When Jen’Na is forced to be the designated driver for her step-sister’s bachelorette party, she’s got no idea, she’s about to get hijacked off a space station and meet a man who can open a whole new world to her.
Coleverus Fis Tulden is still reeling from the loss of his wife and son when his planet was destroyed during the last Great War. The plan for his people is easy – they have to repopulate their faltering numbers with all haste. They’ll pull out every weapon in their sexual arsenal to gain a new mate.
Legends never die, only the species that make them.
Ten years after the end of the Last Great War
“Tallorian vessel, state your destination.”
“Thank you, Space Station 6-231-6.” Jen’Na quickly relayed her coordinates through the com-link while she gripped the steering controls of her mother’s Class V Cruiser. “Destination: Navorain bar and lounge, Prest Mareaux,” she said when the docking guard came over the small transponder she wore. After a moment of hearing bleeps ricochet off the bones in her inner ear, she delivered to him her space license number and the call letters on the Class V. This is the problem with multicultural space ports. They always want every last bit of info.
A jolt rocked through the Class V when she slowed. Personally hating the twenty-passenger interstellar vessel’s power coupling, she blocked out the noise rising from the sixteen women situated behind her. A little help might be nice.
Then again, maybe not, she thought when her step-sister, Ab’Ry’s, maid-of-honor gave out a bark of inebriated laughter. Several bridesmaids joined in on the good natured ribbing of what was Ab’Ry’s supposed last night of freedom. What they were actually doing was getting their digs in on Jen’Na. It wasn’t easy being an earthling living on Talloria Seven.
“Everybody okay back there?” Jen’Na asked when she heard a body thump against the floor. They were so drunk off their feet that not even the powerful alcohol metabolizer, Synthecol, was able to keep up with their binging. I should have told Mom I had to work.
It wouldn’t have gotten her off the hook of being the designated driver for the bachelorette party, but she might have been able to niggle a little more sympathy from her mother and stepfather. The worst part came when Ab’Ry announced the number of party-goers which stuck her with having to borrow her mother’s rust bucket instead of her sleek Astral-Glider.
The ship lurched slightly to starboard when the tricky nacelle sputtered. A flaring light beam swept the cabin. Probes.
Another jolt from the starboard nacelle had her silently praying the tractor beam would catch hold before the warp drive stalled—again.
“Tallorian vessel, engage docking controls, and thank you for visiting Space Station 6-231-6. We hope you enjoy your visit.”
Jen’Na felt the golden beam grab the cruiser’s nose. She pushed in the controls and relaxed into the captain’s chair. A relieved sigh broke from her throat. Reaching up, she pulled the transponder from its spot and quelled the urge to toss it on the flat console.
This is crazy. I should have gone to Rent-a-Rocket instead of trusting Mom’s ride.
Tilting her head to listen to the drive, she thanked the Goddess A’Vor when the nacelle recovered from the build-up of exhaust. She gritted her teeth as the tractor beam delivered the Class V a severe course correction. “Come on, old girl, just hold together long enough to get us home.” Her fingers clenched the armrest of the captain’s chair.
“Nice job with the engine,” Jen’Na heard Ab’Ry’s future sister-in-law say. For a Tallorian, the tall, green-eyed woman wasn’t half bad. She was as sexually open as all Tallorians, and at times had tried to get Jen’Na to loosen up. Char’Ba didn’t seem to care when Jen’Na couldn’t let go of what Ab’Ry called her antiquated Earth morals. Nope, she invited her to parties and even tried to make her presence at the orgies appear almost normal.
It was a useless endeavor.
Shrugging, she waited for the space dock’s doors to open. “Yeah. I took my test in this thing. You should have seen me trying to merge onto the interstellar spaceway. It wasn’t a pretty sight.” A small smile cracked her lips at the memory but it soon disappeared. That was before her dad had died and her mom had moved them to a planet so different from Earth it wasn’t funny.
Out of her peripheral vision she watched Char’Ba lower herself into the co-pilot’s seat. Curious as to why Ab’Ry requested they finish the night at this out-of-the-way space station, she turned toward Char’Ba. “What’s so special about this bar?”
“The Navorain High Council owns it.”
“Navorains? I thought they’d died out during the Last Great War.”
Instead of getting laughed at which was almost always the norm on Talloria Seven, Char’Ba merely shook her head. “Sorry, that was a dumb question.” Jen’Na said in a rush to cover her flub. It’s not my fault Earth isn’t as advanced as the other inhabited planets. Hell, Earth is lucky if they get a monthly update from the interstellar powers that be.
“It’s okay. The Navorains didn’t lose their planet during the Last Great War but before the conflict began. The Avrains destroyed Navora with a weapon I’ve only heard rumors about.” Char’Ba’s voice dropped to a shadowy whisper. “The T-9 Planet Killer. It’s been said it was the Avrains’ destruction of the planet that fractured the League of Sentient Beings into two partisan sides.”
“They had a weapon that could blow up an entire planet.” Shocked, Jen’Na gaped at Char’Ba. “How sick is that?”
“Yeah, tell me about it. The real issue came when the details were released. Nobody on the planet made it off. Within fifteen ticks the planet’s gravitational field changed. Most of the deaths weren’t caused by the explosion but from being squashed to death.”
“By the Goddess A’vor.” Jen’Na held her fingers to her mouth. “What an awful way to die.” Her heart gave a hard thud in her chest. She turned her gaze to the space dock doors slowly opening. She gripped the console when the tractor beam jerked the Class V forward.
“I’ve heard that since then the remaining Navorains have settled a few colonies, but mostly they open their space bars and get drunk. That’s only a rumor since they continue to stick tight to their isolationist ideology, but by the moons, can you imagine it? Two billion lives snuffed out in fifteen ticks.”
Internally, Jen’Na couldn’t blame them. If she’d heard everything she knew was gone, she’d climb into a bottle too. At least a dozen questions rolled through her head, but she didn’t have time to ask them. The bang of docking clamps gripping the ship and the whirr of the decontamination probes interrupted her train of thought. The bright golden light swished back and forth three times before the ‘okay’ came over the com-link. “They aren’t taking any chances, are they?”
“Can you blame them? We’re lucky that we could get a table for tonight. These bars are booked stellar years in advance.”
Char’Ba’s explanation didn’t make any sense to Jen’Na. Why would people want to visit a bar filled with drunks? Then again, she’d also said it was a rumor.
“There’s one of them.” Char’Ba pointed to a tall, blond-haired man striding into the hanger. “A warrior, too.”
“Let me see,” Ab’Ry cried from her spot in the cabin. She nearly sent Jen’Na head first into the console when she rushed to look out the window. “I am so going to have some of that prime ass. I wonder what size his cock is?”
Before she knew what was happening, Jen’Na was surrounded by the bridal party. Feeling nearly crushed, sickened by the stench of alcohol rolling off them, she elbowed her way out of her seat, through the throng and strolled to the hatch. “Well, you won’t find out gawking like a bunch of horny hens,” she called. The swish of the vacuum-sealed door lifting shouted through the space craft.
Allowing the others to go first, Jen’Na followed at her leisure. She’d gotten them to their last destination safe and sound. Considering how early she had to be up for the wedding ceremony tomorrow, she briefly considered curling up on one of the Class V’s couches and taking a nap.
She’d gained a taste for the heady, hot liquid on Earth and still longed for a good cup every once in a while or when she was running on fumes. Unfortunately Talloria didn’t produce coffee so whenever she was out and about in the galaxy she went on the hunt for it or a facsimile of it. It would be too much to ask that a down-on-their-luck species like the Navorains would have a replicator and carry the entire interplanetary menu.
She’d just walked down the retractable stairs when she spied two men staring at the Class V’s starboard nacelle. Men? They were giants. Well, compared to her they were. Pulling up her bravado, she ignored the gaggle of women standing at the entrance to the bar. Too tired to pay attention to their theatrics, she decided to inquire what the warriors were doing to her mom’s spacecraft. “Can I help you?”
She gulped and took a stumbling step back when the first man in line leveled his brilliant silver glare on her face. Intense sensations rolled through her when he gripped her arm. Understanding his hold on her was meant to keep her from banging into the ice cold skin of the Class V, she audibly swallowed the instantaneous desire sending tripping waves up her feminine walls. This is bad.
“Your power coupling isn’t calibrated,” he finally informed her after a pregnant pause. It was impossible to miss his sexy–as-sin accent, and she had to force herself to breathe. He turned to the other guy and said something in a language she didn’t know. Damn my cheap interstellar translator.
Her heart skipped a beat, maybe two when he leveled his intense stare on her face. “It will be repaired before you leave.”
“That’s not necessary.” It also wasn’t fiscally feasible. Even she could see the entire nacelle needed a major rebuild. There was no way she could come up with that many credits. “Really, just leave it alone.”
A fresh tremble of desire shot through her when he led her away from the Class V. “Hey, where are you taking me?” She didn’t think to fight against him. Hell, she was at a point where she might follow him to the ends of the galaxy.
“Inside.” He escorted her past Ab’Ry’s group and into the club. The only sign he was aware of the women busily pulling out their ID cards was a curt nod in their direction then a pointed stare to the maitre d’. “The tractor beam damaged your nacelle during your approach.”
She opened her mouth to argue but ended up gasping. They stepped through a soft stream of glittering dust and into the most amazing club she’d ever seen. “What on Earth?”
“You aren’t on Earth,” he reminded her.
That was blatantly obvious. Jen’Na couldn’t ever remember being in a place like the Prest Mareaux. Granted, it wasn’t a stretch since she had only been to a few clubs since she came of age. It was posh in a subdued way with rich red velvet upholstered walls, low lighting coming from real candles decorating the table tops and, ah yes, the smell of coffee. In her subconscious mind she heard the subliminal music playing. Talk about technologically advanced. “This is really cool.”
He chuckled at her. “Do you think so?”
“Oh, yeah. I mean, candles with real flame? On a space station? That’s incredible.” At least on most space stations she’d visited open flame was prohibited. Something about the atmospheric crap which she couldn’t wrap her brain around made it out of the question.
“They aren’t there.”
“What?” She almost told him she knew exactly what she was looking at but thought better of pissing off the giant of a man leading her to a corner booth. Casting a glance over her shoulder, she saw they were alone. There wasn’t even a bartender behind the mirrored bar.
A spurt of fear twanged her nerves. “Where are my friends?”
“In another section of the station,” he informed her with a small smile. “Navorains don’t mate with Tallorians. Our genomes aren’t compatible.”
“You mean mingle,” she supplied. Part of her hoped she hadn’t heard him right. Another part wanted him to pick her up and fuck her hard. Heat settled low in her belly and her nipples tightened into hard nubs. Goosebumps erupted on her arms and her breath turned to quick gasps.
What the hell was she thinking? Shaking her head, desperately trying to kick her logical brain into hyperdrive, she licked her dry lips. Her heart blasted in her chest and her gaze followed his muscular body when he walked to the bar. The man was built. Strong. Sexy. She curled her hand into a fist to keep from beckoning him back to the booth. A sigh broke from her throat when he poured two steaming mugs of coffee. Every move he made turned her on. Every action he took brought what might as well have been a fantasy into clarity.
She gazed around the room again and came to the conclusion it was her personal rendition of the perfect bar. “Hologram?”
“There’s a little more to it than mirrors, force fields and computer generated graphics,” he said once he joined her. He set the mugs down on the crisp, white linen that shrouded the table before he sat down next to her. “The sand you walked through on your way into the Prest Mareaux is empathetic.”
“So?” Her lust leapt into the stratosphere when he draped her leg across his thighs. The feel of the leather-clad, rock-hard muscle beneath her skin started a real fire in her core. This was so out of her scope. She wrapped her fingers around the heavy, ceramic mug, needing an anchor in the chaos of the experience.
“It can tell me what you like and how far you will go.”
“That’s incredible, but how is it possible?” She took a tentative sip of her coffee. Oh my God, she thought when his hand wrapped around her calf then started a slow caress up and over her knee. The tingle in her core started to throb. With shaky hands, she set her mug down.
“I’ll explain later.”
Her pulse leaped when he lowered his head and his fingers massaged the twanging muscle of her inner thigh. “What…what…are you doing?”
“Beginning,” he whispered against her lips.
Gripping his shoulders, she melted against him when his lips started to brush over hers. Once. And then again. Minutely surprised such a big man could be so tender, she wriggled her hips, her body instinctively wanting to get closer to his. He tasted of mint and an essence she couldn’t identify. It was a heady flavor.