This book was previously published.
In the heart of the Imperial Stars, past and future collide, as ghosts converge in battle for a fortuneteller’s soul...on Port Destiny Station.
Luxi Emery was perfectly happy with her position as the receptionist for Armored Media Corp. Then her hidden talent for seeing the future awakened--and exposed a blackmailing con-artist haunted by a malevolent ghost. It was a lose-lose situation, and Luxi had only a single shred of hope.
Her future awaits on Port Destiny Station. A future intertwined with Amun, the handsome diplomatic telepath, and Leto, a ghost-haunted cyborg with very human carnal appetites. If they can resolve a few...intimate...details. Yet a darker future chases Luxi: they are not alone, and Leto is not the only hungry ghost.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, mild BDSM elements, menage (m/m/f), and homoerotic sexual situations (m/m).
Luxi smiled as the data from the feed jacked into the base of her skull flowed smoothly through her internal computational array. The upgrade had been well worth the credits. The department’s incoming and outgoing communications data was barely touching her conscious thoughts with not one trace of lag-time.
She turned her face to the tall windows right by her desk and peered out over the city’s vista. Sunlight gleamed on the towers and spires of Uppercity’s business district. Below her, two-man gliders and private sedan cruisers wove around massive freight hovers as they zipped along the traffic-filled airways.
Musing on the different levels of speeding air traffic, she ran her fingers lightly over her hair, making sure that the silver clip was still securely fastened. She didn’t need her rolled and coiled waist-length hair unraveling and getting caught on the data jack. As curly as her hair was, the bright red strands had a nasty habit of wrapping tight around the feed wire. She utterly refused to cut it, not when it was her best feature, so keeping it tightly bound was her only option.
The entry door chimed gently then slid to the side, opening with a soft hiss. A tall businessman stalked in from the outer hallway.
Luxi stared at the tall man filling her tiny receptionist alcove and felt every hair on her body rise. Her throat tightened for no good reason whatsoever. “Welcome to Armored Media Corp.” Her voice came out breathless.
There was something terribly wrong with him.
He didn’t look odd. In fact, he might have been considered handsome. He had strong clean-shaven features, and his shoulder-length sable hair was neatly trimmed. Broad shoulders filled out his simple but sedately expensive fawn overcoat with no sign of the paunch that most Uppercity businessmen carried. The single-button chocolate dress suit he wore under his long coat was also understated, but the super-fine material and the tailored cut reeked of money.
She’d seen lots of businessmen dressed like this and quite a few from off-world that were dressed far more exotically. None of them had ever given her a case of the chills…
He turned to Luxi and smiled. “I’m here to see Gentle-fem Symposia?” He held out his data card.
And every instinct in Luxi’s body screamed that she was in danger.
Luxi took the card very carefully so as not to make actual physical contact with his fingers. She swallowed. “One moment, please.” She swiped it through the desktop scanner then routed his data to Gentle-fem Symposia’s office. His information consisted of a single name, and that was it.
Luxi frowned. He must be some kind of private consultant. She handed the card back.
He turned away and stared at one of the tasteful, but boring prints on the cream wall by the inner door. Luxi was clearly beneath his notice, and that suited her just fine.
Mercy Symposia, Director of the Executables Department of Armored Media, strode briskly into the reception alcove from the inner door. As usual, she appeared conservatively professional with her dark blonde hair in an elegant upsweep, yet sleek in her tailored black suit-dress. Chin up and smiling, she took Vincent’s outstretched hand. “I’m so glad you could see me on such short notice.”
Vincent bowed over Gentle-fem Symposia’s hand then released it. “I found an opening in my schedule that permitted.”
Luxi transferred data while keeping half an eye on the pair. What was it that set her off? Very casually, she stood up to get a better look. She swept her hands down her sleek and less than expensive, but nicely tailored dove-gray business dress. She fiddled with a few folders on the upper ledge of her desk while trying not to look directly at either of them.
Mercy’s smile faded as she spoke with the gentleman. The conversation sounded like any other business discussion, and yet she seemed nervous.
Vincent stood with casual deference and nodded in complete understanding. He spoke in mild and polite tones, but his smile seemed a tad sharp and his eyes… His black eyes…
Luxi focused her quiescent mental talent on what she was feeling, and it awakened within the deeps of her mind. Synchronicities, the lines of coincidence and possibility ruled by the decisions made in the here and now, clarified and stretched outward into bright skeins that created the warp and weft of potential futures. Her attention slid down the threads of prospect, decision, and chance that the unnerving man shared with her boss, seeking the future they would create…
She cringed. This man was a con-artist that preyed on fear. If Gentle-fem Symposia did business with him even once, her boss would never be rid of him.
Luxi turned away. If she said anything to her boss, she would have to tell Gentle-fem Symposia how she knew. She had no doubts that she would be believed. Psi-talents were not unknown. Most people showed some trace of telepathy or telekinetic ability, but strong talents were rare. And her talent was very reliable.
That was the problem.
Exposing the existence of her particular talent would cost Luxi her job. The ability to track potential futures was just too much for any company to deal with. No one wanted to know that someone else was privy to their business decisions before they even made them. It didn’t matter to them that she wouldn’t know if she didn’t actually look. They were all so busy angling for an advantage over the next company; it wouldn’t occur to them that she simply did not care.
But if she didn’t say anything, Luxi would lose her job anyway. The company would not take kindly to Gentle-fem Symposia’s embezzlement to feed this man’s need for cash. The office would be closed for months during the investigation. Mercy would be indentured to the company for life, and her staff disbanded, including the receptionist.
Luxi’s possible futures burned in the back of her mind. No matter what she chose, her future was no longer here in this office. There was nothing she could do to stem the tide. The real decisions were not in her hands. Once that man had entered Mercy’s life, Luxi’s future had been doomed. Keeping silent would not save her.
But Gentle-fem Symposia’s gratitude might.
There was one slim chance that Luxi would not end up living in the under-city slums—but it was slim indeed.
Luxi shut down her holographic display, pulled out her data jack and set the communications switchboard on auto. Damnit, I really liked this job! She took a steadying breath and lifted her chin. “Ms. Symposia, that man cannot be trusted.”
Mercy turned a sharp look Luxi’s way. “Luxi, you have no idea what you’re talking about, he’s a monk.”
A monk? Luxi swallowed but held her supervisor’s gaze steadily. “Gentle-fem Symposia, with all due respect, he’s a blackmailing con-artist.”
Her supervisor frowned. “What?”
The man suddenly focused on Luxi. His black eyes narrowed. “Miss, do you know what you are saying?”
Luxi stared coldly into his eyes. “Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.” Abruptly her small and secondary talent stirred within her. She had no grasp on it or control over it, the talent came and it went as it pleased. It wasn’t particularly useful—all her little talent saw was the threads of the past–- and ghosts.
As she stared into Vincent’s black eyes, her second talent suddenly opened wide and showed her why her skin was crawling.
Vincent was possessed by a second soul. It was staring straight at her from within his eyes with malignant intent. It was very dead and very hungry.
Vincent suddenly smiled. It wasn’t pretty.
Luxi literally felt the ground move under her feet as her future abruptly reshaped itself.