"After seeing the “gray men” and Eric’s beginning romance with one of them through Trev’s eyes in the previous book, and having hoped for Eric’s in the next installment, I was over the moon when I read the blurb for book eight in this amazing series – only to find out it is, indeed, Eric’s story. And what a treat it turned out to be. The cultural difference between humans and the secretive species from Tanarra is huge, and results in many, many misunderstandings between Eric and “Tall Man”, which is what he calls Adlor before the alien finally reveals his name. Adlor is an extremely quiet individual. He and his four brothers serve Yanai (from book seven), as well as feed on his blood. Their symbiotic relationship benefits both species, but nobody else can find out. The gray men are not supposed to tell anyone about their hive culture, never mind taking an outsider as a lover or husband. And yet, Adlor finds himself falling in love with Eric, who inadvertently starts the binding process by kissing Adlor. Adlor Is determined to make him his, but cannot do so officially until they re back on Tanarra and Eric can be introduced to and tested by the hive elders. Adlor is determined to do things right, but that complicates matters. Eric has no idea what he’s let himself in for when he kisses Adlor. To the human it is just a sign of affection, but Eric gradually discovers there are serious consequences. He isn’t opposed to getting to know Adlor better, but no sex for the duration of their trip back to Tanara (which takes nine months) is a bit extreme. Adlor’s secrecy soon gets to Eric, and when he finds out the alien got him pregnant? He loses it. Wanting kids “at some point in the future” and “right now” is not exactly the same thing. Emotions between both men run deep from the very beginning, Even all the hard work of trying to understand each other cannot deter them, and they long for each other even when they fight. Eric isn’t used to keeping secrets from a lover, and Adlor has strong taboos that forbid him to tell Eric anything before they make it to his home planet. Their struggle was fascinating to watch and had me laughing and tied up in anxious knots in turn. What a great cross-cultural love story!" -- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
Adlor stared at the new human as he tended the bandage on his chest. It had been two weeks since the injury and the burn was already beginning to heal, but he let him fuss nonetheless. The attention felt unexpectedly nice.
“You’re growing too fond of him, brother,” Icera said, his voice echoing through Adlor’s mind. “He belongs to the master.”
Adlor knew exactly who Eric belonged to. Unfortunately, he couldn’t help but be aware of the fact. Worse, he could not help but be aware that Eric was painfully human. Gray men did not allow outsiders into their lives, not even the ones they called master. Once they had been hunted because of their parasitic natures, and the unease of close companionship had persisted ever since. Occasionally, another species would carry their offspring, but even then, the gray men only let their child bearers know so much. To feel any level of affection beyond the gratitude they gave to the one who shared blood with them was seen as extraordinarily bizarre.
Adlor had always been weird.
“You have to keep a clean bandage on this,” Eric lectured, pushing his blond hair out of his face as he ran an antiseptic cloth over Adlor’s burn. “You don’t want to get it infected do you?”
“Your hair has grown,” Adlor murmured, unable to resist reaching out and toying with one of the vibrant gold locks. “Should I cut your hair as I do for the master and Trev?”
“Don’t change the subject, tall man,” Eric said, poking him in the chest.
He touched Adlor so casually, so often. It was like he was deliberately teasing him, though Adlor knew that the human’s olfactory senses wouldn’t allow him to smell his arousal. The touch had unsettled the nest at first, leading to conversations on whether Eric staying with their host was a good idea. However, their concerns had been laid to rest when Eric had proved to be just as loyal to the house as Yanai’s Trev was.
Now they were traveling back to Tannaran, their home planet, far away from Earth’s blue skies and hostile atmosphere. It was a decision the gray men had been glad Yanai had made, but now there was little hope to escape the growing arousal Adlor felt for Eric. This ship was only so big, and Eric had a penchant for wanting companionship almost from rise to sleep.
“How are you sleeping, little one?” Adlor asked as Eric went back to his task of securing the bandage. When last they’d spoken, Eric had been complaining of insomnia. For a moment, Adlor marveled over their contrasting fleshes, Eric’s tan and sun-kissed, Adlor’s light gray and marble-like. It was lovely.
Eric smiled at him, revealing his blunt, white teeth. “Much better after you gave me that stuff. Thank you.”
“The medication is a household item. There is no need to thank me.” Despite how good it makes me feel.
“Adlor,” Icera warned.
“Stop hovering, Icera. I’m not going to molest him,” he snapped. Sometimes he hated being part of a nest. The five of them worked as a unit and almost always were on the same frequency. Their psychic connection enabled them to communicate with anyone they had a blood connection to, their Master Yanai included. The closeness kept them from feeling so isolated from the main hive that ran under the Tannaran cities. However, when he wanted to keep his own council, it was infuriating.
“You are dangerously close to doing just that,” Nysol piped up. “If Yanai should find you touching his other human, he would not be pleased.”
“Only because he doesn’t understand our ways.” Adlor was fairly confident that Yanai would allow his courtship if he thought it were mutual. Unfortunately, their Tannara master was under the mistaken impression that gray men were not sexual beings. He was so very wrong. They just didn’t mate or breed within their nest, which was a good thing considering he was related to all four of his nestlings.
“He’s an outsider, Adlor. There is no reason to take him as a companion,” Tursul, the oldest, chimed in. “When we return to Tannaran, go seek the underground and pick out a mate from the hives.”
Adlor wrinkled his nose at the thought. He had no desire to pick one of his own kind and pass on his genetic material just because he felt an ache for a human. For a brief instant he pictured the two of them together, Eric’s skin pressed against his own as he begged Adlor to fill him with seed. He shuddered, arousal permeating the air that much more heavily.
Eric secured the bandage on Adlor’s chest before stroking the unmarred flesh to the left of it. “You’re so sweet to me, tall man.” The nickname was as cute as it was accurate. Adlor was the tallest out of the nest. “I wish you’d tell me your name.”
“We don’t have names,” Adlor lied. They were forbidden to tell outsiders anything about their kind, even their names.
Eric rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah.”
He’d long since learned that meant his human disagreed rather than agreed with him. Knowing Eric, he wouldn’t let it go. “What would you call me, Eric? Give me a name if it so important to you.”
Eric smirked. “Tall Man until you tell me otherwise.”
Adlor felt like purring under Eric’s passion-filled gaze. As small as Eric was, he would have to prepare Eric properly. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt his human.
He sat down amongst the pillows and patted the place next to him. “Come. I want to touch you.”
Eric obeyed him immediately. As he sat down, he reached for Adlor’s prick, wrapping both hands around him. Adlor hissed at the unexpected touch, his head falling back as pleasure swamped him.
World below, his hands. Beautiful hands. He gulped. His kind didn’t explore like this. His kind only touched as much as needed and then satisfied the breeding urge. This was so intimate. At least it felt that way.
He jumped as Eric wrapped his mouth around the tip of his prick. His mind blanked as he struggled to think past the warm, wet pleasure that was assaulting his body. “Eric, that feels—” He groaned, unable to keep the noise in check as Eric did something with his tongue that would have blown the minds of any pleasure planet resident in the system. “World below!”
Eric’s hand slid down his prick and toyed with the muscular appendages at the base, stroking each one in turn. He shuddered, orgasm threatening to swamp him. He clamped hard on the impulse. There was no way he would spill in Eric’s mouth like a newling with his first taste of pleasure. His lower appendages tightened, straining his prick toward Eric’s mouth in an effort to gain a deeper penetration.
The flat top of his tongue stroked the glands on either side of his double slits. “You’re sexy, Adlor.” He looked so smug, so pleased with himself. “I can’t believe you’re letting me do this.”
“Your gratitude is a little overwhelming,” Adlor admitted, burrowing his hands in Eric’s mop of blond hair and guiding his pretty mouth back to his prick.
Eric chuckled. “Want it?”
“Yes,” Adlor growled. He’d never had another’s mouth before.
His intended closed his eyes and went back to his task, lapping the plum head alternately with suckling him as deep as he could. Adlor made noises he was almost certain he’d never made before as he was assaulted by pleasure. He would have to make his lover stop soon. There was no way he could last much longer.
He squeezed the back of Eric’s neck. “Enough, Eric. I wish to be inside you.” He needed to be inside him if he were honest with himself.
Eric popped off his cock with a final lick, his lips swollen from the attention he’d been giving him. He smiled up at him before flopping down on his back and spreading his legs. “I’ve wanted you for so long.”
“Likewise, little one.” Adlor grabbed the lotion and squirted a reasonable amount onto his fingers. He’d educated himself on human anatomy when he’d first been kissed by Eric, but the practice was something he had no experience with.
He pressed his fingers to the tight entrance he found at the apex of his thighs. Eric panted, spreading his thighs wider. Adlor carefully slicked his hole, stretching the muscle with a steadiness that belied his internal impatience and already dripping cock.
“You’re so tight,” Adlor said, worrying that his body wouldn’t fit. “Stroke yourself.”
Eric obeyed, reaching between his spread thighs to grip his dick. He groaned at the action. “Adlor!”
He loved the sound of his name on his lover’s lips. Four of his thick fingers spread his lover wide. It would still be a stretch, but hopefully it wouldn’t be painful for him. Humans were so fragile. Injuries that would take his kind minutes to heal took days or weeks for them.
“I’m ready,” Eric panted. “Come on, Adlor. I’m not a virgin. Fuck me.”
The word “virgin” didn’t translate, but he got the gist. Eric wasn’t fragile and needed, too. Adlor applied a liberal amount to his cock before pulling his fingers free. A slight tremor infused his muscles as he came between his lover’s thighs. He wanted to please Eric.
Eric rhythmically squeezed his nipples between thumb and forefinger while continuing to stare up at Adlor. “Adlor.” It was a plea for mercy.
He tightened his appendages at his base to steady his cock before pressing it to Eric’s tight rosette. Eric caught his bottom lip between his teeth, and an expression of equal pleasure and discomfort lingered on his face.
“We don’t have to do this.” As much as his dick would protest, he would not do something that would harm his human.
“If you stop, I’m going to chop it off,” Eric threatened, leveling a sexy little glare at him. He’d never found a lover threatening him sexy before, but he certainly did right at that second.
He pressed forward, pushing his cock against his lover’s entrance.
“Oh fuck,” Eric gasped, his eyes squeezing shut.
Adlor’s teeth ground together. “Is that a good expression?”
He would’ve chuckled had the ability to breathe still been present for him. His hips jerked forward of their own accord, sinking down several inches. There was no way that he would be able to go all the way to the hilt, but Eric could take most of him.
Sweat trickled down his spine with the effort not to move too quickly. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d broken a sweat. The scent of his lust-filled pheromones filled the air, and Eric gasped. He must’ve been slightly more aware of the scents in the air than Adlor originally given him credit for, even if it was subconscious.
Halfway inside he stilled. Eric squirmed on the end of his cock, rolling his hips to move his body against Adlor. “Ready?”
“Yes!” Eric keened.