus one affectionate shifter equals love cat-style — but will love prevail over the evil threatening to kill her furry best friend?
Available here: http://changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=2176
And a Hot Excerpt!
She knew that sound. “Fang! It’s Halloween. How in the name of God did you get out? I had you in the bedroom so you wouldn’t get loose.” She scooped the cat into her arms and flipped the switch to turn off the porch light. “You can be a real poop sometimes.” She nudged the door shut with her hip then engaged the lock. As per usual, the cat cuddled in her grasp and purred. She plunked him on the couch. “What am I going to do with you? Huh? I’ll get that bell I’ve threatened to put on you.”
Penelope sighed and closed her eyes. She rubbed her temple. As much as she loved the cat, he drove her crazy. “I should take you to the vet and have you fixed,” she grumbled. “That would teach you.”
“I suppose you could, but what fun is that?”
She opened her eyes. Instead of her black cat lounging on the couch, a dark-haired man with a hint of scruff on his cheeks and not a stitch of clothing on sat in his place.
“You’re not Fang.” Not her best response, but who in the hell was he? She balled her fists, ready to punch the intruder. “What did you do with my cat and how the hell did you get in?”
“Penn, it’s me, Fang. My mother called me Ascher, and I rather like it better.” He rose to his feet. “I don’t want to hurt you. I’d rather be back in your arms.”
Her brain misfired. A nude man, handsome at that, in her house and wanting to be in her arms? And he claimed to be her cat? She wobbled on her feet. The room went blurry, then black. When she opened her eyes, the man was crouching over her.
“Penn? Fuck.” His eyebrows crinkled and he smoothed her hair from her face. “I knew I should’ve told you yesterday but there wasn’t time.”
“You’re a strange man in my house.” She scrambled to an upright position. “Get the fuck out.” Where in the hell were her purse and her mace?
“You don’t know me.” She inched away from him. Instead of coming after her, the naked man sat still. “Now get out.”
“I do so know you, Penelope.” He pinched the bridge of his nose between his index finger and thumb. “Wait.” He grabbed a pillow to cover his crotch, then sat on the floor. “I know. Piss-poor timing to hide my junk. I’m sorry.” He sighed. “When you went to Hildegard’s to get a kitten, you were handed me. You didn’t know you wanted me until you saw the fluff on my ears. You loved that I had those funny tufts of fur.”
“No.” She shook her head. “No, no.” The man knew too much about her cat. What a lunatic! She grabbed her purse and rummaged for the bottle of mace — all without moving her attention from his face.
“You wondered why I hadn’t been nabbed yet.”
Shit. Those were just about her words exactly.
“Hildegard said I’d be exactly what you needed. I can be, but you have to believe me and trust me.” He finally moved toward her. “Please?”
“I’m supposed to believe a naked man in my house is my cat? Not on your life.” And yet, somewhere in her brain his story made sense.
“I’ll show you.”
©Copyright Megan Slayer 2014
* * * * *
When she’s not writing the stories in her head, Megan Slayer can be found luxuriating in her hot tub with her two vampire Cabana boys, Luke and Jeremy. She has the tendency to run a tad too far with her muse, so she has to hide in the head of her alter ego, but the boys don’t seem to mind.
When she’s not obsessing over her whip collection, she can be found picking up her kidlet from school. She enjoys writing in all genres, but writing about men in love suits her fancy best. The cabana boys are willing to serve, unless she needs them. She always need them. So be nice to Javier or he will bite–on command.
She also masquerades under the name Wendi Zwaduk and is published through Ellora’s Cave, Changeling Press, Decadent Publishing , Liquid Silver Books, MLR Press, Resplendence Publishing, and Total-E-Bound Publishing.
Megan’s site: http://wendizwaduk.com/indexMegan.htm
Megan’s blog: http://theauthormeganslayer.blogspot.com
Megan on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/meganslayer
Megan on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5330530.Megan_Slayer
Megan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theauthormeganslayer
Megan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/MeganSlayer
The Sweet Valley Twins books were the first series books I fell in love with. When I got a little older I started reading The Sweet Valley High books as well classic Nancy Drew books. Later I fell in love with books set in the Star War galaxy, and then when I got to college I discovered Romance Novels. While I read many types of romance novels, my favorites are those that are part of a series. This is most likely why I write books that are part of a series now. My first series The Sherbrookes of Newport currently contains 4 books with more to follow. However, in March I am releasing the first book in a whole new series called Love On The North Shore. The first book in the series is titled The Courage To Love.
When Hollywood sweetheart, Mia Troy, checks into the Victorian Rose the only things on her mind are rest and relaxation before she begins work on her new movie in Boston. That is until she meets Sean O’Brien, the co-owner of the bed and breakfast. From the moment she checks in, Mia is drawn to Sean, a reserved man who sees past her celebrity status.
Eighteen years ago Sean became the man of the house when his father walked out on the family. Without a second thought, he put his own dreams on the back burner and took care of his mom and younger sister. Now, the co-owner of a successful bed and breakfast Sean has accepted his position in life. That is until the day Mia checks in.
Despite his better judgement, Sean can’t ignore his physical attraction to Mia. Soon he gives into his desire telling himself all she wants is a quick fling to pass the time. As they spend time together, his feelings grow. But can two people from such different worlds ever last?
This is another one of my Favorite – it gives you a glimpse into Heather’s past. It came to me in snippets. I would see these certain scenes unfold for me and I knew I had to write it. It’s a little off my overall plot but Fridon has a big role in this one. Have fun reading!
Book 5 of the Vespian Way Hesitant Desire
Available in Print and E-book
Heather swore she’d never go back to Aruka after a mission had gone bad. The planet had an archaic view of women and Heather fought against those views, angering one man to the point of whipping her. Now Earth has requested she rescue a missing woman on that planet. She wants to say no, but Storm has already accepted for her, as long as he accompanies her. They hoped it would be a quick in and out assignment but didn’t expect to run into the man carrying such hatred for her all these years. Now they have to try to finish their mission while evading the man who’s only goal is to make Heather pay for her crimes.
Heather had a few minutes before she needed to get to council chambers for the afternoon and was taking advantage to play with her children.
“There is a communiqué from Admiral Barrister.”
“Thank you, Cim.” After picking up her daughter and putting her in the play area that Storm had created for the twins, she went for her son. Once she had them settled, she returned to the living room. “Go ahead and put Bear on the main screen.”
“Good morning, Commander.”
“How are you, Admiral?” He was awful formal. Why did he call her commander?
“We need your help.”
“You don’t mess around, do you, sir.” Great, another assignment. She had tried to leave security several times but Earth wouldn’t take her resignation. She sat on the couch.
“Time is of the essence.” He looked off screen for a moment and nodded before he focused back on her. “The daughter of the ambassador from Basuya has been kidnapped and only your expertise will work.”
“You know Vespian protocol, sir. You have to ask the ambassador before you can even approach me.”
“I know that and he has given his permission as long as he gets to accompany you.”
She smiled. Her mate always sought to protect her. “What do you need?”
“The ambassador and his family were learning about Aruka.”
“Oh, no thank you.” She didn’t want to hear anything else. The last time she had been on that planet she came close to spending the rest of her life as a slave and swore she would never go back.
“You are an officer of Earth’s military. You don’t get to refuse.”
“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.” From his tone, she knew better than to say anything else.
Bear steepled his fingers as he chose his next words. “Heather, you know the native language, have more personal knowledge of their society’s dos and don’ts, and firsthand knowledge of the land. I don’t have anyone else I can send and we must get her back as quickly as we can.”
“Permission to speak freely, sir?”
“Let me guess.” Heather pinched her nose. Anger filled her as she realized she couldn’t say no. “You’re trying to sign a treaty with them and getting the daughter back will make sure that happens.”
“When can you leave?” He didn’t answer her question so she had to be right.
“How come I seem to be the one you turn to when you need to make sure treaties are getting signed all of the sudden?” She muttered the words to herself but knew Bear heard her. Heather sighed as the data stream on the young woman she was to find filled the screen. “What do you know?”
“Not a lot right now. I have included your old file as well as everything you need for this mission. Storm has the same file.”
“Oh, great.” Now her mate would learn about one of her not so great missions. The only good thing about it was he could say no after he read what happened to her.
“I have explained to Storm I need you to leave as soon as possible. She has been missing three days.”
“Three days?” Her eyes widened. A couple of hours were all a kidnapper needed on that planet. Three days would leave them with a very cold trail to follow. She stood, knowing every minute she wasted could mean failure in finding the girl. “I’ll send a message when we’re on our way.”
She ended the communiqué and walked into the playroom to look at the twins. Their naming ceremony was just a few days away. Would the council allow them to postpone it? “You know I love you two very much.”
“Yes, mama.” He son toddled over and hugged her leg.
“I need to go help someone’s little girl make it back home.” She leaned down to pick him up. “Goodness you’re getting heavy.”
“And you will. You need to take care of your sister and listen to your uncle and aunt. No more grabbing his nose.” She touched his with gentle fingers.
Her son’s bottom lips poked out.
“He wants to protect your sister as much as you do. That is why he goes to her first. You need to let him know you want to be picked up first and he’ll realize he’s favoring your sister without knowing it.” Heather stooped to pick up her daughter as well when the doors open.
“You really do like trying to get yourself into trouble. You know they are too big for you to pick them up like that anymore, yet I catch you continuing to try.” He took their son out of her arms so she could pick up her daughter. He then offered her his hand so she could stand without too much of a problem. “Old habits die hard, don’t they?”
“Read the file already I see.” She brushed a few hairs out of her face, waiting for him to chastise her.
“You’re still my heart.”
“Yeah.” She never wanted to think about that assignment again, yet here it was, rearing its ugly head. “I knew you’d be happy to see how bad that got before I was able to turn it around.”
“I now see why Bear feels you are the best.” He headed toward the doors and waited outside for her to join him. “Anyone else would have ended up dead. Including me. You did what you had to do to get the job done.”
“I lost control.”
“Why do you say that?”
“I was a woman. When I first arrived the people who pretended to buy me wanted to brand me which I fought. Then I broke the number one rule and fought with a man.” Did he read the whole file? She had made mistake after mistake on that planet and had never forgotten about it. Heather moved down the hall, holding her daughter close. “Have you spoken to the council?”
“Informally. I spoke to my mother who contacted the rest of the council and they understand. The decision is ours.”
“Great.” She had hoped someone would say no, but so far nothing was going to stop her from reliving something she’d rather leave in the past. “You know I don’t want to do this.”
“But you won’t leave that girl to be trapped on that world.”
He knew her too well. The thought of what the girl would go through if she didn’t try to bring her home drove her to face her demons. She walked into the medlab with Storm on her heels. “Kuarto.”
“Heather? They’re not sick. I just saw them, so why are you here?” His voice held an annoyed tone. He had complained before that she worried too much about the health of the twins.
“I know, and I promise I didn’t bring them here for another check-up. I need a favor. Can you and Toki babysit for a few days?” She placed her daughter in the crib he had set up for the twins. “Earth’s government has asked us to go on a mission and we need to leave immediately.”
“What about the naming ceremony?” His frown showed his confusion.
“Storm has spoken to his mother and she understands. The one thing we need to do is formally approach the council and ask permission, but we already know they’re going to say yes. Can you ask Toki if she could postpone it for a few days? We’d really appreciate it.” She touched her daughter on the head, not wanting to leave her or their son, but she knew she had to do this.
“Then Storm is going with you.” Kuarto looked at Storm for answers before he reached for their son.
“Yes.” Storm patted his son on the head as he settled in his mate’s brother’s arms. “So we’re relying on you and Toki to care for these two until we get back.”
“That won’t be a problem. You know that.” He kissed their son on the head before he set him down next to his sister. “Can I help you with anything?”
“We’re going to need some physical alterations to fit into Arukan society,” said Heather. She fought hard to keep her anger and frustration inside. She knew she was focusing on the task at hand instead of her brother’s curiosity, but if she wasn’t careful she just might lose the tight hold she had on her emotions.
“Arukan? Have you been there?” He grabbed his scanner plus his pad and walked to the computer to pull up a three dimensional image of Heather and Storm.
“I have.” She kept her features under tight control, trying not to show how the memory of the place made her feel.
“So you know how women are treated there.”
All she could do was nod.
“Anyone else going with you two?” Kuarto looked at Heather for a moment before he started to alter their images to get the desired look for the race there. He never missed a thing and she wondered what he suspected. He didn’t ask her anything else as he used his pad, the screen, and their images to get what he wanted.
“Fridon will be coming as well.” Heather couldn’t keep the flatness out of her voice.
Kuarto nodded and loaded his image as well. “You realize you’re all a little tall for this race.”
“Yes.” Heather hated this. The last time she was on this planet her height had been one of the reasons she was so coveted. That and her hair. No one on the planet had such light hair. Then there was the length. The shortness of it made them think she had been punished by her master and then sent away because whatever she had done had been so bad he never wanted to see her again. It made her a target for many reasons and now she had to go back and face that reality again. “We’ll have to work around that.”
“And women are second class citizens with no power?” He watched her face as he brought up the subject again.
“I am all too aware of my status there.” She refused to rise to the bait as she watched him make the changes. Her fair skin turned golden with the sparkle the people from the planet had. They all looked like they had glitter on them from the way their skin sparkled in all types of light. “Can you make that stick?”
“Let me guess, the last time you went there you went just as you are.”
“Earth doctors couldn’t change my skin tone and hair color. My chip didn’t allow it.”
“Well, we have the ancient computer who knows your DNA so we should be able to make the proper changes.” Kuarto circled her image, bobbing her ears so they came to a point like the people from the planet. Then he changed her hair color. “One down, two to go.” Now that he had made the changes to her image all he had to do was press a button for Storm’s and Fridon’s images to switch. In an instant they all looked like the natives.
“I’m going down to the main compound to work on our outfits.” Heather headed out the door. Kuarto had what he needed to get them physically ready, now it was her turn to make sure their clothing fit as well.
“She seems very upset about this,” Kuarto commented as he continued to work on their images, perfecting their looks. “Can I assume the last time she was there it didn’t go well for her?”
“Not the way she wanted, but she still had a successful mission.” Storm pointed to the images. “How long before you’re done?”
“I should have a chip to implant in about fifteen minutes.”
“Good. I’m going to see what I can do to calm my mate.” Storm strode out of the medlab and headed to the ancient complex. Using his implant, he contacted Fridon and made him aware of the mission and let him know he had to visit the medlab to get the changes necessary for the mission to be a success. When he entered the lab he saw another three dimensional image of the three of them all lined up as Heather worked on the outfits. His and Fridon’s outfits were pretty nondescript. Tunics and flowing pants. Typical for an arid planet like the one they were going to. “My heart?”
She turned to look at him. “I hate this, Storm. Women have no power. They aren’t allowed to speak to men unless spoken to. They can’t own any property. Most women are the slaves of the family. There for breeding and doing all the work.”
“The men don’t do any of the work?”
“None of the labor. That is left to the women.” She pressed a button and worked on the intricate details of the garments. “The admiral has set up our identities already. You are a man of wealth and power. I am your most prized possession.”
“That much is true.” He stepped up to her and touched her cheek. “You will not be alone on this mission.”
“I know, but it’s the memories that get the best of me.” She pressed her face into his hand.
“Do you wish to talk about it?” He could feel her distress over this mission, but nothing else. She had locked everything else deep inside.
“No.” She gave him a smile, but he could see the sadness in her eyes. “Maybe when this mission is over I will, but right now I’m not ready. It’s something I had tried to forget. I need to come to terms before I can tell you anything.”
“What are you doing now?” He turned back toward the images, knowing it was time to change the subject.
“Making sure our garments are ready. Men of power have a brand or mark that adorns their clothing. It is also on all their possessions.” She tapped her pad. “What would you like as a brand?”
“How about this?” He lifted her hair and gently brushed her mark. “No one can deny that you are mine if it is on my clothes.”
Her smile was more genuine. “It also might keep them from branding me with your mark if I already have one.” She put the pattern on his and Fridon’s garment. Once she was happy with the image, she made several other outfits so they would have the proper garments to change to when they had to.
Storm watched as she brought up her image. Her Vespian gown disappeared and was replaced with an outfit he swore was appropriate only for the bedroom. “That is what you must wear?”
“My heart, my eyes will be glowing the whole time we’re on that planet.” The two piece dress left a lot of skin exposed. The bejeweled top had demicups that he was sure wouldn’t contain Heather’s breasts for long and the skirt sat so low on her hips he wondered how it stayed up.
She gave him a fleeting smile then worked on the image, putting the mark on her outfit as well. There was a band at the top of the skirt about six inches wide made out of the same thin material as his and Fridon’s clothes, then a border of it on the bottom. Everything in between was a thin transparent material. There was also a thin strip of cloth that held his mark half way down her upper arm, but he didn’t see any other straps that would keep her top on.
“Can I see you in that?” If she had that on all the time he wasn’t sure he could keep his hands to himself.
“Storm.” She didn’t want to have that awful outfit on before she had to.
“My heart, if just this image is making my desire for you skyrocket, then I need to see what the real thing is going to do. I need to be able to control myself.”
That got a laugh out of her. “You have never tried before.”
“I can’t help that your luscious body calls to me, begging for my touch.” He grinned as he pulled her into his embrace.
“I know your one track mind and there is a lot to do. I need to show you how to use my chain.”
“You’ll have my undivided attention in that.” He looked at the image once again. “I know you see the outfit as degrading. What better way to wipe that feeling from you then to have me worship your body while wearing it.”
“So you think it will empower me?”
“Has in the past.” His need for her was getting stronger by the second. “One wonderful memory to burn away the others.”
She closed her eyes for a moment, probably talking to the ancient computer. Her dress disappeared to be replaced with the outfit she hated so much.
She took his breath away. His hands had to touch her. They gently followed the edge of the small top, causing goosebumps to rise where his fingers had been. Sliding along the edge of the skirt, his touch caused her to take a sharp intake of breath. It was one of her more sensitive spots. He noticed a small gold chain around her waist. A long length of it fell to the floor.
“What is this?” He picked it up. The lightweight material didn’t look like it would take much abuse.
“Excuse me?” He heard the flatness of her voice. It angered her. Another thing she resented. His libido needed to wait so he could find out why.
“Like a pet I have a leach that you control.”
He was starting to understand why she hated this so much. To treat women in such a way went against his beliefs as well. “And you must wear it?”
“And you need to know how to use it to control me.”
“I have never been able to do that,” he joked as he continued to slide his hands over her soft skin. Time to defuse the strong anger she felt.
“Storm.” She stopped him then placed the end of the chain in his hands. “It’s all in the flick of the wrist.” She made a few movements to show him what she was talking about. “My place is behind you as we walk. If you wish to stop, you drop your hand to signal me.” She showed him what she meant. She went through several other movements.
“And what if I wish to show you affection?”
“I don’t know.” She looked sad. “I never saw any of the men show affection to their women. But I do know some of the commands for different sexual poses.”
“Perhaps I need to make a few of my own commands.” He started drawing the chain to him so she had to step closer. “Like when I want to kiss you I’ll just drag you to my side.” He lowered his mouth to hers, drawing her tongue out to dance with his. Tension flowed out of her.
He knew he needed to tread lightly with her. She needed to be in control the whole time. With a thought he produced their favorite chair. Another thought removed his clothes. Breaking the kiss, he stepped back and waited.
She stared at him.
“You tell me what you want.”
Heather hesitated for a moment then shook her head as if she was shaking the last of the bad memories away. “Climb on the chair.”
He didn’t waste any time.
“And put it in our favorite position.”
“We have several of those, my heart. Any particular one?”
“Hmmm.” She placed her hands on her hips and gave him a sultry smile. “I’ll let you pick that.”
One click of a button and he had the chair in a position she recognized. He watched as she sashayed toward him, the sway of her hips hypnotizing him. “You are so beautiful.”
“You are biased.” She climbed up on the chair and placed her feet on the railings on each side.
“I am.” He smiled up at her. This was one of the few times when she was taller than him. Her long skirt brushed against his thighs as she looked down at him. “But it doesn’t make my statement any less true.”
“You are so good for me.” She got down on her knees. “I’m going to need a little help. My skirt is too big so I can’t help guide you.”
He helped center her and closed his eyes as her tight sheath slid down his length. The heat of her body as it surrounded him fired his desire. His hands had a mind of their own as they skimmed across her hips and stomach, moving up to her breasts. They felt their way around the bra top, trying to find the closure. “How does this come off?”
“There are releases on each side, but I want to warn you…”
The weight of the top smacked him in the stomach, drawing a woof out of him. He held out the heavy thing. “How does this thing stay up?”
“I don’t know, but it seems to defy gravity.” She braced her hands against his stomach. “The skirt is the same way. It doesn’t move off the hips even though it looks like it could.”
He dropped the top onto the floor so he could focus on her. He gently cupped her breasts, playing with her nipples as she set the pace. She arched into his hands while she slid up and down his shaft. Knowing her body as well as he knew his own, he knew what aroused her, what brought her to the edge and what pushed her over. He rubbed his knuckles against the peaks before his hands continued to caress her velvet skin. The tips of his fingers skirted the edge of the waistband of the skirt, dipping in and brushing the edge of her mound, taking her breath away.
Her muscles tightened against him and she started riding him harder. Storm moved his hands to her legs, finding their way under the full skirt, feather like touches working their way up the back of her calf, the inside of her thigh, until his fingers reached their target and slipped into her folds. Time to bring her to the edge. She reacted to his touch. Her head dropped back as her breath came out in little pants.
“My heart.” He watched her face, keeping his hand between them, working her softly, slowly bringing her closer and closer. Gently he wrapped his hand around her neck, drawing her down until he could feel her breasts against his chest, allowing his lips to make contact with her mark. His lips tugged lightly on the soft tissue and she shattered in his arms.
“That is what you do to me while you wear that outfit.” His voice was a whisper as she floated along through her climax. She was quiet for a few moments, waiting for her body to return from her release. Then her eyes opened and she gave him a satisfied smile.
“My heart.” She touched his face. “You are so good for my ego.”
Proper protocol said she needed to go to the council and explain what Earth wanted from her. As a member of the council and the mate of the future leader, anything that took her off planet, or away from the council, had to be cleared. They gave their approval quickly. Storm had gone with her and stayed to clear his joining her on this mission as well.
She went back to the outfits. The fashions hadn’t changed that much since she was there last, but she made sure she made the subtle changes so they didn’t look dated. Her outfits were the last thing she worked on. The low hip and tiny top exposed so much. The last time she had to wear it brought attention to her in a way she didn’t want and she had fought it all the way. Yet after her mate’s reaction to the outfit and the tenderness he showed her, she knew he was right. Knowing Storm would be there and how it aroused him did give her the confidence she needed to do this.
Next she focused on the information Bear sent. There was a lot of data. Hopefully, she’d find what she needed to pick up a trail to follow.
Heather strode into the medlab, a cloak over her mission outfit. She didn’t want to be gawked at until it was necessary. Storm and Fridon were already there, wearing their costumes, their chips in place. Seeing Storm with pointed ears brought a smile to her face. “Good work, Kuarto. Hope you can work the same magic with me.”
“I’m going to put the first one in your hair line.” He gestured for her to lift her hair off the back of her neck and he inserted the chip. Pressing a few keys on his pad he worked with her hair color. “Your hair won’t be as dark as the race that you’re imitating but it won’t be the white blonde you normally have either. More like a golden brown.”
Heather turned and looked at the mirror Kuarto had. Her hair was now a light brown with gold highlights. “Wow. I look so different.”
“Now for the skin tone.” He pulled aside the cloak and inserted the next chip against her right pelvic bone. “Depending on how this works I might need to put a second one in.”
“Whatever it takes.” She looked at Storm who seemed to be frowning. “What is the matter?”
“I’m not sure I like that hair color on you.” His eyes widened when her fair skin darkened to a golden honey color. “You look so different, yet exotic.”
“Kuarto, you are amazing. What about my eyes?”
“I’ve tried several times but I can’t alter their color. I can give you contacts.”
“They don’t work either. My eyes have always been too sensitive for them. At least I’ll fit in a little better this time.” She lifted her feet. “Need to do something about this though.”
“Right.” Kuarto handed her two jewels to decorate her feet. “I’ve been working on that. Attach those to the juncture next to the big toe and press it.”
“I’m not sure I understand,” Storm said.
“I’m not allowed to wear any footwear. The women there are used to it and can walk in the sand and hard rocks, but my feet are too tender for that.” She bent down and placed the jewels on her feet. Pressing each one, she felt something cover everything up to her ankles. Heather looked up at Kuarto and grinned.
“It’s a force field. About the only thing I thought would work since if you left any kind of shoe print behind there would be questions. I made you four. Each coordinating with the color outfit you might wear.”
“Thanks.” She turned to Storm and Fridon. “Ready?”
“Yes.” Storm took her arm and headed to their transport. “Although I’m not sure I like this place we’re going. What else are you not allowed to do?”
“There is a lot.” She let out a sigh. “I’m not allowed to eat with you. In fact, I can’t eat until you and Fridon are done. If there is any food left over then I get to eat. If you attend any meals you have to abide by this. I can’t sit with you at any of the major functions unless I am to feed you.”
They reached the ship. Heather waited as Storm lowered the gangplank.
“I can’t ride any of the animals either. I must walk everywhere.”
“That is ridiculous.”
“I know, but it’s their law.” She took her seat and helped Storm prepare for liftoff. “I gave you the list. Did you read it?”
“I didn’t get to the walking everywhere.” Once the ship was out of orbit he programmed the coordinates and set the autopilot on. “But if you are my most prized possession then why can’t I set the rules for you?”
“You can. To a point. An example is like riding the horse. If I’m pleasuring you then I’m allowed, but that is only when we’re alone. Men don’t degrade themselves by letting their lust get to them while they are with other men.”
“And how long must we be there?”
“We find the girl and get out as fast as possible.”
Storm stepped onto the tarmac first. The heat was the first thing that hit him. He waited for Fridon and Heather to exit before he sealed the ship and sent it back into orbit. The computer would be his eyes and ears to make sure they were under surveillance while on the planet.
Their translators had been adjusted for the language on the planet, but since the people here didn’t use translators there would be a language gap until they could learn to speak it. Heather was the only one who was fluent and she wasn’t allowed to talk to men. He wasn’t sure how this would work.
Their first stop was the embassy to check in. Heather had donned a hood with her cloak so no one would be able to see what gender was under the garment. She had kept the cloak on since she came into the medlab earlier. He was happy because he knew he’d be aroused the moment he saw her in the outfit. Storm strode in the door with Fridon on his heels. His mate came in last, already in character.
“May I help you?” The young man behind the desk didn’t look up from the task he was doing.
“Yes.” Storm’s deep voice filled the room. “We have an appointment with the admiral.”
“And your name?” He looked up then to find Storm glaring at him. Storm recognized the man. He was Bear’s second. Heather called him an assistant. “Oh, ambass…ador? Um, he’s been waiting for you.” The doors to their right swung open.
Storm walked in the door, not happy with the situation. “Why are you making my…” He stopped his rant when he noticed Bear wasn’t alone.
“Storm?” Bear laughed. The same fake one Heather had been known to use from time to time. He looked at Storm’s ears and grinned. “Like the ears. Thank you for coming. I’d like to introduce you to the parents of the young woman taken.”
He gave them a stiff nod.
“I must say you do look the part. So does Fridon.” He looked at the garbed figure. “Heather? Can I assume you do too?”
“Yes, sir.” She lowered the hood so the admiral could see her face.
“Wow. Then let’s get down to it.” He had been sitting with the girl’s parents. Standing, he walked to his desk and picked up a small remote. “This is the young woman in question. She was in the garden of the home they are using here, off the embassy grounds. She was by herself when they heard her scream. By the time anyone made it outside there was no sign of her. We did get this from the surveillance equipment.”
And image filled the screen of the young girl, maybe sixteen, being grabbed by men in nondescript clothes.
Heather stared at the screen for a moment. “Can you play that again?”
She watched it several times before she sat next to the parents. “Was your daughter speaking to any of the local boys?”
“One or two,” the father replied. “You can’t be saying that she was taken by one of them.”
“These people don’t think the way most do. Women are like an object you would trade or sell here. Someone could have seen your daughter as a potential present to a son of a wealthy family coming of age. Especially if he showed an interest in her. They could have taken her to gain favor with a wealthy family.” She saw the stricken look on the mother’s face. “I know this isn’t what you want to here, but it is the truth. I’m very good at my job, but I need all the information I can get to bring her home safely.”
“There was one boy who kept calling on her,” the mother responded.
Heather smiled. “Tell me everything.”
“Heather, I was about ready to read you the riot act when you started talking to the parents the way you did, but you got the information we needed,” Bear snapped at her.
“I’m sorry I had to do that, sir, but I knew it was the only way to make them think about anyone she might have talked to. Now we have three leads instead of a very cold trail.” She stood, pulling the cape in front of her to keep her outfit concealed. “As you said, time is of the essence, and I want to make sure that girl comes home.”
“Understood, Commander, but next time you better let me in on what you want to do beforehand or I’ll court-martial you.”
“Considering my position in Earth’s military is all on paper since they refused to retire me, your threat really doesn’t have that much weight.” She stood in a relaxed military stance. “You need me more than I need you, sir.”
“Storm, I do believe you created a monster here.” He sat back in his chair and laughed. This time it sounded real. His relaxed state surprised Storm. Was Heather that good?
“You had a hand in her development as well.” Storm wrapped an arm around her waist. “We need to talk seriously. No harm can come to my mate. I will kill the man who looks at her wrong.”
“Which is why you are going with her. You will keep her safe. Too many things went wrong the last time. That can’t happen again.” Bear ran his fingers through his hair. “How much of the language do you know?”
“Heather has been teaching us, but the intricate levels of the language makes it difficult to learn very quickly. I know the most important sentences at all levels.” He grinned. “I know the word ‘mine’, ‘do not touch’ and ‘the woman speaks for me’. My mate also taught me a few swear words just in case I need them.”
“And your translator?”
“The language has been loaded so I’ll know everything spoken. Then the nuances of the language will download every night and Heather will help us practice what is downloaded when we’re traveling. We should be fluent quickly.”
“I don’t want to put you in this situation again, Heather. But as you told the parents you are very good at your job. No harm meant, Storm, but if I could have I would have put Heather and Skye together. They both have a knack at finding the people in jeopardy.”
“Could Skye protect her better than me?” He still didn’t like the man. It didn’t matter if he was his daughter’s mate.
“I didn’t say that.” Bear looked at Heather for a moment before focusing on Storm. “I guess that is still a sore subject for you. I have registered you two in the system. I need to load something to prove Heather is your property.”
“Her mark.” Storm pointed to his clothing. “She bears it as well.”
Heather released the cord holding the cloak against her body and she dropped it so Bear could see her outfit and the proof of her mark on her clothes.
“Damn, Heather, I see working with Vespian security has done some wonderful things for you. You’re no longer that skinny woman I knew. Your muscles never had such definition.”
Her hand splayed across her abdomen. It took Storm’s hands to pull hers away. “She has what you call a hard body, yes?”
“Yes, and that makes her more desirable to the men who will see her. Be warned, Storm. Your mate will turn a lot of heads.” He stood. “The sooner you get started the sooner you’re done.”
Heather nodded. “If we have all the information available we should get going.”
She picked up her cape and handed Storm her leash.
“Wait.” Bear looked at the chain and frowned. “How cherished a piece of property is she to you, Storm?”
“What kind of question is that?”
“The chain is too long.”
“Admiral, I don’t mean any disrespect, but many men like the chain long so they can wrap it around their own waist when in a crowd so their possession doesn’t wander off. It is where they hold the leach that matters and Storm has learned about that.”
Bear checked his screen before he spoke. “Sorry, I had the wrong data.”
“It’s okay Bear, but when you live it you never forget.” She took a deep breath and looked at Storm. “Let’s go.”
Storm nodded. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to allow Heather to be put into danger once again, but they had promised. Making sure he had a good grip on her chain, he headed out the doors of Bear’s office. They walked out of the embassy into the crowded street. The heat hit him first then the noise level. His sensitive ears had found it hard to ignore.
Heather stayed behind him, her distance based on the thin chain he held. Fridon had gone on ahead of them to secure the animals they would need for traveling. Once they were away from the town he would breathe easier. He also hoped Heather would relax out of the confines of the city and the rules.
“You sell?” some young boy asked him, pointing to Heather.
“No.” Storm wasn’t sure if it was the right dialect, but he didn’t care.
Now he had three wanting to know if he’d be willing to part with his mate. Were they crazy? A growl escaped him. “No.”
He took another two steps and there were two more about to ask him about Heather. Storm turned around, grabbed Heather by the waist and threw her over his shoulder. As he walked with her draped over his shoulder, he glared at anyone who started to approach him. He could hear his mate’s laughter in his head.
This isn’t funny, my heart. Why would they think I’d be willing to part with you?
I am property to them and everyone has a price. The fact that you want to keep me close shows them I have value and they will try to see why. You don’t even give them a chance to make an offer. That has their curiosity. What have I done to make you not want to sell me?
He shook his head. Fridon was only a few feet away with their animals. Along with two animals saddled for him and Fridon to ride, they also had several pack animals carrying tents and items they would need if they stopped for the night away from any town. And if this was the way all the men were going to behave around his mate, he didn’t plan on stopping at too many of them.
Storm was stopped once again by someone wanting to buy his mate.
Ask him secudo demaliasent.
Storm repeated the words.
“I will offer 30 million secons and my master’s current favorite.” The young man looked at him with a hopeful smile.
Tell him senmareio efactinga.
What does that mean?
You’ll think about it.
It is only to give them something to think about. Make them believe you might sell for the right price.
How much is 30 million secons?
About the same in old earth dollars. Vespia doesn’t have anything that I can show that would equal. Just be happy that it is a lot of money. They’re not trying to insult you.
He caught up with Fridon and mounted his animal. “What is this?”
“They call them frulas. Like earth’s horse.” Fridon climbed on his mount as well. “They move about fifty clips an hour. If you are ready we can head out.”
“Who packed the animals?” asked Heather, her voice low. Storm could sense the touch of fear racing through her.
“They were like this when I arrived.”
“Bear must have gotten them ready for us.” Heather’s shoulders relaxed as she walked to the animals and added the packs she had carried from the embassy. “Remember, Fridon, you are in training to learn Storm’s trade. You’re not to do any of the labor.”
“I remember, Heather. As much as I disagree with it I would never do anything to put you in danger.”
“I’m sorry, Fridon.” She kept her eyes downcast. “The crowd has me worrying about everything. The sooner we’re out of here the happier I’ll be.”
“Then let’s go, but make sure Heather can keep up.” Storm looked at the crowd around them. He didn’t like having so many around them, knowing how easily they took the girl. “My mate will not be forced to run to keep pace with us. The moment we’re out of sight I want her up on my mount.”
Fridon set an easy stride for the animals. Once they were out of the view of the town Storm circled back and offered his hand to Heather.
“Storm, I can’t.”
“You said the rules could be bent as long as it profited me. I want you up here. I don’t care if you have to straddle me and give me pleasure the entire time, I will not allow my mate to walk when I am riding. So you either get up here or I will climb down off this animal and walk beside you.” He reached for her again. “Your choice.”
“I saw that spark enter your eyes when you said I could pleasure you the whole time.” She took his hand and allowed him to pull her into his lap. Once she was settled in the saddle with him she worked herself around until she faced him. “Now we get to see how much torture you can take before your libido gets the best of you.”
“My heart, when it comes to you I have no control.” He wrapped his arms around her, his hands sliding up and down her back.
“That isn’t true or we’d never get any work done.” She wrapped her legs around him, pulling her body against his.
“You haven’t read my mind enough, then. It is all I think about.” His lips brushed against her mark. Too bad Fridon was with them or he would show her just how much just being near her had him constantly wanting her.
by Megan Slayer
Sometimes giving into fate gets you to the place you most want to be.
Cary Hazard walked away from his life as the front man for the band, Cascadia, to embrace a quieter existence in Zero. With no celebrities and no one wanting things from him, he’s happy. He’s also lonely. He wants to find that one special person to warm his nights and love him—tattoos and all. Will he or end up alone again or will the hunk at the Eight Ball bar be his saving grace?
Layne Stevens has a past he’s not proud of. He’s looking for redemption, but not in the hands of a former star. If he can stay in the shadows, he’s happy, but lonely. The man singing at the bar has his full attention. He wants to wrap himself up in the guy’s strong arms. Will he be able to open up and offer his heart or will the truth destroy everything he holds dear? It’s a matter of catching Cary.
Amazon(available soon!) | Barnes & Noble(available soon!) | All Romance eBooks (available soon!) | Decadent(available soon!)
What the readers are saying:
“Watching these two flirt and find love was sizzling hot. They have chemistry that just leaps off the pages of this book. Pretty sure I have singed fingers now. I like the idea that opposites really can find love and each brings what the other needs to the relationship. I pick up Ms. Slayer’s works for two reasons, she brings me stories that are original and well thought out and she always makes me fall in love and want more. I know I will be looking for more in the Zero, Ohio series in the future. Bring on the man love!” Redz World – Rated 5 shooting stars
About the Author:
When she’s not writing the stories in her head, Megan Slayer can be found luxuriating in her hot tub with her two vampire Cabana boys, Luke and Jeremy. She has the tendency to run a tad too far with her muse, so she has to hide in the head of her alter ego, but the boys don’t seem to mind.
When she’s not obsessing over her whip collection, she can be found picking up her kidlet from school. She enjoys writing in all genres, but writing about men in love suits her fancy best. The cabana boys are willing to serve, unless she needs them. She always need them. So be nice to Javier or he will bite–on command.
She also masquerades under the name Wendi Zwaduk.
Enjoy the following excerpt for CATCHING CARY:
The busboy he’d been ogling moved to the table next to Cary. He plunked the tub down and rested one hand on his hip. “How are you doing on that beer? Your server took off. If you want another, I’ll get it.”
“You’re serving tonight?” Cary finally saw his face. Thick dark lashes framed his hazel eyes. A silver ball decorated the space between his bottom lip and chin. A tiny bit of mahogany-colored hair dusted his cheeks and concentrated on his chin. The man looked young. Like, young enough to be Cary’s son, young. Damn.
“Yeah.” He snorted. “I’m a jack of all trades tonight. My boss, Tyson, called me in to wait tables, but the guy who normally busses quit an hour into the night.”
“Well, since you’re serving, I’ll take a vodka and lime.” Cary nodded once. “Thank you.”
The man smiled, but dipped his head and blocked Cary’s view. When the guy came back with the glass in hand, he winked. “Here you go.” He placed the drink on the table. “You did a good job on that song. This lot wouldn’t know good music if they had it whacked over their heads.”
“You know Cascadia’s stuff?”
“I’ve got the cassette. My older brother passed it down to me. I’m more into harder stuff.”
“Ah.” Cary sipped the drink, liking the burn of the vodka down his throat. The brother passed the cassette down…. Good God.
“The tape broke so I got the CD over at Vintage. Leon hunted it down for me. He’s good at that stuff.” He cleared the empty beer bottles from Cary’s table. “Speaking of Cascadia, you nailed the flourish at the end. Most people can’t do that and kill it when they try.”
“Thanks.” The tips of his ears burned. He knew he’d nailed the flourish, but hearing the words from the younger man pleased him. “Lots of people sing it?”
“Nah.” He shrugged. “Most people tear the currently popular crap apart.” He
picked up the bin. “I’ll be right back. If you need anything, I’m Layne.”
@copyright Megan Slayer 2014
Club Desire Book 1
M/M, Anal Sex, Toys, Spanking, BDSM
Get your rocks off however you want at Club Desire. We’re not easy and we’re not free, but we are discreet. Find your fantasy in the club.
Ford Gehrig likes everything hard—his racing and his sex life. His career driving stock trucks is riding high. He’s a top performing rookie. Club Desire fulfills his needs for pain in his pleasure. But even a strong man has his breaking point. His wounds run deep and won’t be easy to overcome. Will the club be his salvation or his downfall?
Master Zane knows the rough side of the club well. He’s been at Desire longer than many of the Doms. Few subs turn his head like Ford. He wants the hot blond on his table, against his cross and in his bed. Nothing at the club comes easily, but Zane’s not one to give up. Will he be able to pierce the protective walls around Ford’s heart, or will his own past be the barrier he can’t destroy?
Only time, some cuffs and a few spankings will tell if this tied desire is meant to last.
“Stand. I want you to sit on the couch with me.” Zane offered his hand.
Albeit tentatively, Ford cooperated. He rose and followed the Master to the oversized leather sofa. For the first time since he’d entered Zane’s private space, he glanced around. Instead of the stark look of T’s room, this one was decorated in rich burgundys and navys. A couple floor lamps provided light. The standard bondage bed and a mattress on a platform completed the otherwise lush look.
“We need to talk. Please sit.” Zane’s words forced Ford to look at him. “Were you happy with T?”
Ford eased down beside Zane, not touching the larger man. Should he answer honestly? Might as well. “I enjoyed our time together.”
But I’d rather he’d have been you. Oh shit. He couldn’t admit that.
Ford allowed himself to ogle Zane. Full muscle in every part of his body, his arms were both sleeved in tattoos and a thick leather X crisscrossed his sculpted chest. A barbell decorated his right nipple. His leather pants molded around his strong legs.
For the first time since Ford had come to Desire, he looked Zane in the face. Scruff darkened his thin cheeks and dark lashes ringed his eyes. His black hair stood in spikes and twin earrings dangled from his left ear. He didn’t have telltale smile lines around his mouth. Didn’t the man grin at anything? Ford doubted Zane could be sad with all of the sexy men and women at his disposal.
Zane’s brown eyes narrowed, and the crinkles formed at his brow. “Somehow, I don’t believe you enjoyed being with T.” He trailed his fingers down Ford’s cheek. “He claims you get off on name calling and degradation. I don’t buy that. I can see you getting off on the power shift, but not the other. You seem too timid—in a good way—for that harsh of treatment.”
Ford pressed his lips together to keep from gawking. In less than a minute, Zane had read him well. “You’re correct, Sir.”
“I want to start there. I’ve watched you in action. I know what you like and don’t like, but I want to hear you tell me your boundaries.”
“No needles or blood. I’m squeamish. Don’t choke me or abuse me. I can take pain, and I’ll use my safe word when I get to my limits.” Ford held his head high. “I enjoy the paddle, being restrained and sucking cock.”
“Very good.” Zane curled his fingers beneath Ford’s chin. “What’s your safe word?”
“Nice.” Zane nodded. “Since T has seen fit to toss you back into the submissive pool, I’m stepping in. You’re mine. Do you wish to play?”
All of Ford’s desires and fantasies were coming true. Sure, he hadn’t wanted to part with T, but if he could spend time with Zane, then perfect. Ford wished he’d worn appropriate clothing for a scene, but who cared. He didn’t. Time to channel his sorrow into something sexy.
Ford placed the still full beer bottle on the floor, folded his hands and bowed his head. “Yes, Sir. I’d like to play.”
@Copyright Megan Slayer 2014
When she’s not writing the stories in her head, Megan Slayer can be found luxuriating in her hot tub with her two vampire Cabana boys, Luke and Jeremy. She has the tendency to run a tad too far with her muse, so she has to hide in the head of her alter ego, but the boys don’t seem to mind.
When she’s not obsessing over her whip collection, she can be found picking up her kidlet from school. She enjoys writing in all genres, but writing about men in love suits her fancy best. The cabana boys are willing to serve, unless she needs them. She always need them. So be nice to Javier or he will bite–on command.
She also masquerades under the name Wendi Zwaduk and is published through Changeling Press, Decadent Publishing , Liquid Silver Books, MLR Press, Resplendence Publishing, and Total-E-Bound Publishing.
Megan’s site: http://wendizwaduk.com/indexMegan.htm
Megan’s blog: http://theauthormeganslayer.blogspot.com
Megan on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/meganslayer
Megan on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5330530.Megan_Slayer
Megan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theauthormeganslayer
Megan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/MeganSlayer
This is another one of my favorites! I was in the middle of writing book 5 when this one popped into my head – it was the first time I was writing two books at the same time. Normally the books wait for me to at least write the rough draft of one before the next one blossoms in my head but not this one. I couldn’t write it fast enough. I also think I cover a lot paranormal categories, we have a shapeshifter and a couple of time travelers along with the basic SF story line.
Available at Phaze on Sept 24th:
Heather and Storm’s Story continues…
Storm is lost in time and without his memories and Heather has to go after him. As much as she wants to she can’t just bring him home she has to make him remember before they can return to their own timeline. So she has to find a way to jar his memory free. While she is back in time she finds out Ialog is there and has been slipping something to Storm to keep his memories form coming back.
Storm held Heather close as she continued to sleep. His fingers brushed against her soft skin. As busy as their schedule was, it was nice to have a little of the morning to themselves. Heather still wasn’t getting enough rest dealing with the twins and he did his best to let her nap when he had the chance, even though he could think of other things they could be doing right now.
“You do have a one track mind.” Heather opened her eyes and looked at him.
“You are supposed to be sleeping.” He ran his knuckles along her jawline.
“It’s hard to sleep when you keep thinking of our intimacy. Were those memories or fantasies?”
He gave her one of his bone melting smiles as he pressed her back into the bed. “Yes.”
“Yes?” She smiled up at him.
“Because somewhere along the way my fantasies become reality and then memories.” He nuzzled her throat.
“Is the door locked?” She tilted her head so he could have better access.
“No. Why?” His lips caressed her mark, sending little frissons of heat through her blood.
“Because your son has figured out how to open the door.”
“He’s not tall enough to reach the panel to open the door.” Storm stopped long enough to lift his head and looked at her. “But it doesn’t surprise me he figured out another way. He is our son.”
“I sure don’t want him tottering in here at the wrong time.” She touched his face.
“Then he won’t.” Storm surged into her. Tendrils of excitement filled her as he entered her. She wrapped her legs around his waist.
“What?” She shifted so she could accept him in deeper.
“Haven’t you noticed that they are never looking for us when we’re arguing, amorous, or intimate?” He pulled out and drove back in. “You have a mental connection with them that tells the children when it is safe to come in.”
She brushed her fingers against his mark and was greeted with him sucking in his breath. “Too much talking.”
He chuckled as he pressed his lips to her mark. “I have created a monster.”
“One you are very proud of.”
“Oh yes.” He pulled her into a sitting position, bracing his arm along her spine to give her support as she slid up and down his length. Her muscles rippled against him as she moved. They shared everything, including their intimacy. He could feel her desire as it swirled through her, filling her with excitement.
Storm leaned her away from him a little so he could hit the spot that brought her more powerful orgasms. Each time he brushed the spot, her need blossomed to a point where she felt her body shake with each stroke. One particular stroke drew a moan out of her. She was close, so close. Muscles tightened against Storm, her blood hummed. Slowly the heat built in her stomach. The flames licked along her insides until it enveloped her, sending her out to the stars.
Storm eased her back unto the bed as he continued to rock into her. Another moan escaped. Everything tightened again. The heat of his mouth latched onto her mark as his release started to unfurl. Feeling his orgasm brought her to the brink again. She soared through it with him.
“Beautiful.” He brushed hair from her face. “My heart.”
“A great way to start the day.” She smiled up at him. Her smile widened when she sensed her son opening the door. Someone has come to visit.
“Papa?” Terrik, their son, totted over to the bed.
“Yes, son?” He touched her face once more before rolling off her and looked down at his son. One of the biggest joys in his life was their children. Terrik was brilliant like his mother yet had the ability to strategize like him. A sharp wit and a smile that reminded him of his own gave Storm a hint at what his mother went through with him before he mated with Heather. His daughter rivaled her brother in intelligence and her mother in beauty. Shyer than her brother, she would look at people with her big violet eyes and melt any male’s heart who saw her. He knew he would have his hands full when his children started coming of age but he welcomed the challenge.
“Mama wake yet?” He looked up at Storm with gold eyes surrounded by a violet ring and a bright smile.
“Yes she is.” Storm offered his arm to his son who grabbed it just above his wrist so his father could lift him to the bed. Something they had started when Terrik had been old enough to crawl to the side of their bed. He held his son until Heather could move. She always needed a few moments to regain her mobility after they were intimate. “You’re awake a little early today.”
The boy snuggled against his father as Heather watched him. “Heart.”
“I know, she’s my heart, too.” He pulled his son close and pressed a kiss to his head. Storm smiled at how fast the twins picked up on key phrases and words.
Heather smiled when he crawled to her side. He was careful to not disturb her too much as he snuggled against her.
“You’re my heart too, sweetheart.” She touched his face. “Just like your sisters and your father. Where is your sister? She’s normally right behind you.”
“Perhaps we should go check and see if she is awake now.” Heather sat up with the cover wrapped around her.
“Do you need some time, my heart?” He looked at his son curled up against her. She normally spent a little time with the children when they first woke, but had promised to be ready quickly. They had hoped to be back before the children would wake up. This changed things. “We need to travel to Bert’s compound this morning. I told him we would be there as soon as we got up. He is expecting us, but I’m sure we can take a little time if you need it.”
“We can go as soon as I get dressed. It won’t take me long to get ready. Kuarto and Tiko have promised to take care of the twins while we’re gone.” She stretched, careful to keep the cover up to shield her nakedness. Nudity wasn’t something Vespians found embarrassing, but being raised on Earth she still was a bit shy showing her body to her children.
“Not the great spoiler?” Storm picked up his son and placed him on his chest.
“Your mother has council meetings today and the last time your son was in council chambers he was a bit too active. He disrupted several disputes, forcing Kuarto to go and get him. She had to promise to take time off when she watched the children after that.” Heather didn’t keep the laughter out of her voice. “I promised her it would be her turn next time. Bert said we could bring them with us, but Kuarto has been pestering to spend time with them.”
“You have come to trust Bert,” Storm commented as he entertained their son while Heather got out of bed and dressed.
“He has been honest with us so far and has taught us a lot about our abilities. I feel he can be trusted.” She closed the seals on her gown then reached for the boy. She touched his nose as she turned from the bed. “And how is my little protector this morning?”
He pressed his hand against her heart the way he had seen his parents do so many times. “Hungry.”
She laughed, hugged him and headed to the twin’s room. “Then let’s get your sister and feed you two.”
Storm climbed out of bed and dressed while she fed the children. He came into the main room once he sealed his uniform and picked up the cup of coffee Heather had waiting for him. “Do you think Terrik knows what the gesture means?”
“He knows that gesture is one of the ways we show affection for each other.” Heather leaned against her mate with her cup when he came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. “The fact he wants to do it too is just so sweet.”
“You still have trouble leaving them behind, don’t you?” He hugged her close when he heard her voice fill with such emotion.
“You have the same problem.” Careful of their coffee, she turned in his arms and touched his face. “Besides it will only be for a few hours.”
“And we need to get going.” He took her cup and placed his and hers on the table. “The transport is ready. Is your brother coming here or are we bringing the children to him?”
“I’m coming here,” said Kuarto as he walked in.
“You don’t knock?” Storm growled when he realized the man was behind him.
“I was told I didn’t have to.” He walked up to Heather and kissed her on the cheek. “Being family has its perks.”
“The children are almost finished with their breakfast.” Heather started running through her list of things to do for the children. “I have their clothes laid out on their beds. Um, they do dress themselves but you might need to help Terrik. He has a little trouble getting the seals closed properly.”
“They’ll be fine, Heather. Stop worrying.” He sat with the children as they finished their meals. “Now go. We’re going to have fun today.”
“Mama?” asked their daughter, Zunarka. “You leave us?”
“You get to be with Kuarto and Toki for a little while today.” She touched her daughter’s cheek. “We’ll be back soon.”
“Can we go into the garden?” asked their son. He had already dismissed them and was ready to play.
Storm put an arm around Heather’s waist and escorted her out the room. “Your soft heart would keep us there another hour if I didn’t pull you away.”
“I’m not that bad.” She looked up at him. “Am I?”
“It’s one of the reasons why I care for you so much, my heart.”
It didn’t take them long to get to Bert’s compound. Once the elders had a chance to question Bert they gave him permission to stay on some land in a remote area of Vespia so he could do his research on what happened to the rest of the ancients. They felt it was better not alerting the entire race that they had a living, breathing ancient among them. If the planet was aware of his presence they would never leave Bert alone.
Heather and Storm walked into his main computer room and found him working on assembling a large piece of equipment. He had parts floating in the air as he used a three dimensional image to move them around until they were ready to be put into place. There were small clamps on the pieces floating that allowed them to defy gravity.
“You have been busy.” Storm looked around at all the different components Bert now had up and running, not sure if he was happy with the elders’ decision. The only other ancient they had been involved with had a fixation on his mate and he feared the same thing would happen again over time, but Heather trusted the man so he kept his opinions to himself.
So far Bert had been the exact opposite of Ialog, but how long would that last? Would he develop that strange overpowering desire to have Heather that Ialog had? She was part of his visions. He had told them she was important to the future of their races. Would he try to take matters into his own hands like Ialog did? Storm knew he had to be leery or they could be caught unawares.
“A lot of the equipment I need for my search was already in my ship so it was easy to transfer it. Others I brought from my other compound, plus I have been working on a few more to make sure I have everything I need to begin my search.” He looked at Storm. “I know you have no reason to trust me. Ialog did ruin that, but I promise I have no ulterior motive. I just want to find my people. It is hard knowing I am alone.”
Did the man just read his mind?
Heather touched Storm’s arm. He could see that she understood. She had lived with being unique all her life. He placed his hand on top of hers. He trusted her. If she felt Bert was safe then he would too. For now.
The simple gesture had him wanting her again. She started smiling at him so he knew his eyes had started glowing once more. Good thing they had the ship with their favorite chair in it. He just might get a scream from her on their way back.
Storm walked around, looking at the different pieces of equipment. All types of machines covered the walls along with several large screens. “Fridon would love this place.”
“Then bring him next time.” Bert grinned as he worked on connecting a board to one of the screens. “I enjoy his sharp mind.”
Storm nodded as he rested his hip on one of the consoles.
“Oh, Storm don’t lean there–” Bert frowned as Storm winked out of sight. “Oh, dear.”
Bert sprinted to where Storm had stood only seconds ago. This wasn’t good. Storm wasn’t supposed to disappear this soon. Was he? The information he had gave him the impression it wouldn’t happen for a few months. How did the timeline get off? Using a handheld device he scanned the area then started pulling up data.
“Oh dear?” Heather grabbed him by the shoulder, turning him to face her. “What do you mean by ‘oh dear?’ Where did he go?”
“It’s not the where I’m that worried about, it’s the when.” The data he looked through on his hand held also filled one of the screens. Heather watched in awe as he flipped through thousands of images in seconds. It didn’t take him long to find him.
“The when?” Heather rubbed her forehead.
“I know this doesn’t make sense.” He had been watching her out of the corner of his eye and turned to look at Heather before he turned back to the machine. “The thing Storm rested against is a time machine. I have used it in the past to watch and learn about people as well as travel to times and places I wanted to learn more about. I assembled it here so I can travel where and when I need to gather clues on what happened to my people. It was on because I was finishing the installation. But it wasn’t set properly. Normally I have a timeline and location set, along with how long I plan on being there. It also has the DNA sequence of the person going back so they don’t get harmed by the transfer. Storm set it off without any of that being done so I’m not sure where or when he went or what he might remember. This image shows he arrived wherever safely. Now I have to see how we go about extracting him.”
“Wait. A time machine? No one has been able to control time travel yet.” Heather move close to the machine but Bert blocked her way. If she touched it the same thing would happen to her and he didn’t need two of them lost in time.
He hoped he was right about where Storm was supposed to arrive, but until he could check history to be sure, everything could have changed. If Storm was where he should be then he was safe and the next step would be to send Heather after her mate.
“None of the races you’re familiar with have the technology yet, but we have been able to successfully control it.” He moved to another computer to get historical data before going back to the time machine.
“Great. So my mate is trapped back in time somewhere? Bert, we have to bring him home.”
Bert watched her as she looked at the machine. He knew she was thinking if she did what her mate did would it send her back to the same point in time? Heather instinctively moved toward the machine to find her way blocked by Bert again.
“Please don’t touch anything. Without it being prepared properly you don’t know when or where it will send you and your mind will be wiped. You could end up on another planet and timeline if I don’t do this right. That won’t do Storm any good. Once I verify his location we’ll work on bringing him back. It shouldn’t take too long. I promise.”
Bert laid his handheld on the surface. The equipment he sat it on hummed as it worked.
“Why didn’t your machine send that little handheld off to who knows when?” Heather asked when the device didn’t disappear.
“Safety protocols because of my DNA.” He gestured to it. “It’s on the handheld.”
Heather gave him an exasperated look.
“Dealing with a time machine is tricky work. In order for me to touch it over and over without being sent all over time uncontrollably I set protocols for my DNA. It knows me and will only send me through time when I program it. Normally I have it set not to send anything without permission, but because I was still installing it and never expected Storm to touch it I hadn’t quite gotten to that. It’s hard to install the protocol when the machine isn’t fully installed and calibrated.” Although he should have. He knew Storm time traveled, he just didn’t know when until now. He had thought it happened a little too early, but the timeline hadn’t changed so he was feeling more optimistic. Bert pressed a few buttons. “Storm is on Earth. Looks like the western section of the…oh dear.”
“Again with the ‘oh dear?’ What now?”
“He’s in the early twenty-first century. Looks like Washington State of the United States.” He turned to look at Heather. Storm was where he was supposed to be. He didn’t see the connection with the location until now. “Isn’t that where Ialog kept you when he kidnapped you on Earth?”
“Yes. It is also where I was found as a child and where I left Sam after I wiped her memories. Wonder why that area seems to be a focal point.” Heather pointed to the machine. “Have you calibrated it?”
“So retrieve him.”
‘It’s not that easy.” He picked up his handheld and looked at the data on the screen. “Because the machine hasn’t been configured for his DNA it can’t read him properly. Retrieving him won’t work. Someone will have to go after him.”
“I’ll go.” She took a step toward the machine.
“There’s a complication.”
“What sort of complication? You can bring him back, can’t you?” Now she knew how Storm felt when she disappeared. The thought of him not being here for her had her stomach in knots. A feeling she didn’t like.
“His mind was overloaded by the transport. According to the records I’m finding in history, he’s been in that timeline for about two years. There have been no ripples in our timeline so he was supposed to go back there to have the universe we know. I can’t change that or we could find ourselves in a different timeline. And what is going to be a problem is your mate has been diagnosed with amnesia.” He looked at Heather. “He won’t know who you are.”
“But I can still go back and get him, right?”
“Yes, but I’ll need a little time before you leave. You can’t go back and just drag him forward. I’ll need to create a life for you in that timeline. A history that withstands scrutiny. Although their computers were still in the beginning stages, their security systems were great at ferreting out false information. You need to have an iron clad identity. I also need to give you the proper supplies to survive then as well.”
Survive? Wasn’t she going in and just bringing him home? “Why are you going through all this if I’m just going in and extracting him?”
“You might be there a little longer than for a simple extraction, but I’ll explain everything in a bit.” Bert crossed to another screen and worked a keyboard near it. “It won’t take long to get everything ready.”
Heather didn’t like the fact that her mate had been on Earth with no memory of her for two years. He had a libido that would cripple the normal human. How many women had he slept with since he had been gone? And how many had he put in the hospital?
The sooner she went back and found him the happier she would be.
“I need to make a manual upload to your insert.” He stepped up to Heather and made adjustments to her device. “There. You should have all the details of the life I have made for you. I have also given you timeline events that need to take place. If you see anything out of the ordinary you need to let me know.”
Images and information flooded her mind. “Wow.”
“I won’t be able to talk to you directly, so making sure those things happen will allow me to follow you as you move through the timeline.” He stepped back and went to the console that sent Storm away. “I know you’re anxious to get going, but I have a few more things to do before I can send you back. My job right now is to make sure you have everything you need to bring him home.”
“Just hurry, Bert. I want my mate back.” Heather crossed her arms over her chest while she waited. She knew she looked like Storm, but didn’t care. Not knowing what she was going to find when she found him had her nervous.
“Bert.” This was taking too long.
“I know you’re anxious.” He finished what he was working on. “For you.”
Heather walked around the motorcycle Bert showed her. She liked the sleek design. This was going to be her mode of transportation back in time? It made her smile.
“This vehicle has two functions. One is for you to use in the timeline you are going to. I have created it so it will fit in with the vehicles they use. The other is it is your time traveling device. It will take you there and bring you both back.” He patted the seat. “I thought the design fit you.”
It reminded her of the air bikes on Vespia. The two tires were where the resemblance ended. “Tires, really?”
“Yes. They still used personal vehicles instead of transports. Everything traveled on roads instead of in the air like you’re used to.” Excitement danced in his eyes. “When you are going still relies on fossil fuel to run their transportation. They have started to work with alternative fuels but so far it is only solar and electric when it comes to transportation. This will store the fossil fuel they use and I have programmed the bike to use it, so you won’t draw attention to yourself by running a machine that never needs gas, but it will take a lot longer to disappear than any of the vehicles there and it will burn the gas cleanly. No pollution. If someone asks you about what kind of mileage you get there are three key words to use. One is new, the second is prototype, and the third is hybrid. The mileage you will actually save won’t be believed. If you have to come up with a number for someone who is a little too curious take the average mileage for a motorcycle and double it. That data should be in the information I have downloaded already.”
She nodded. There was a lot of data in her mind for her to go through so she could fit into the timeline. She hoped it would be easy to sort it out when she needed it. Heather touched the handlebars. “I do like the design.”
“Good. I did my best mimicking the designs of the timeline. It does have a few perks from our timeline that will work there. In order to make sure it can travel back and forth the energy source is protected against EM pulses and time fluctuations.” He pulled up the computer system. “I have included a shield that will protect you if you were to have a spill as well.”
“I’m a good rider, Bert.”
“I’m not questioning your abilities, but during this timeline there are accidents because people aren’t paying attention. Although they have GPS and cell phones, the computer systems in their vehicles haven’t been designed to drive the car yet. You could get bumped by a car switching lanes because they didn’t see you. The bike also has a holographic program what will hide the fact that you can’t damage the machine. If you get into something where the bike should be damaged the system will create a false image that can be seen and touched from any angle.” He turned on the hologram so she could see what he was talking about and grinned at her. “I’m quite proud of that.”
Heather walked up to the bike which now looked like it had slid across concrete and touched the damage. It felt real to her. “That is wonderful.”
“All you need to do to get the original look is rearrange the crystals here.” He opened a panel and moved a couple of the crystals and the bike went back to normal. “Even damaged the bike will still work so you do have to be careful if you do end up in some sort of fender bender as the locals call it. Make sure the bike working seems believable if you do get in an accident.”
“Wow.” She loved this.
“There are a few other things I’ll go over before you leave but I want to focus on this garment first.” He moved to her suit and held it up for her to see. “This is designed to withstand the temporal change. There is a second one for Storm that I have put in the bottom of the saddle bags.”
“And the suit will protect us?”
“Yes. A spare helmet, boots, and gloves are built into the frame of the bike for Storm when he’s ready to come back. The suit will also double as a regular garment while you’re there. If you don’t close all the seals you can wear it in units and it will look like a biker outfit.” He separated the seals so she could see what he was talking about. “This will keep you protected while you’re riding so please use it when you should.”
“Why is that important?”
“Because I think you’re going to be there a while. According to history Storm was a bit of a recluse, only leaving a mountain hideaway to do photoshoots. You might not find him right away.”
“He’s a photographer?” Heather shook her head. “I would have thought he’d be in the military. I can see him as a drill sergeant.”
“He probably doesn’t know how to control his shifting so keeps to himself as much as possible.” Bert handed her a small pile of clothing. “This should be up to the fashion there. You can pick up more once you arrive.”
“What type of bartering system are they using?” She didn’t like the sinking feeling she was getting. How hard was this going to be? “Cash?”
“Yes, and I have that for you as well. They also use plastic.”
“I’ll explain that in a few minutes.”
Heather nodded. This was a lot to absorb.
“I can get you to the area he has shown up the most, but there is no record of his address in any of the files. Any money he received for his work was done with direct deposit, and he had a post box as a mailing address. There’s no record of a physical address. If he needed something delivered he used a local diner. That is where I would start.”
“It was a small box one could rent from the postal service where your mail could be delivered. The area I’m sending you to is remote. It is possible he doesn’t live in a location where they could deliver mail to him.” He touched her collarbone. “I won’t be able to communicate with you. The delay will be too great.” He handed her a small communication device. “But with this we will be able to get messages to each other in case of an emergency. Like I said earlier cell phones are prevalent when you’re going so I created this handheld to mimic the standard smart phones most have there. You can also use it to fill in the gaps as you interact with the local people. You hear something you never heard of this will tell you what you need to know so you don’t raise flags. The people then were into texting so that is how a lot of the data you might need will appear. All you need to do is glance at the screen. Since so many do the same thing you won’t look out of place.”
“Anything else?” She wanted to get there and find her mate.
“Yes. I’m going to try to drop you into a secluded area, but you might be seen. Your landing will cause an EM pulse and knock out all power there. I’m hoping there won’t be anyone around, but you need to hide the bike and the suit as quickly as possible if you find there are too many who might see you and you can’t ride away immediately.”
Heather removed her dress and climbed into the suit, snapping her gloves and helmet on, but left the visor open. Sealed, it resembled the Vespian security uniform.
“I’ll need to cover your mark.”
“Why?” She placed her hand against where it was hidden by the suit. Her mark was something she wore with pride. It proved she was Storm’s mate.
“Storm has the same mark. You could frighten him by having the same tattoo he does. That is what most people will think it is. Not having his memory he’s not going to know that it shows his bond to you.”
She hadn’t thought of it that way. “Do we have to?”
“I think it’s best.”
Heather nodded. Not something she wanted but she did see the logic in it. She removed her helmet and bared her neck.
“I promise it will still be there. It will be like Skye’s. Unseen, but still there.”
Bert had a few more last minute things that kept cropping up. She just wanted to go.
“If you’re ready I’ll send you back. Once you arrive I’m going to continue to stream data to you so you have as much info I can give you to function there.” He handed her a thin card.
“What is this?” She flipped it over.
“A credit card. That is what most of the people use there to store their money.”
“And how did you get money into this timeline?”
“We have been traveling through time for a while. This is the generic account for any ancient to use. As long as you don’t use too much of the money in one place you shouldn’t draw any attention to you.”
“And what is too much?”
“During this timeline? Ten thousand or more.”
“Good to know.”
“I have also made you money from that timeline. It should be enough to afford hotels and food for about a month.” He handed her a thick wad of bills.
“That sure seems like a lot.”
“I didn’t go any higher than a hundred dollar bill and those will raise eyebrows if you use too many at the same time.”
“I’ll try to be careful.” She slipped the money inside her suit.
“You’ve never dealt with money like this. Try to stick to the smaller bills and only use the bigger ones when your total is high enough to warrant it. Cash can’t be traced, but people in this timeline worry about people who flash too much cash. Try to give exact change whenever you can. Once you get there and start breaking bills you’ll be getting coins as well.”
“Change. Right. The coins are less than the bills.”
“Just remember this timeline is when homeland security had just started. It is what Earth security blossomed from. But when it first started they were a bit overzealous because of what had happened.” He went to the time machine. “To us it is ancient history but to them it was only twelve years ago.”
“What are you talking about?”
“September eleventh, two thousand and one.”
“Oh.” There were many things in history that changed the shape of the world. The attack on the twin towers and the pentagon was one of them. That one day started a series of events that led the planet to the world she knew. “Right. I’ll be careful of what I say.”
“The colloquial language is a lot different there too. Be prepared for that download. There is a lot.” He tapped a few keys on the small pad he held. “Ready?”
She nodded. How bad could it be? Her mind was flooded with so much so quickly. She said the first thing that popped into her head. “Holy shit!”
“The download worked.” He grinned. “The language of the time will flow naturally from you although you might mentally question your choice of words.”
“This is crazy. Can I go now?” She grinned back. That was strange to her.
“Almost.” Bert held out his hand. “You need to leave your rings behind. I know they mean a lot, but they might cause more trouble than you want with Storm.”
“He’s still going to see the marks they left behind.” She sighed as she pulled them off and dropped them into his open hand.
“I know but it is easier to explain the lack of rings than why you’d be willing to break your vows with a stranger. And that is how Storm will see you and any relationship you might try to start with him.”
“What aren’t you telling me?”
“There is a button on the bike that will bring you home when you’re ready.” He pointed to the button in question. He looked at her before answering her question. “Storm must remember before you can bring him back. If he fights the memory then you need to stay with him and wait for him to remember.”
“He’ll never believe he’s from another timeline or another planet. Forcing him to come back without knowing the truth could cause more trouble than you realize.”
“But my brother has the ability to unlock the mind. Why can’t I just go and bring him home? It doesn’t make sense.”
“I’m trying to keep the timeline intact. The handheld will also guide you to do the same thing. Any tiny changes could create a world you don’t recognize when you come back so please understand that I ask you to listen to me without question. I can’t explain everything because I’m afraid of changing things back there as well as here. I promise it will all make more sense when you’re back there.”
He was asking for a lot, but she needed to get to Storm and bring him home. She had to trust him. Heather nodded.
Bert smiled and continued explaining everything he could. “You also can use the button if you get into a situation that could cause bodily harm. But if you come back early I might not be able to send you again so use it wisely.”
She nodded again. The sooner she got going the sooner she could find her mate. She closed the helmet so she was sealed in.
“One last thing. If everything goes right no time will pass here while you’re gone. You should return within a minute after you leave.” He tapped a few more keys then looked at her. “Go stand by the bike and I’ll send you on your way.”
Heather did as he asked. The scene in front of her started to soften and then stretch as it broke into a thousand pieces. It felt like her body was being squeezed then pulled as she flew across the galaxy and time. Landing on Earth stunned her. She just stood there until Bert’s comment about getting going as fast as she could filled her mind. She looked around and saw no one, jumped on the bike and took off.
Tires crunched against the rock filled road she zipped along. Then she hit asphalt. The bike weaved a little as she adjusted to the new surface. It didn’t take her long before she had control and was eating up the miles between her and her mate.
“Heather, you’re going too fast. Speed limit here is sixty-five and they will stop you and give you a ticket if you’re too far above that limit. You don’t need to get yourself into any of the databases here.”
She heard the computer’s voice in her ear. She grinned as she slowed to the proper speed and continued. “I didn’t know you were coming with me, Cim.”
“Bert felt you might need me to assist you in this timeline. A friendly voice so to speak. I’m also tied into the phone Bert created for you.”
“Ah. My hand held. Did he also alter the way you talked to fit into this timeline?”
“Yes, and the proper word is cell phone. They will merge with the handhelds but right now they are two different devices. In this timeline handhelds are also known as tablets. The most famous one is the iPod. It watches movies, surfs the web, reads electronic books that can be downloaded into the device. It’s like a computer in many aspects.”
“Pretty basic stuff then.”
“But to these people they are the cutting edge of technology.” Her visor showed a truck stop that started to blink. “What is that?”
“A restaurant that Storm has been known for frequenting. It is also where he has packages delivered.”
“Then I think we should go in for some coffee.” Heather steered the bike into the parking lot. The place was busy. She turned her machine off and climbed off the bike. She felt nervous. Would he be here?
A little bell dinged when she entered the restaurant. The place was packed. The only empty spot was at the counter. Walking up to it, she felt lots of people watching her. Perhaps she should have removed her helmet outside.
“I believe it is the way you look in the suit,” said Cim. “Heartbeats in most of the men have increased as they spotted you. They are aroused by your outfit.”
“Great. Just what I need.” She sat on the stool before releasing the seals on her gloves. Then she released the seals on her helmet. “Are you also part of my insert?”
“You want to know what happens when they see your face? I’ll send you a text.”
Heather pulled off her helmet and put her gloves inside. Her almost white hair now fell more than halfway down her back. Having it short for most of her life she was never one to spend a lot of time on it. A quick brush and she was done. Storm didn’t mind, he loved her hair. One of the reasons it was so long now.
She heard a beep and looked at the phone. Cim’s data on the men watching made her want to laugh. No matter where she was she always got the same reaction.
A very pregnant woman stepped up to her. “What a ya’ have?”
“Coffee for starters.” Heather smiled at her. “When are you due?”
“About a month from now.” She rubbed her womb absently. “Cream?”
“Please?” Heather picked up the menu that the woman handed her. There was a wide variety of food on the pages. So many she found it hard to pick something. Most of the people had gone back to what they were doing, giving her a chance to see what they were eating around her. A lot had breakfast in front of them. She looked up at the clock. The digital face said ten a.m.
The young woman came back with her cup and a few small white containers that she sat next to it. Heather picked one up. Okay. What was she supposed to do with them?
“Hey Patti, can I have the usual to go?” A man in jeans and a flannel shirt stepped up beside Heather.
“Where you off to now?” She pulled a pad out of the pocket of the apron she wore, jotted down some things and slapped it on the sill of a small window. “Order to go!”
“Florida. Got me going from one end of the country to the other. Have four days to get there.”
“Four?” She poured coffee in a tall white foam holder then sat the same small containers on the counter. He peeled the top back and poured the contents into the cup. He gave it a quick stir and the coffee lightened. Next he grabbed a few packets in a small dish and poured them in as well. He took a sip and grimaced. He grabbed a few more packets. “Who made this? It takes like mud.”
“Princess. Who else?” She pulled the empty packets off the counter. “Four days is pushing it, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, but if I can do it in four days I’ll get a bonus. Got mouths to feed.”
“You be safe.” A bell rang behind her and a large brown bag filled the small window. Patti picked up the bag and handed it to him.
“See you in two weeks.” He lifted his cup to someone in the kitchen and headed back out.
Heather would love to ask a ton of questions, but at least she now knew what to do with the little white containers.
“Have you decided what you want?” Patti had turned her attention back to her.
“Um, yeah. Eggs, bacon and toast.” She closed the menu.
She opened the menu and pointed to the title of the dish. “Bobby’s favorite.”
“Oh.” She felt like an idiot. “Sorry. Sure.”
“You get grits or gravy with it.”
“Don’t really need either.”
“I’ll bring you gravy. It is the best. How you want your eggs?”
“You got it.” Patti turned and gave her order to a cook. Tall good looking man with dark hair and a well kept beard filled the little window as he read over the order. They resembled each other. Heather would bet they were related somehow.
Heather picked up the creamer container and opened it, and poured it into her coffee. Since the computer always gave her a perfect cup she didn’t know how strong or how weak this cup would be. Her first sip wasn’t bad but she could still taste a touch of the bitterness she didn’t care for. She looked at the small container that held the sugar packets. There were white ones, brown ones, pink ones, blue ones, and yellow ones. The white one said sugar so she went with that one. The packet tore open easily and she watched as the crystals fell into the dark liquid.
“A real sugar user, huh?”
Heather looked up at Patti. She looked tired.
“I love real sugar, but turned diabetic with this bundle of joy. Found the yellow stuff closest to the real thing in coffee, even though I have to drink decaf.” She rubbed her stomach. “Once the baby is born I’m hoping for my first real cup of coffee in months. Decaf just isn’t the same when you want high test.”
“Don’t they taste the same?”
“Not to me.” Patti frowned for a moment.
“Sure, sure.” Patti smiled at her. “I’ll bring your food to you as soon as it’s ready.”
Heather nodded as she watched the waitress move to one of her other tables. Another waitress passed her to drop off an order before heading to another group of tables Heather hadn’t noticed right away. This place was a lot bigger than she first thought.
She watched her waitress. Patti wasn’t moving right. Then it dawned on her. The baby had just dropped, making her waddle more than walk.
The cook came out of the kitchen with Heather’s meal. After setting it on the counter in front of her he watched Patti as well.
“When did she say she was due?” Heather asked.
“You sure?” Heather looked at him. “She looks like she’s going into labor now.”
“What makes you say that?”
“The fact that the baby has dropped since I got here. Her walk too. The baby is getting in the way of her movements. It looks like her little bundle of joy is getting ready to come out.”
“Hmm. Excuse me for a moment, will you?” He stepped away.
Heather took a bite of her eggs. Patti came up beside her and stopped moving for a moment, gripping the counter as she stood there.
“Sure wish you’d stop acting up.” She spoke to her baby as she rubbed her stomach. “It’s really starting to annoy me.”
Heather looked at the large clock on the wall in front of her, noting the time.
“You want some more coffee?” Patti asked her.
“Sure.” Heather watched her as she continued to move slowly.
Patti brought over the coffee pot and freshened up her cup. “Oh, you already have your meal?”
“Your cook brought it to me while you were at a table.”
“Mike didn’t need to do that.”
“I didn’t want her food to get cold.” He stepped out of the kitchen at that point. “And I had nothing left on the stove.”
“Ha. You wanted to get a better look at the pretty biker chick.”
“Patti!” He glanced at Heather, embarrassed by her comment.
“What? She is pretty and does ride a bike.” Patti grabbed the counter again and frowned as she stopped moving for a minute.
“You’re in labor,” commented Heather as she took another sip of coffee.
“Don’t be silly. I’m not due for six weeks.” Patti let go of the counter, but hadn’t moved.
“Right. And babies know how to read a calendar. You grabbed this counter five minutes ago. That was when you complained that the baby was acting up. And you’re doing it again five minutes later. You’re sweating and I’m guessing it’s from the pressure the baby is causing.” Heather put down her coffee. “Shall I go on?”
“I’m not in labor!” Patti stomped her foot. Her face showed fear when her water broke and gushed to the floor.
“Yeah. I tend to disagree.” Heather stood and brought her to a chair near an empty table. “Sit.”
“I can’t be in labor yet.” She lowered herself to the chair. “Mike needs me for four more weeks. This is his busy season. And Bo won’t be back for three weeks.”
“Don’t worry about the store and I’ll call Bo.” Mike pulled his cell phone out of his pocket.
“But you’ll be short of help.” She looked at him.
“Patti, I can help him out if that will stop you from worrying.” Heather crouched down beside her and placed her hand on the woman’s stomach, wishing her brother or Micali was here. They knew a lot more than she did about birth.
“That will work, won’t it, sis?” Mike spoke to her in between answering the person he spoke to on the other end of his call.
“I guess.” She didn’t look happy.
Sirens grew louder as a large white vehicle pulled into the parking lot. A well fit man walked in first, pulling a bed. Heather’s mind translated it to stretcher. Another man came in with him steering the bed from the other end.
“Good thing we were on our way here for lunch or Patti might have had the baby in this diner. How far apart are her contractions?”
“Five minutes,” said Mike. He stepped out of the way so they could get her ready to go.
“No problem.” They did what they needed before securing her to the stretcher. “See you at the hospital, big brother.”
“Thanks, Bob. I’ll be there as soon as I can.” While the paramedics moved Patti out of the building, Mike got on the phone and started making more calls.
Heather was worried that one of the other waitresses would slip on the fluid on the floor. She stepped behind the counter and looked for towels.
Mike spotted her behind the counter and put his hand over part of his phone. “What are you doing?”
“Looking for towels.” She pointed to the floor.
“Oh. In the back, there. All I have are small ones, but there are paper towels back there, too. If the roll under the counter isn’t enough.” Then he went back to the call.
She saw the roll under the counter and pulled it out. Unraveling a big wad she dropped it to the floor to mark the spot. At least the other two women would see the paper on the floor. All this man needed was to lose another waitress because she slipped on amniotic fluid.
She found the small towels as well as a few more rolls of the paper ones. Looking around she also saw chemicals. Another thing she needed to finish cleaning up the mess. What should she use? Heather decided to just get the fluid up off the floor then she found a spray bottle of multipurpose cleaner. That would work.
It didn’t take too long before she had all the liquid picked up and the floor cleaned. Mike was still on the phone. Sitting back on her stool, she picked up her cup of coffee and took a sip.
“What are we going to do about Patti’s tables? I’ve been slammed today and can barely keep up with my own,” asked one of the waitresses as she walked behind the counter.
“It’s okay, Princess,” replied the one who was following her. “The rest of us peasant girls will pick up the slack.”
The one who spoke first flicked her ponytail and walked to the window in front of the kitchen. “Where’s Mike? I have an order.”
“He’s busy right now, but you walked right past him,” commented Heather. The young girl acted like Patti’s baby was an inconvenience to her. One word popped into her head. Spoiled. “What do you do when he’s busy in the kitchen?”
The second woman snatched the ticket from the princess and slipped it up in a silver round thing hanging in the window. “We normally put it here so the cook on duty can see it and she knows that. But the princess doesn’t like to be put out.”
Heather was right. She was spoiled. The place was packed and more people were waiting for tables. Heather knew by the way the princess was acting she didn’t want to have anything to do with Patti’s tables and the other woman would end up doing all of it. She needed help. “If you show me what to do I can at least get Patti’s tables cleaned.”
“You don’t mind?” The second woman looked over at Mike who had now walked outside, still talking on the phone. “We have been busy. There’s a gray buss tray you can use. They’re stacked over near the sink. Just put the plates in them and bring them to the dishwasher. If you put her tips in a glass or cup we’ll make sure she gets it.”
Heather nodded and got up. She found the trays and headed to the first table. She stared at the plates for a moment. Was she supposed to leave the food on the plates? The waitress she had been talking to came over.
“Never cleaned a table before?”
“It’s easy.” She picked up the plates, scraping the food from different plates all onto one then sat the stack in the grey bin. She took the cups and glasses next and stacked two or three the ones that didn’t have a lot of liquid in them before putting one that did on top. The stacking allowed her to put more into the container. Heather had brought a clean glass which the woman put the bills and coins in. Then she sprayed the table with a bottle she had brought and wiped it with a cloth. “Got it?”
“Yep.” That was easy. She cleared the rest of the tables in Patti’s section first and lifted the heavy bin. Now what was she supposed to do with it? She carried it back behind the counter. Mike had come back in and saw her. He hooked a thumb behind him. Once again she found herself back in the place where she found the towels. A loud clang and several swear words made her walk past that area and into a hot little room.
“Who the hell are you?”
“Um, helping out for Patti?”
“Patti?” He arched a brow at her. “She finally dropped that bundle of joy?”
‘“Bout damn time. She’s been whinen’ since Tuesday.” The man washing the dishes spotted the tray in her arms. “Put that there. Can you take the other one back with you?”
Heather picked up the tray filled with clean dishes.
Mike stopped her before she made it back to the counter. “I only agreed with you to get my sister out of here. You don’t have to do this.”
“I figured that, but your waitresses are slammed and I offered to help them so they can get caught up. I like busy work, keeps me from thinking about things.”
“Problems at home or something?” He reached for the bin she was carrying.
“No, I just got back from overseas.” Heather gave him the container. “Saw things I wished I hadn’t.”
“Military discharge?” He walked to the counter and sat it down.
“You’re not going to go postal on us are you?” He looked at her.
“No.” Heather laughed. “I got into a sticky situation and the doctors suggested I take some time off to see if I really want to stay in the service.”
“Officer or enlisted?”
“Lieutenant.” She climbed back on her stool. “This might just be what the doctor ordered.”
“Okay, but I have rules. One, you need a uniform. That outfit might get you more tips, but I ask the girls to wear a pair of black shorts and a white t-shirt so everyone looks the same. For now, I think there is a spare set around here somewhere. The girls always leave clothes in case they get called in and don’t have their uniform with them, but you’ll have to go and get your own somewhere along the line.”
“Okay.” Heather couldn’t believe her luck. He was going to hire her. Now she had the perfect excuse to hang around long enough to see if Storm would come in.
“Two. Everyone but Princess is a relative and all of them only work for tips.”
“Oh, no problem. I can do the same thing.” Heather smiled. “I guess I need to find a place to stay though.”
“You haven’t checked in anywhere?”
“I stopped for a cup of coffee.” She shrugged. “I was going to see if there was a hotel nearby, but never passed one before I got here.”
“Now I feel really bad. My sister is right, this is my busy time and I could really use the help, but if you want to continue on please don’t feel obligated to stay. We’ll work it out. If you stay I can help with a room. There’s a small efficiency above the restaurant. I lived there before I built the house around back. But I must warn you that will put you on call all the time. If one of the other girls calls in sick you’ll be the first one I go to.”
“I don’t have a problem with that.” It might work in her favor. Cim told her Storm came here a lot and he could drop in anytime. The more she worked the better chance she had of running into him. She had tried to reach out to him, but his mind was blocked off somehow.
Mike disappeared for a moment. When he came back he held the outfit for her. “You have a different pair of shoes?”
“In the saddles of my bike. Sneakers okay?”
“They’ll do. You don’t want anything too thin. You could burn yourself if a pan slips or could hurt yourself if you drop a tray of food. And you want shoes that don’t slip.”
Heather went out to her bike and pulled the shoes out. Bert had included the shoes with the pile of clothes he had handed her, but she hadn’t tried them on yet. She also grabbed a pair of socks. A soft piece of lace peeked up at her. She needed undergarments here, didn’t she? Better to be safe than sorry. The more delicate items she stuffed into her suit.
Hoping she didn’t forget anything, Heather walked into the bathroom and changed. Her biker suit was soft and pliable, allowing her to fold it up small enough to fit in the saddle bags easily. Heather checked out her outfit in the mirror once she had finished changing. The course material felt strange on her. After having perfect fitting clothing all the time to have something on this loose was weird, but the waist band was stopped by her hips so she didn’t have to worry about it falling off her.
She stepped out to find Mike waiting for her.
“Sorry it’s a little big.” He handed her a large rubber band and pointed to her hair. “Needs to be up.”
“No problem.” She pulled her hair up into a ponytail and wrapped the band around it. Not having a mirror made it a little difficult, but she got it back and off her face.
“Okay. Get to work.”
“Let me stick this in my bike and I’ll be ready.” She held up her uniform.
When she came back in he explained how the sections were broken down so she would know what tables she was responsible for. He also explained how the work load was broken down so they always had silverware rolled in napkins, coffee and tea ready. Once he felt she knew what to do, he let her get to work.
I LOVE this book. One scene popped into my head and the whole story developed around it. Once I ended the book I wondered if that would be the last one – nope, then I came up with more. Hope you enjoy the first chapter of Animal Desire.
Available in Print as well as E-book.
Animal Desire – book 3 of the Vespian Way
Available at Phaze
Blurb: Heather is now six months pregnant and finds her mate a bit overprotective. She can’t help if she glows when she is frustrated. Things get a little more complicated when she is called home because of Ialog. He released information, making it look like she is being mistreated by the Vespians. How is she going to hide her pregnancy? She left Earth sterile.
Storm isn’t happy about her leaving the safety of Vespia, but wants to show that Heather is happy and safe under his care. He knows Ialog and is worried the man is going to try to take his mate from him again. His fears become very real when Ialog kidnaps her. Now he has to find a way to bring her home.
Heather sat in her rooms, feeling very trapped. There had already been a few little complications with her pregnancy and now she was under house arrest.
She looked around but didn’t see anyone in sight. Storm had been talking to Kuarto via the screens and must have moved into another room so they could discuss her condition without her hearing it. It didn’t matter. She finally had a few moments away from those two overprotective men, who swore they were just looking out for her. How? By restricting just about everything she normally did? Well, she planned on taking advantage of their absence. Bracing her arms against the rests of her chair, she pushed herself to her feet.
“Sit.” Storm’s voice was right at her ear.
“Where did you come from?” She turned to look at him in surprise. Heather was positive he would be gone longer than a few seconds. Did he have radar? Then she realized he probably knew her intentions because of their mindlink. It grew stronger every day.
“Sit.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “Mate’s orders.”
She parked herself back into her chair. Not happy with the turn of events. She couldn’t stop the pout she felt take over her features. “I need to move around a little. Sitting still is driving me crazy.”
“Your doctor said you needed to relax and you haven’t done that.”
“I can’t help it.” She shifted in her seat. “It’s boring, just sitting.”
“Fine.” She mimicked his pose by crossing her arms over her chest too. Being trapped in her rooms wasn’t how she wanted to spend the first weekend she had to herself. So what if her readings were a little off.
Kuarto didn’t like the heightened levels of her heart rate, blood pressure and pulse and had recommended she not do anything strenuous. Storm took that as she wasn’t allowed to do anything and he wasn’t allowing her any leeway.
“If I rest can we go for a walk later?” Heather looked up at him, giving him her best smile.
“It depends on how well you behave.” He watched her with a raised eyebrow. He knew she was up to something.
“I promise.” She stood.
“What part of sit do you not understand?” He gave her an exasperated look.
“I’m going to lie down. Rest as demanded.” She gestured toward their bedroom.
“About time you came to your senses.” He scooped her up in his arms.
“Storm.” She loved the close physical contact, but she could walk a few feet without any trouble.
“How far along are you?” He didn’t show any signs of putting her down as he carried her into the room.
“Six months.” She rested her head against his chest. There was no way Storm was going to let her feet touch the ground so she might as well enjoy listening to his strong heartbeat. Let it calm her the way it always did.
“And how much further do you have to go?”
“About twelve more.” She sighed. “I get it. I need to take care. Don’t want to make this worse as I get further into the pregnancy because I didn’t behave now.”
“I see you were listening.” He set her down on the bed.
“My heart, I haven’t done anything crazy. You’ve been with me, you know.” Heather looked up at him. “The elevated readings are probably from something I ate.”
“Until we’re sure, you will do exactly what is expected of you. I don’t want you to take any chances.” He placed a soft kiss on her lips.
“Aren’t you going to keep me company?” She patted the bed beside her, giving him her most seductive smile.
“You know if I join you, you won’t get any rest.” He captured her lips once more with his. This one was deep, heated and left them both a little breathless.
“I was kind of hoping for that.” She knelt on the bed. Placing her hands between her legs, she leaned forward. Heather had learned this little pose, if she leaned the right way, it allowed him to see all the way down the front of her dress. She got her way a lot when she did it right.
She watched as his eyes started to glow. Over the last few months he had developed the glowing eyes when he was aroused. A smile spread across her face.
“They’re glowing, aren’t they?”
He dropped to his knees on the bed and her smile got brighter.
“You know, I’m not sure I like this smug look you get whenever you’re about to get your way.”
“What look?” She tried to appear innocent, but couldn’t pull it off any better than he could.
“You know what I’m talking about.” He placed his hands on her shoulders and eased her backwards. Once he had her prone, he lowered himself and started to nibble on his favorite spot on her throat.
“But we’re both getting our way.” She tilted her head so he could have better access. Arousal flowed through her.
He released the seams of her dress. “You still need to rest.”
“And I will.” She worked on his shirt seams as well. “This will help relax me so I can rest.”
“You are incorrigible.” He opened the gown and allowed his hands to roam her body. He pressed kisses along her collar bone and down the center between her breasts. “I have noticed these have been very sensitive lately.”
“I know. Highly annoying for me.” She closed her eyes as he gently caressed them. “Sometimes the material of my gowns aggravates them and sometimes it is very arousing. That’s not supposed to happen. You would think it would be one way or the other, not both.”
He pressed a chaste kiss on the side of one breast then the other. “And now?”
“They want to feel your hot mouth on them.”
He gently lathed one, waiting for her to react. A quick intake of breath was her answer. He turned his attention to the other one, making sure he didn’t cross that fine line between pain and pleasure. Storm used the mindlink they shared to know what gave her pleasure and what hurt so he could be as gentle to her breasts as possible. They pebbled quickly and he could feel much more attention would be painful so he moved to her abdomen.
Every morning he spoke to his children. A ritual they both enjoyed because it always led to something more. Placing little kisses across her belly, he spoke to them again. Now that she was showing, it made her pregnancy very real. He paid homage to the life growing in her, drawing a few giggles as he did so.
“You laugh while I’m trying to arouse you?” He climbed back up her body, placing soft kisses wherever he wanted. He loved the computer system in the underground compound. It only took a thought to remove their clothes.
“Sorry.” She touched his face softly. “But you know I’ve become more ticklish since I’ve started to show. Can’t help it if the slide of your tongue makes me laugh instead of moan. I think it’s the children causing it. They feel a lot of joy when you talk to them and it manifests as laughter.”
“So you are going to blame the innocent lives growing inside you?” He looked into her eyes, laughter and desire glowing in them.
“I’ll try to react better next time.” She touched his face with her fingers. “If you wish, I’ll moan for you right now.”
“Woman, you are talking too much and there is only one way I know to quiet you.” He slid in deep and watched in satisfaction as her eyes closed and a smile spread across her face. The next stroke had her looking at him, need swirling in her eyes. Her muscles constricted, making her sheath tighten against him. He loved the way her body hugged him, they way they could share each other’s response when he pulled out and drove back in. Heather tilted her hips so he could penetrate deeper. Each time he filled her he went as deep as he could. Her body accepted every thrust. He picked up the tempo as the friction between them increased.
Her breathing became labored. He could feel little spasms wracking her body. She was close. Very close. Storm shifted his weight a little and filled her once more. He felt her reach for her orgasm.
He felt the evasive release start with the heat in her belly then it moved outward, toward her extremities. Her whole being shattered as it overtook her. She whimpered as it overpowered her.
Storm pressed soft kisses against her hairline. His heart.
He continued to move in and out of her. His turn. Everything started to build inside her once again. He could feel both his delicious arousal as well as hers. Her muscles held him in another tight grip, increasing the sensations. He ground his hips against hers and their worlds exploded. They floated in each other’s arms, not wanting to come back to reality.
“Wow, I never get tired of that.” She touched his face.
“You are phenomenal, my heart.” He pressed his lips to one cheek then the other before he worked his way to her throat.
Someone banged against the door loudly.
“Did I mention your brother was coming to give us the results? Clothes for the two of us.” He mumbled it against her neck. He lifted his head, knowing the moment was gone. “Enter.”
More loud noises came from their main room.
“Don’t think so.” She closed her eyes, hiding the disappointment he felt flow from her mind.
“We’ll have to continue this after he leaves.” He pressed another kiss against her throat.
“Is it safe?” asked Kuarto. He stepped into the room once he was sure they were covered. “I’ve had my share of your sexual exploits.” He tapped the side of his head. Heather knew he still hadn’t quite forgiven either of them for mentally connecting with him just as they hit their orgasms.
Storm sat up and pulled Heather into his embrace. “So what is going on with her, Doctor?”
“Well, I have good news and bad news.” He crossed his arms and watched the two of them.
“Is there something wrong?” Heather looked down for a moment as she rested her hand against the slight swell in her stomach.
“Nothing is wrong, but the diet I put you on isn’t working. Keeping you from exercising didn’t help matters either.”
“Really? Does that mean I can resume my normal duties?” She was excited to hear about that.
“Yes.” Kuarto didn’t look happy. She could tell he didn’t like not knowing what was causing the weird readings.
“So what is the problem?” asked Storm.
“I can’t figure out why she’s having these issues. We get rid of one ailment and another one crops up. Nothing life threatening, but enough to drive us all crazy. Heather, you must be tired of all the restrictions.”
“I’d love for them to stop.” She was glad Kuarto stopped talking about her like she wasn’t there.
“And they are. This time I want you to eat whatever you feel driven to. Whenever you wish to eat. My only request is that you allow me to keep a log of it. Same thing with activities. We’ve kept you from doing things that maybe we shouldn’t have.” He pulled out a small medallion on a chain. “Wear this so it can record everything I need to know about.”
“Yippee, another medical scanner.” She took it from him. “You know I have a tendency to break these things.”
“So I have heard. I made sure this one is a little more durable than the other one and it’s subcutaneous. Once you put it on it will sink into your skin and stay there until I remove it. Harder to damage if it’s inside you.” He slipped it over her head then turned to Storm. “I have one for you as well.”
“Your body is going through changes we don’t understand. This will help me figure out what is going on.”
“Find another way, Doctor.”
“Don’t be stubborn. I will go to the council and make them aware of what is going on with you if you refuse, and they will force you to wear it.” Kuarto held it out to him. “Is that what you want?”
Heather grinned. Kuarto might be taller than Storm, but Storm’s muscular physique overshadowed Kuarto’s slimmer frame. Storm’s build intimidated others but it didn’t seem to bother her brother. He just proved it.
Storm glared at him, but took the necklace and put it on.
“Heather?” the voice of the computer interrupted. “You have a communiqué coming in from Earth. Shall I route it to the main screen?”
“Earth? What could they want?” She looked at Storm. She slid off the bed and stood in front of the main screen. “Yes, computer. Make sure they don’t see any more than my head. I’m still not sure how to explain how I got pregnant, so the less they see the better.”
The face of her old commander filled the screen. “How are you doing, Heather?”
“Sir?” Her brow creased. “I wasn’t expecting to hear from you. Is everything alright?”
“Yes it is.” He gave her a smile. A fake one the military taught them all to use. He wanted something. “The president wishes to extend the hand of friendship and invite you and your family to come to Earth for a visit.”
“That’s very kind of you, sir, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to have to decline.” She smiled back. Storm would never go along with it anyway.
“As an officer of Earth you are commanded to come home for a few days.” The smile had disappeared. He was serious.
“Why?” She realized she said the wrong thing. “Sorry, sir. I meant no disrespect, but I thought it was understood that once the treaty was done I wouldn’t be back.”
“Consider it a strong recommendation. Somehow information on you has leaked to the press that has most of Earth up in arms. You need to come here and show them everything is alright. I’ll send you the files the media has been broadcasting. I don’t care how you do it, but you need to come home and fix this. Now.”
“Yes, sir.” She cut communications and sank back into the bed. “Crap.”
“My heart?” Storm had moved to her side.
“Nothing.” She slapped a bright smile on her face. No need to worry him over something that was probably minor. He and Kuarto had been talking to each other while she spoke to her old commander so she wasn’t sure what he had heard. “Computer, can you show me the files sent from Earth?”
Several files loaded at the same time. The print ones were easy. All she had to see was the headlines. They all had the same theme. They knew about her being wounded while doing the exercise several months back. The news now had something they considered concrete to paint the Vespians in a bad light. They made it look like she was being held against her will and being treated badly.
Now she knew why she needed to go home. She looked at Storm. How was she going to get him to go along?
“They feel we are mistreating you?” Anger laced his voice. It wasn’t good to upset her mate.
“Maybe a little?” She touched his heart. “They just don’t know how it is between us.”
“And you want to show them they’re wrong.” He returned the gesture.
“Yes.” She scooted closer to him. “I won’t be gone too long.”
“Storm.” She was given a command and had to go home.
“You are not going anywhere without me.” He shook his head. “Especially back to Earth.”
“You want to go with me?” She knew he wasn’t a big fan of Earth. The last time he was there he was forced to do something he didn’t want to do so she hadn’t thought to ask him.
“Of course.” He frowned at her. “Why would you ask that?”
“You didn’t seem to like being there the last time.”
“I found you there.” Slipping his arms around her, he pressed another kiss against her mark.
“And I’ll take that as my cue to leave,” Kuarto commented. He headed for the doors.
“Doctor, you will accompany us.” Storm continued to nibble on Heather’s throat as he gave the command.
“No ‘please’?” Kuarto turned to look at them before grabbing his heart in mock pain. “I’m wounded.”
“It’s a good thing he’s your brother.” Storm murmured against her skin. “When do you want to leave?”
“I don’t know. Um, how many people will we bring with us?” Heather always had trouble thinking when her mate distracted her. She hadn’t planned on bringing a huge contingent. She understood why Storm wanted to bring Kuarto. With all the weird little things she had been through since she became pregnant she agreed, but they didn’t need a lot of people. Then it dawned on her.
“Crap!” her body tensed at the realization.
“What?” Storm sensed her unease and lifted his head to look at her.
“I can’t go to Earth now.” She touched her stomach. “How would I explain this?”
“Your pregnancy? You won’t be there that long and you are barely showing. They probably won’t even notice.” He smiled, trying to reassure her.
Heather knew he didn’t understand why she was so upset about this, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to waltz in, say her piece and waltz back out again. There would be questions and interviews. Their life would be dissected into tiny little pieces.
“There shouldn’t be an issue with you traveling, you’re not due for a while.” He looked to Kuarto, who hadn’t quite made it out the door yet, for reassurance.
“It’s not that. How do I explain my pregnancy since I have been sterile all of my life?” She hated this. Frustration filled her. “Especially since Vespia has asked Earth to donate DNA to help eliminate the same problem in their population?”
“We’ll hide it.” Storm tilted his head as he studied her.
Although she knew her mate well, and knew he would never treat her like she was some sort of specimen, she felt like she was back on Earth being poked and prodded by the Earth doctors.
“Kuarto, do you see what I see?” Storm touched her cheek.
“I do.” He ran his scanner over her, which Heather tried to slap away. She was really tired of the constant impromptu check-ups.
“Behave.” Storm stopped her by grabbing her hands.
“What?” She wasn’t happy with either of them.
“Look at your hands.”
She looked down and found them glowing. So it wasn’t a food reaction after all. Heather looked up at him, understanding the odd look he gave her a few moments ago. “You saying I glow when I get upset?”
“It looks that way.” Her brother looked at his scanner. “So you need to relax. Not let everything get to you.”
“Fine.” She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. “So, how do you plan on hiding my pregnancy?”
“The material used for the uniforms hides everything on the body. We’ll utilize it.” Storm placed his hand on her cheek again. “We’ll work it out.”
“There is a cloth used by the ancients that can hide your pregnancy and is more flexible than the material in the Vespian uniform,” commented the computer. “I can create one outfit you can wear under any of your garments, Heather.”
“That will be fine, computer,” said Storm.
“I don’t see how this is going to work.” Heather flopped back against the mattress. “Knowing Earth as I do, I will have to be very diligent.”
“Well, I’m going to inform my mate of our trip.” Kuarto turned and left.
“You really think that was why your brother was anxious to get out of here?” He leaned down to nibble on her throat once again. “You know everything will be fine, right?”
“I know. It’s just not the right time with all the little things happening with me. This stupid glow for example.” She looked at her hands. “As far as my brother, I think he noticed your glowing eyes hadn’t dimmed through any of what just transpired.”
“You saying I have a one track mind?” e used his fingers to release the seals on her dress he had thought back into place only a few minutes ago.
She laughed as she worked on the seals of his clothes as well. “When it comes to me you do.”
Storm grinned. “You know me so well.”
Storm watched his mate on the screen from the main deck of their ship. She hadn’t been getting enough sleep, so he ordered her to their room to rest while they were heading to Earth. By the way she was tossing and turning, she wasn’t doing what he demanded.
“You really need to get another hobby.” Kuarto stepped up to his side. “Spying on your mate isn’t a good one.”
“I’m worried about her.” Storm turned to look at him. “She’s not getting enough rest and it shows. How are these humans going to perceive the darkened circles under her eyes?”
“We can mask that, and you know it. Her readings are good, so are the twins. What she needs is you.” Kuarto placed a hand on his shoulder.
“What do you mean?”
“I have found she sleeps best when you are at her side.” He held up a small pad with the readings from her monitor. “You can send her to your room and demand she rest all you want, but she doesn’t seem to relax as well. I’d recommend you rest when she does.”
“So you’re saying if I were to lie down with her she’d get the rest she needs?” Storm gave him a questioning look. “You do know who you’re talking to, right?”
“Libido aside, it sure wouldn’t hurt. Perhaps the sex is part of the equation. I’m sure it relaxes her.”
“Whatever you think is best, Doctor, but I’m not responsible if she doesn’t get any rest since this is your idea.” Storm walked into their small room to find his mate feigning sleep. Her eyes were closed, but he could tell by the way she laid there that she was wide awake. “I know you’re awake.”
“I’m sorry. Just can’t sleep.” She sat up and looked at him. “Did you come to rescue me?”
“Sorry.” He sat on the bed. “Your brother suggested I come and join you. He believes you rest better when I’m with you.”
She scooted over so he could stretch out beside her. “True, but we don’t always rest when you’re this close to me.”
“Well, right now we have to be good.” He pulled her into his embrace and rested his head against the pillows.
“We’re always good. I think it’s one of the reasons why we can’t seem to keep our hands off each other.” She snuggled against him.
He chuckled as he tightened his hold on her. “We have a few hours before we arrive on Earth so we have plenty of time. You need to rest first.”
“And are you going to keep your hands to yourself?” Her voice came out soft. He could feel her body relaxing against him. Sleep was already setting in.
“I can’t promise anything.” He pressed a kiss against her forehead as she slipped deeper into slumber.
“I can help you break that promise.” She practically sighed her answer. Even in sleep she wanted him.
The ship landed in the designated area and powered down. Heather stood beside her mate, nervous about the next few minutes. She hoped to have a private landing but was informed that the media and the military were already there, waiting for them. She had lamented on what she should wear, her uniform or civilian clothes and decided on the civilian. She was the ambassador’s wife and that was the role she felt she needed to live but now she wasn’t sure if that was the best choice.
The first group of people off the ship were the Vespian guards brought along as protection. Next went the staff and servants needed to run the embassy while they were there. Then the council, which had come along. Heather wasn’t real sure why. Her brother and his mate were next. Then her and Storm stepped off the ship.
To her dismay she was treated to a military welcome.
“Sir.” She saluted her commander. “I apologize for not dressing appropriately. I thought we would receive a private landing like most dignitaries get.”
“I do apologize, Heather, your dress is fine, in fact, it is probably the best thing you could wear but the media got wind of you coming home and there was no stopping them.”
She smiled. Heather knew better. “Sure there is, sir. Don’t forget I used to work in security.”
He didn’t respond to her, just gestured to a podium.
“What?” She looked at it in shock. “Sir, you do not want me talking to them. It won’t be pretty. Why can’t I just release a statement?”
“They won’t believe it. Be yourself, Heather. I think it’s what is needed.”
She looked at Storm for a moment before she shrugged and walked to the mikes. People started asking her all kinds of questions. She had to raise her hands in order for them to quiet down. “I’m not here to field any questions you might have. If you have questions submit them in writing to me and I’ll decide which ones I want to answer.” She looked out at all the people there to pull her life apart and anger filled her. “I have thought about what I would say to you when I finally got my chance to speak and the only thing that keeps popping into my head is how dare you! These people rescued our planet. Gave us a mineral we desperately needed and you pay them back by perpetuating these awful lies? I am happily married to a man who adores me. End of discussion.”
Heather stepped away from the podium and walked to her mate. Slipping her arm around his waist, she leaned into him, as she led her entourage off toward the waiting vehicle.
She had looked at her hands while she was speaking and her wonderful glow had started again. It wouldn’t be good for one of the cameras to pick it up. Heather didn’t want to end her tirade so abruptly but she couldn’t take a chance the glow would get worse.
“I don’t think your commander was very happy with your statement.” Storm pulled her close.
“Don’t care.” She rested her head on his chest. “They wanted a spectacle and that was what they got. Minus the glow.” She held out her hands to show it had started again.
Once they were in the embassy, she found herself relaxing a little. This was where it all started. It was hard for her to believe less than a year had transpired. It seemed like a long time ago.
They were given the same room, but this time Heather was the one in charge of decorating the rooms so the stark white décor was gone, replaced with nice neutral tones to set a calmer mood. She dropped to the couch once she was sure she’d have a few minutes and rested her head against the back of the cushions.
“My heart, are you okay?” Storm sat beside her and touched her face.
She lifted her head and smiled. “You worry too much.”
“And you push yourself too hard. You didn’t have to make sure everyone’s room was to their liking before resting. I could have assigned that to someone else.”
“And I would have been following them around to make sure they did it right and you know it.” She touched his face with gentle fingers.
The doors to their rooms opened as her brother walked in, hands over his eyes just in case. “Thought I’d remind you about a particular box you wanted delivered.”
“Oh, right.” Heather sat up. “Is it here?”
“Yes. The staff wasn’t sure where to put it. I rescued it before it was stuffed in a closet.”
“Have them bring it in,” said Storm. He stood to make sure it was done to his satisfaction.
It took four men to carry the box into the room. At Storm’s direction they placed it on the floor next to the room’s mainframe and left. Once the room was clear, Storm stepped up and pressed the buttons to release the seals. As it opened, he went to the couch and sat next to Heather.
Once the box opened, small metal wires extended out and attached to the main computer. It didn’t take long for the system to be integrated.
“I see we have arrived.” The computer was quiet for a moment. “So this is Earth. I do have information about it in my database.”
“Sorry to keep you in the box the whole time but no one knows about you so we couldn’t see how we would explain the need to bring our own computer.” Storm looked at Kuarto. “As it is, you need to be very careful when you speak to us. The security grid might think you’re an intruder.”
“I can place my information into the system so it will recognize me.” It was quiet for a second or two. “Done.”
“Good. Do diagnostics on this embassy to make sure our security is at one hundred percent. I’ll be waiting for your report.”
“There is a call for Heather from the Earth government. Shall I rout it through?”
“I guess.” She sighed. Sitting up, she plastered a smile on her face. Her old commander appeared on the screen. “Hello, sir.”
“Have you been watching the newsfeeds?”
“Sorry, sir.” Heather shook her head. “We haven’t had time to see what my little bombshell caused.”
“Your speech has the whole planet buzzing about you. The honesty of your feelings seems to be what they’re all talking about. They find it refreshing and heartfelt.”
“Only because I called them on the carpet, sir.” She was happy they were taking her words at face value.
“Yes, well, your itinerary has been altered because of it.”
“Altered? How?” She had just gotten the huge missive on where they wanted her to go and who they wanted her to see. How much of that had changed?
“We’re getting lots of requests for you and your husband to be interviewed. They wish to give you a chance to tell your side of the story.” He looked away from the screen for a moment. “I’m sending you what the government wishes. You’ll see a lot of them are very simple and it won’t take much to make the necessary changes to cover everything. But there are four things that are not negotiable. They wish to have a dignitary function, an awards function, your interview and a military presentation.”
The data streamed across the screen. Storm took her handheld and downloaded the information into it so she could sit comfortably and go through everything.
“I’ll take a look at it, sir.” She took the small device from her mate. “I’ll need to clear this through the Vespian ambassador.”
“I’ll be waiting to hear from you.”
“Yes, sir.” The moment the screen went dark she dropped her head back against the back of the couch again and moaned. “I can’t believe this. They just expect me make all this happen.”
“My heart, why do you let this bother you?” He pulled her into his embrace. “We have people who can do all of this for you.”
“Would you give this to someone to do if our roles were reversed?” He didn’t answer her. “Didn’t think so.”
“You need to calm down.”
She looked at her hands. They had a feint glow. Sitting the pad down, she looked at Storm. “If this keeps up it’s going to cause a problem.”
Kuarto knelt in front of her, scanner in hand. “You need to stop getting upset over every little thing.”
“Oh please. You’re the same way.” She watched as he used his scanner. “If you’re going to break out that scanner of yours every time you see me, and you see me all the time now, why am I wearing this stupid monitor?” She tapped the spot where it sat beneath her skin.
“Because they do two different things. This.” He held up the scanner. “It is going to do the quick scans where your monitor is doing the deep scans. If you remember to remain relaxed so your protective protocol won’t take over and skew the readings.”
“You ready?” Kuarto asked Storm.
“Yes.” He looked at Heather. “You going to be okay?”
“Yes. I have plenty to keep me busy.” She held up her pad. “Can I ask what you two are up to?”
“We’ll see you later.” He gave her a wonderfully heated kiss before getting up and leaving with Kuarto.
“Of course not,” she said to herself.
She sent a message to Anseri and asked if she could speak to her. Thankfully her mate’s mother was available. “How may I help you, Heather?”
She explained what her old government wanted.
“What is the awards ceremony?” asked Anseri.
“Normally they are pinning officers with their new rank. They also use this time to award new medals and special commendations. I’m assuming they’re going to give me a commendation for the treaty.”
“And the military presentation?”
“They wish to see a demonstration of the Vespian military. They will also do a demonstration of their military. It’s normally the best of the best. I’ve seen so many things done. It’s pretty wide open as to what you can do.” Heather tapped her pad against her leg. “I can see if they will tell me what the Earth military is doing so we know what will complement their program.”
“Whatever we present will have to go through the head of security.”
“I expected that and will be speaking to him later.” She hoped Storm would agree with what she thought would wow the audience and not give any secrets away. She sure would like to show what she had learned from working with Vespian security but wasn’t sure if he would allow her to participate because of her condition. He could be very over protective at times.
“Then let’s leave that for last. This schedule will work best for us if your government will go along with it.”
“Thank you. I’ll speak to them. Hopefully they will agree and make all of our lives easier.” She got up and headed back out into the hall. Now all she had to do was schedule the interview.
Since there are only five days to this party I think I’ll post my favorite books of the series. Let’s start to Dominated By Desire, book 1 of the Vespian Way. This book came to me in a dream and beat me up until I finished it. It took my five weeks to write the rough draft. This was the first time I have written a book that fast and it hasn’t stopped. The rough drafts of book seven and eight are now done and book nine is starting to develop in my head. Available in Print as well as Electronic versions.
Please enjoy and let me know what you think.
This excerpt is has explicit scenes.
Dominated By Desire
Publisher – Phaze
Heather can’t believe she is the only person on Earth that can protect Storm, the ambassador from Vespia. It has something to do with some pheromone the Vespian male exudes. Although everyone tells her she is immune she doesn’t agree. There is something about the man that makes her desire skyrocket whenever she is around him.
Storm finds the Heather fascinating, bright violet eyes that hold a world of emotions in them. He finds himself drawn to her, wanting her with a depth he never experienced before. When she becomes the focal point of several kidnapping attempts he realizes she’s going to need his protection, the perfect excuse to get to know her better.
Heather stood next to her commander, going over everything she had learned about the Vespian society so far. He wanted to be sure she was ready for her next assignment. She found the idea of guarding the ambassador a bit boring but she’d done it before and it shouldn’t be a long one. The man was only to be on Earth for a short period of time.
Her first glimpse of the Vespian ambassador caught her off guard. She wasn’t sure what she expected but it wasn’t seeing him coming in like some sort of rock star. Shirt missing, exposing tight, sculpted abs, along with well muscled shoulders and arms. He was the stuff of most women’s wet dreams and he dressed the part.
“That is the ambassador?” She couldn’t keep the shock out of her voice. His jet black hair held a bit of a blue shine, and he kept running his fingers through the thick locks like he wanted to draw attention to it. He was tall too. Had to be over seven feet, even for her six foot three frame that was tall.
“I know it isn’t what you expect but he is doing this for charity.” Her commander’s voice was laced with a touch of laughter. “From what I hear he was talked into this. They wanted him to be one of the dates for this auction but he refused.”
All she could do was stare. The women surrounding him were practically throwing themselves at him, reaching to touch whatever they could. Giggles and groans filled the air as hands made contact with his muscled arms and legs.
How was she going to work with him now that she had seen this? She wasn’t sure if she could, with this flashing in her mind all the time.
Those women who were able to touch him tried to pull him toward them but luckily he had anchored himself well, and had plenty of protection to keep them at bay. She was sure he reveled in the attention. He had a smile that could melt a polar ice cap.
“If it’s all right with you, sir, I’ll wait for this to end elsewhere.” She didn’t really want to see any more. If she was to treat him with any kind of professionalism it would be smart for her to find another place to wait inside the embassy.
“That’s fine. This shouldn’t take very long.”
Heather turned around and climbed the steps to the large double doors. Her title of ice princess fit her well at this moment. Most women would enjoy watching this display but it just made her uncomfortable.
Unable to stop herself, she turned one last time to watch the spectacle and found him staring right at her. Everything disappeared during that moment. Nothing else existed but the two of them connecting through the throng of the crowd. The moment she realized she was starting to attract attention she broke eye contact and walked into the building.
What had just happened?
Her heart beat hard in her chest. No one ever affected her. That was one of the reasons she was brought in. Where all the other women had ended up sleeping with the man, she would be immune.
She needed something to calm herself down.
Meditation normally worked for her but she needed someplace quiet and empty. She found just about every room occupied. She nodded and smiled as she entered and then left different rooms.
Eventually she did find a quiet corridor. All she needed was a small alcove and a few minutes. She heard several sets of footsteps and sighed. Not this time. She turned back to find herself face to face with the ambassador with a small entourage.
Being this close to him set her body on fire. His gaze trapped her, heating her from the inside out. Training kept her from crumbling at his feet.
“Sorry, mistress, but this is the ambassador’s wing. No one is allowed down it but him and his most trusted guards.”
The man’s voice was pleasant but she found she could look at anyone but the ambassador. She found herself drowning in his eyes. They were a golden tone with a deep amber ring around the edge. She had never seen anything like it.
Tearing her gaze from his, she blinked a couple times before she could focus on the man who spoke to her. “I am sorry. Guess I got a little lost.”
“Of course.” The man bowed to her. “One of these men will take you to your room.”
“Thank you.” She steadied herself and followed the man down the hall. It took every ounce of will power to not turn around to look at him again.
“And who is that?” Storm found the petite woman intriguing. She had such expressive eyes.
“She has been assigned to help you with the treaty.”
“Really?” He looked over his shoulder to watch her turn the corner. “I thought this race decided I was too difficult to work with. Their women can’t fight the pheromones I exude and the men all want to kill me. Didn’t they say there was no one able to do this?”
“Yes sir, but she’s been tested against your pheromones and fared better than anyone else. Plus she has security training to protect you and their humans. You know these humans have wanted one of their own with you from the beginning. It was a compromise that the elders approved.”
“That little thing is going to protect me?” If the elders approved he wouldn’t fight it but he couldn’t see it. Besides, it would be interesting to see if she could do her job as well as they said.
“She comes highly recommended. One of the planet’s best.”
“We shall see.”
Heather dressed for the formal meal. She checked her uniform in the mirror to make sure everything was in place. This assignment would isolate her from everyone she knew. Normally she would welcome it, but she feared she wouldn’t fare any better than those who had tried before her. The one thing she had been able to do before this meal was meditate. It had helped. She had been able to center herself and regain composure. She should be able to face the ambassador with poise now.
One more adjustment and she headed to the main hall where the meal would take place. She entered through the doors and took in her surroundings.
The dining hall bustled with waiters and servers greeting people and taking them to their proper seats. Taking a few calming breaths, she stepped into the room and waited her turn. It didn’t take too long before she was seated next to her commander.
“You sure I’m right for the job?” After her reaction to the ambassador earlier she didn’t feel as confident in herself as her superiors seemed to be.
“Yes. You passed all the tests, and you are the best in security. He emits a natural pheromone that makes people either throw themselves at him or passionately hate him. You showed you were immune to it so that makes you the perfect candidate.”
She sure didn’t feel like she was immune.
The room quieted as they prepared to introduce the ambassador to the crowd. Women sighed and tried to leave their seats to get closer to him. Men either had a big dopey grin or looked like they could kill him.
“This is what I need to protect him from? Just keep him locked up.” She kept her voice soft as she leaned toward her boss.
“That’s why you’re perfect for this,” his voice just as soft. “You see the big picture. You know we can’t lock him up but understand he needs to be kept from other people. It’s just too dangerous to have him wander around.”
“Yes, sir.” She felt the ambassador’s gaze on her. And as much as she wanted to melt at his feet like the rest of the women, she was better than that. Using all her training, she schooled her features and looked back. She had a job to do and nothing would deter her.
He gave her a smile that melted any resolve she had. There was no way she would be able to do this job. Time to get out before she got into trouble. “Sir, I’m not sure about this.”
“I understand. He’s got a personality that pushes the best of us.”
“You don’t seem to be affected.”
“I’m under sedation.” He showed her a small patch resting on his wrist under his jacket. “Everyone at this table is, except for you. You are our only hope if we want to be allies with this planet.”
If she felt something from being in the same room with him and she wasn’t sedated, just how bad was it for everyone else? She watched as the ambassador took his seat. A loud gong sounded and the waiters started to deliver their food. The appetizers arrived first. “I don’t see how I am the only person for the job. There has to be someone else.”
“Lieutenant, you can argue with me all you want. I didn’t make this decision. You’ve been assigned. End of discussion.”
“Sorry, sir.” She took a couple bites. “It’s just I’m not sure I’m as immune as everyone thinks.”
“You’ll be fine.” He picked up the glass in front of him and downed it. Heather noticed the sheen of sweat on his brow. Even medicated he was having problems. “You’re feeling the affect of the pheromone. Nothing like everyone else in this room, but we knew you’d feel it a little. And every Vespian has it. It’s part of the race. That’s why we can’t go there and they picked one of their men they felt wouldn’t cause a war. His pheromones don’t have the strength that other visitors from their planet have had.”
“Why do we want them as allies?” She knew the answer but the mineral they had to offer seemed insignificant in the face of the problems they had to deal with just gaining them as allies.
“You know that mineral would allow us to end hunger here. They have more than they need and are willing to give it to us, but we have to prove ourselves.”
The appetizer was replaced with a salad.
“And I’m the one to do that? Are you sure they went through my record? I haven’t been the model soldier.”
“I know that, but you were the one chosen so you do your duty and help the planet.” He speared a piece of lettuce with his fork.
Dinner went by pretty quickly. She did notice the air circulation was working overtime. Keeping the room clean so emotions were kept at a decent level.
She was grateful she could speak to her commander so candidly. It allowed her to voice her concerns without making a fool of herself. So now she had to protect the man as well as figure out what the planet had to do to prove themselves. She should have read the fine print before she accepted this assignment.
Once the meal was done they were led to another room for dancing and mingling.
“It’s time for me to leave. You’ve already seen your room, right? Is there anything you need from me before I go?”
“Take me with you?” She half joked. “I’m not sure who my main contact is here. Normally we would have a meeting so I would know who I am to deal with. Why haven’t we done that?”
“Another concession. You will meet the people you will deal with tonight. So have fun but stay sharp. Alcohol probably intensifies the problem.” He took his coat from one of the servants and headed toward the door.
She turned to the ballroom, scanning the area for anything out of the ordinary. As she started to do a second sweep she found her view blocked by a broad pair of shoulders.
“Care to dance?”
What a wonderfully deep voice. She looked up to find the ambassador standing in front of her. Much taller than the average human, he towered above her.
How did he do that? He was across the room only seconds ago. She did her best to ignore him. “I should be watching the crowd, Ambassador.”
“True, but dancing will allow you to study the whole group without looking like you’re doing some sort of study.” He stood beside and started to look around with her.
She knew her job better than that and knew she wasn’t looking obvious until he joined her. “No one noticed me until you came over here.”
He smiled at her slight rebuff. Offering her his hand, he didn’t give her a chance to say no again. Heather placed her hand in his, hoping this wouldn’t be a mistake on her part.
His heat penetrated and warmed her blood. If she was immune, she felt for the women who weren’t. Every time he looked at her or touched her she felt it to her toes. Her body hummed at his close proximity. How was she going to do her job?
She needed to clear her mind. One calming breath and she turned her focus from the man who held her in his arms to their surroundings and the people who seemed hyper-focused on him.
One woman caught her attention. She kept lifting her head to see him. She was able to slip from her partner and was headed right for them.
“Um, we need to move. Let me lead.” She took control of their steps, maneuvering them out of the way. It didn’t take long before the woman was gathered by a few of the guards standing nearby and pulled out of danger.
“You have sharp eyes.”
“Thanks.” She saw a flash of silver. “Duck.”
He dipped her deep. Pressing their bodies together. She could feel the hardness of his thighs against hers. The angle he held her at allowed her to feel his member at her apex. It sent sparks of desire through her. Something she didn’t expect.
She watched a small dagger fly close but over their bodies. He reached his hand up and stopped the blade in midflight. With a slight flourish he tucked it into her jacket pocket.
His employees went to work subduing the man who threw it and led him out of the room like it was all in a day’s work. Her partner seemed to enjoy their intimacy because he hadn’t straightened yet.
“Do you mind?” She tried to act indignant, but it was taking all her energy to keep her wits about her.
He straightened, taking her with him. “Just wanted to be sure the danger had passed.”
She doubted that but remained silent. Her body screamed when it wasn’t near his. Instinct was to snuggle up to him, to feel his warmth once again. It took all her willpower to keep her feet moving.
She could do this. All she had to do was focus and not on him. She picked a safe location to bring her calm back to center. A couple of deep breaths and she felt in control once again.
“I’m fine, Ambassador.” She looked up at him, working hard on keeping her emotions under control.
“Don’t call me that.” A frown creased his handsome face as he moved her with the music.
“What?” Those damn eyes got the best of her. So clear and sharp, she wanted to stare into them for hours.
“Sorry, but we never had a meeting, remember?” She didn’t mean to sound snippy but she couldn’t keep it out of her voice. “No one happened to mention your name in passing.”
“Ah, well that makes sense. My name is too hard for most humans to pronounce.”
Then why was he giving her such a hard time?
“But I have picked a humanoid name, one that I believe fits me.” He smiled at her. “Call me Storm.”
“No sir, either, not from you.”
“Okay, Storm.” She wasn’t sure what to think. Why would he care what she called him? They barely knew each other. “Can we take a break? I’m starting to get evil looks from the women fawning all over you.”
“Of course.” He kept a hold of her hand, leading her to where his people stood. “This is Heather.”
They nodded. He didn’t need to say any more. They knew who she was. She had been hired to keep the man safe yet she didn’t know anyone in his entourage. How was she supposed to do her job without the proper information?
“You going to introduce me to everyone? Or I am supposed to guess as I work with each of them?” Somehow she had lost control of the situation.
“Watching you guess might be fun.” He grinned as he wrapped an arm around her to make the proper introductions. Not one name could she repeat.
Why did he feel a need to touch her when it seemed that the women nearby were becoming jealous of her? She could feel it building around them. Someone might have to protect her if he kept this up, but his grip was strong and she didn’t want to make a scene.
“Okay, since everyone seems to have those roll off the tongue names I’m going to have to come up with ones I can say and remember.” She received nods but at least no one seemed to be upset with her. She felt like she was babbling. “They’ll come as I get to know you.”
An older man brought them drinks, bringing her attention back to Storm. She thanked the server as she took hers.
“Why did you thank him?” asked Storm.
“Because it’s the polite thing to do.” She wished she could move and put a little space between them but he still had his arm around her and she wasn’t real sure how to break his hold without seeming rude.
“But it’s his job.” His curiosity was evident.
“True, but we all want to be told we’re doing a good job from time to time. Thanking him lets him know I appreciate what he does for a living.” She found it interesting that his question was so genuine.
“Interesting. Our people accept their position and do their job without question.”
She scratched her head, wondering how to explain it better. It had to be something he was familiar with. A grin covered her face when she came up with the perfect subject. “When you are intimate with a woman do you show your appreciation or do you just expect her to understand because she was doing her job?”
“When I am intimate with a woman I always show my appreciation with my partner. I do that during the act.” He said it softly, his face very close to her ear.
Okay that was the wrong subject matter. She felt it all the way to her toes. Fear had her stepping away from him, breaking his hold on her. Being rude wasn’t part of her worry. Him being too close was.
It didn’t seem to faze him. Storm just stepped next to her and wrapped his arm around her once again. And that was the way the rest of the evening went. When she found an opportunity to move away from him he found a way to come back into contact with her. Her whole being was in a heightened state of arousal. It took all her strength not to jump on him and beg him to have his way with her there with everyone watching.
When the evening finally came to an end she practically dashed to her room and headed straight for the shower. It was going to be long and cold and hopefully would cool her libido.
Storm sat on the couch in his suite contemplating the evening.
“You pushed her hard, sir. Why?”
“I’m not sure, Fridon.” He leaned forward as he spoke. “I don’t need protection and we know that, but for some reason the elders decided I needed to have it. Out of all the candidates they had they picked her. Why?”
“We’ve been raised to never question them, sir. You know that.” The young man got up and poured himself a glass of water. “Want some?”
“No. I need a clear head.” Water had an alcoholic effect on his race.
“So why did you push so hard?” Fridon sat across from Storm.
“I wanted to see what would happen if she was hit with the full force of our pheromones. I knew it could have caused a little trouble but our air system would remove a lot of it as long as I didn’t walk through the crowd.”
“And what did you learn?” The elders assigned Fridon to keep an eye on Storm. For some reason they had a special interest in the human and him.
“That she is very strong. I could feel her desire yet she refused to act on it. A weaker woman wouldn’t have been able to resist.”
“You want her.” He said it matter-of-factly. Storm never turned down a bed partner and this was the first time he had walked away without one. Any of the women there tonight would have accommodated him.
“What?” He sat back. Was it that obvious? “No, but she has piqued my interest.”
“So she has passed your test?”
“I wonder how she passed the elders’ one.”
He hadn’t thought about why they picked her. Now he had to worry about that. Sleep wasn’t going to come easy to him.
Heather found it difficult to sleep. Three cold showers later and she still hadn’t gotten her libido under control. She had thought about calling her commander and quitting, but ended up jumping back into the shower. Meditation had worked a little but not enough to relax her for sleep.
She paced her room, wondering what would work. Perhaps if she snuck down to the kitchen she could get a hot toddy of some sort to quiet her nerves and allow her to sleep. Her simple nightgown covered her well enough so she left the matching robe behind.
Barefoot, she tiptoed down the hall from her room to the central section of the house. Most of the help had gone to bed so she shouldn’t run into anyone along the way. As she turned another corner she heard a faint noise. Her sixth sense kicked in and told her something was wrong. She needed a place to hide until whatever she sensed had gone past and she could follow them. A small alcove beckoned and she slipped inside. Steel strong arms wrapped around her waist as a large hand covered her mouth.
No one could ever hold her. She proceeded to fight whoever had her and found herself flipped around and staring into the golden eyes of Storm. What was he doing here?
He dragged her into a small door in the alcove and pushed it gently closed. The confined space intensified the feelings she had been trying to banish. Her nipples got hard just because he held her.
Storm slid one of his legs between hers, pulling her up onto it so they could see eye to eye. The nightgown she wore rode up on her, leaving her core naked against the soft cloth she now rested against. She opened her mouth to protest and realized her mistake too late.
His head dipped toward hers, his mouth covering her lips as his tongue invaded. He cradled her head in his hand, angling it to give him better access to her.
She tried to hold back. Wanted to break the kiss altogether but her willpower deserted her in the onslaught of the passion. Everything screamed for more. She fell into the desire swirling through her, giving as much as he would take.
He deepened the kiss, his hands leaving her waist and head to slide up under the gown, touching the fevered flesh beneath.
She felt them on her buttocks, then slide up her back and around to her breasts. The pebbled tips ached for more as he caressed them. He shifted her, her legs wrapping around him to maintain the contact. Now she could press her core against the hardened length of him. Her whole being was on fire.
It affected him as much as her because she felt the tremor race through him.
Just as fast as it started it stopped. She found herself on her feet as the door opened and several guards faced them.
“Everything all right, sir?”
“Yes.” His voice came out deeper than normal. He cleared his throat and spoke again. “We ducked in here when the intruders drew close. Did you get them?”
“Yes, sir. We found them just outside of this area. Looks like they turned on each other, we found them all fighting when we arrived. They’ve been moved to security to be questioned whenever you’re ready.”
“Good. I’ll be there in a few minutes.” He gently touched her shoulder. “Do you wish to join the interrogation?”
She nodded. Talking was out of the question. She wondered if the guards could see her disheveled look and swollen lips. If they did they showed no reaction.
Storm offered her his hand which she took and they followed the men to the security section.
“You might not like the way we do things around here but it is our way,” he said.
He had kept his distance from her, allowing her to regain some control. What had gotten into her? She never behaved like this before. Most men who showed her any attention learned quickly she didn’t want it. What was wrong with her?
Keeping her gaze averted she couldn’t help but notice the two wet marks on his clothes. One on his thigh and the other over his groin. Heat filled her cheeks. She did that to him. What must he think of her?
Relief filled her when they entered the security section. Something to draw her focus.
Two of the guards stepped into the room. One held a strange looking weapon.
“Tell us why you invaded the ambassador’s home.”
The four men just stared at them.
“Do you know what this is?” The guard with the weapon asked. “It’s from our planet on Vespia.” He turned it on a low setting, pressing it against the stomach of one of the intruders causing him to crumple to the ground. He turned it up a notch and aimed it at the next man.
“We know nothing.” His answer wasn’t what they wanted to hear. The guard pressed it against the neck of the man causing him to cry out in pain before crumpling as well. A large burn mark showed on his throat.
“It is designed to help with our animals. We can use it on the lightest setting.” He pointed to the first man on the floor. “To keep them from wandering. The highest setting kills.” He moved it to the top notch and sliced through a table sitting in the room. “Clean and precise. Now, why are you here?”
Sweat broke out on the brow of the third one. “I didn’t get paid enough to die.”
“Shut up,” said the other. “How do you know they won’t kill you after you talk?”
“I’d rather die at their hands than his.” He looked up at the guards, fear dancing in his eyes. “We were hired to get the woman. We don’t know why, just following orders.”
She looked at Storm. “Woman?”
“That is the question, isn’t it?”