Eva has met her match, but though he is older than she is, he will not be physically mature for sixteen years. Their solution is to put her in stasis. She would have gone mad, but her connection to her match keeps her sane, even if he is way too short for her. When she wakes, her best friend is holding her and with his help, she will soon be back to her normal activities. If only she didn’t have the almost constant urge to peel his clothing off, she would be fine. Giving into her lust is fun, but preparing for his ascension isn’t. As much as she is enjoying romps in the sheets, shower, sofa, chairs, she has no urge to engage in a public consummation of their affection.
Eva Morris checked her reflection one more time before she turned to leave her rooms. Every hair was in place and the folds of her gown were immaculate.
Her hands shook slightly as she finished verifying her appearance. Today was of paramount importance to her future and she wanted everything to go perfectly.
When she opened the door to the hall, the honour guard was standing there waiting to take her to her fiancé. The guards did not even look at her, intent on their surroundings and delivering her safely. She was free to analyze their features, she sighed mentally, confessing to herself that she wanted to stroke that golden skin. Golaz were a very lovely people. She recognized the race even though details were not available for her to check in any of the Alliance databases. They were a mystery.
Her stint in the diplomatic service was going to be of use to anyone that was chosen as her match and she had long ago given up plans to find the man or creature of her dreams out here in space. Her conversation with the Terran Representative and fifth Champion, Amy Tyrell, echoed in her mind.
"I am going to make the best deal I can for you, Eva, but you have to know that there is already a bidding war for your genetic contribution. You may not get the best looking, but I will negotiate for the best match."
With Amy's history as a Negotiator as a resounding endorsement of her talents, Eva had simply waited, her time spent as a translator for etiquette and social visits. She lived on Nycal station and she was always busy assisting travellers with their communication requirements.
Now, she finally had the request she was waiting for. A wedding proposal that would grant her property rights on Golaz as well as the children she wanted to have. If only she could stomach the male they had selected for her, everything would be fine.
No. She had to push those thoughts out of her mind. Amy would never have entertained an offer from someone that Eva couldn't learn to love. She took a deep breath and concentrated on holding her head high as she walked in the protection of the honour guard.
They stopped in front of a door in the VIP wing of the station. A complicated access code opened the door and she stepped into the audience room of the Golaz royal family.
Uh oh. There were two males in royal garb in the room. One was so old as to be almost living jerky and the other looked to be about twelve.
Suddenly, Eva had the urge to strangle Her Royal Highness, Empress Amanda of the Haldis Imperium.
"Translator Eva Morris? I am Storoth Elengar, Prince to the Golaz throne." The short blonde stood and gave her a formal bow, then reached forward to raise her hand to his lips for a kiss.
"Uh. Aren't you a little young?"
The elder on the other side of the table snorted. "I told him the same thing, but he insisted that if you were his perfect mate. No other would do."
"I am not as young as my appearance would have you believe. In the research I have done on your species, I realize that my looks will lead you to assume I am much younger than yourself. In truth, I am half a decade older. The Golaz mature slowly."
That would make him thirty-two. She felt slightly less queasy. "I still don't see the point to all of this."
"Please sit. I have a proposal to make to you."
She took her seat. "What's on your mind, squirt?"
His dark gold eyebrows rose over eyes that were a fascinating shade of amber. His skin was the same rich gold as his guards, but the scowl that he gave her was all immature male.
"That is an inappropriate way to address me."
"I know. I am checking your temper." She sat up straight and tried to make her face take on an attentive look. "You have a proposal?"
He stood and began pacing with his hands behind his back, an earnest look on his features. "You are here because this is the last resort and I cannot risk not having a mate when I reach maturity."
"Why not one of your own species?"
"There were two matches made for me at birth and both women have been assassinated. No other of my race who is available is a suitable match. You are the next best thing."
"Not really. In lieu of my own kind, we found a Class Zero of a suitable race. Terrans. You seem to be rather easy to manipulate genetically and as a Class Zero, you will allow our offspring to have the greatest amount of Golaz genes in action. It is imperative to keep our transformation talent in the royal line."
This was news to her. "Transformation?"
"I will demonstrate, Your Highness." The elder stood and blurred in place. The spot where he stood was no longer occupied by a man, but a lion. Though even in this new form, he was a senior, the power in his stride was unmistakable. She smiled as he turned, winked and then shifted into his bipedal form once again.
"Thank you, Eslor." Storoth smiled as he took in the expression on her face. "You seem surprised."
"I have heard of the shifters but have never seen an actual shift. Thank you for the demonstration, Eslor, was it?" She nodded to the elder and he grinned and nodded back.
"Enough. This is what I propose. Since you are at your peak reproductive age for your race…"
"And I will not be at my peak for another sixteen years, we have arranged cryo-stasis for you until we match up."
His pre-adolescent smirk was justified she supposed. "Are you dense? Your medical reports indicate that you seem to be in good health…perhaps your species does not age as well as we had hoped."
"Very funny, squirt. I suppose I have to agree to this?" Her mind whirled as she imagined all of the things she would have to do, all the calls she would have to make to let her people know that she was coming back in under two decades.
"Not particularly. Your government has agreed and you really have no choice in the matter. I am sorry."
The elder had moved faster than her eye could track and the hiss of a hypospray indicated that she had been dosed.
"They have the facility to start your stasis here, Eva." Storoth's face was in front of her as she buckled and fell to the carpet.
"I will get even, squirt." She felt his hands holding her head gently as blackness overtook her. "Sixteen years and I will kick your…"