When Destiny walked through the doors of a bar on the science station Elmertia works on, she thought all her dreams had come true, until the mysterious man disappeared without a trace. Tormented by that one brief contact, she throws herself into unlocking the secrets of an alien’s nanites until an ultimatum from her employer threatens to destroy not only her dreams, but also her future.
Drawn to the small female he met by chance, Manik searches for a reason to return to her station. When the crew of pirates stumbles across a woman in stasis floating in space who has cranial implants and nanites, the medic has found the perfect reason to return to one of the universe’s most knowledgeable scientists and the female who has been haunting his thoughts.
With time running out on her research, Ellie is shocked by the sudden arrival of her mate and his proposal, but she has more to lose than her life’s work. Being with Manik might cost her everything, including her life.
“Ellie, stop,” he repeated.
His deep voice and the way he said my name caused desire to flare to life inside me.
Strong hands wrapped around my wrists and twisted my arms behind my back. He pulled me up against his hard chest, crushing my softer breasts against him.
Wiggling and twisting, I tried to get away until hard lips pressed against mine, forcing me to stay still. A small noise of shock escaped me as I looked into his eyes. The kiss started off hard, a forceful press of lips that sent more desire coiling through me, making my anger spike. I bit down on his soft full lower lip. A small warning. Not enough to hurt, just enough to tell him I wouldn’t be swayed by his kiss.
He pulled back, my teeth scraping across his lip, and stared down at me. I wanted to hit him again. How dare he think he could just turn up out of the blue and kiss me and everything would be alright. That I’d fall at his feet.
“I see that you’re angry, Ellie.”
Oh, he was smart! He received ten points for his conclusion.
“No, handsome. I’m not angry with you. I’m furious. I’ve waited three hundred and thirty-four cycles for you to come back and you think a kiss is going to make everything all right?”
His gaze roved over my face before coming back to meet mine.
“I don’t expect everything to be fine. I’ve wanted to come back and see you every cycle that’s passed since I had to leave, but I couldn’t. I thought about you every cycle, wondering if you waited for me. Wondering if you’d found someone else.”
He was stripping away some of my anger, but I wasn’t ready to let it go. “Why haven’t you come back until now?”
I stared up into his eyes, waiting for him to answer me. The conclusion Prixy had come up with surfaced in my mind. I waited with my breath caught for his answer.
“I couldn’t come back, Ellie, because it was too dangerous. The risk of being captured was too high.”
Thoughts whirled around in my head, my anger starting to subside at the mystery he presented. “But you’re here now. What made you come back?”
He let go of one of my hands and stroked his warm hand up my arm. Tingles spread out from where he grazed his hand along my bare skin. I barely managed to control the shiver that raced down my spine. Warm fingers stroked up my neck and slid into my hair, his palm cupping my cheek.
“I couldn’t stay away, Ellie. I came back at the first opportunity I had. I’ve been thinking about you and haven’t been able to get one thought out of my mind. Don’t bite me this time.”
His husky words sent heat spreading through me like a wild fire.
His head descended and his warm lips pressed against mine, a soft gentle press, until I started to kiss him back. The tip of his tongue stroked the seam of my lips, encouraging me to open for him, which I did. Closing my eyes, I let myself be swept up in his kiss, my anger eased by his assertion that he’d thought of me so much.
I’d wanted this. I’d thought about what it would be like to kiss him from the minute I’d known he was my mate. From the minute I’d caught his scent in the bar and realised I’d finally found him. All the long years I’d waited, never having more than casual relationships. Always hoping that my mate would find his way to me. Then, he’d disappeared.
The kiss deepened and I relaxed against him, all the fight draining out of me. His tongue stroked mine, exploring my mouth, tasting me as I tasted him back. He was divine, masculine with a hint of sweetness, like he’d just eaten dessert and the flavour lingered in his mouth.
His hands were warm against the bare skin of my wrist and cheek, holding me firmly. He wasn’t hurting me, but I knew if I started to struggle, those strong hands would hold me captive for the full impact of his kiss.
Moaning a little at the soft slide of his tongue against mine, the taste of him in my mouth, the fire he was kindling low in my body, I pressed against him, pushing my aching breasts against his hard chest. He started to pull back. I followed his mouth with my own, rising on tiptoe to keep our lips pressed together to keep the taste of him in my mouth.
He managed to disengage our lips and pressed his forehead against mine, the warm press of his skin against mine sending tingles through me.
His voice was a rough rasp, filled with desire and longing. Opening my eyes, I stared up into the molten heat of his grey ones. A sense of calm washed over me for the first time in more cycles than I could count. He was here, with me, and I wasn’t going to let him escape easily this time.