Captain Vyn Magee, a young pilot caught up in the woes of war as well as his pitiful lack of companionship, has his mind blown--opened to possibilities he never knew existed.
Touched by a native of the world he's visiting on furlough, Vyn explores the irresistible bond to this cute young shape-shifter, and together they struggle with the predicaments this taboo relationship inflames. Yet, as invaders gain the upper hand with a mystifying and devastating weapon, Vyn and his szu-ahni lover, Sza-dre, might just be the catalyst needed to save both races from genocide.
Blue-tinted sunlight streamed through vaulted ceilings, bathing every floor of the complex in a soothing radiance. Shoppers bustled from place to place, from the arcade to the food court, to the trendy stores displaying the latest garb and gear, to the high-tech activity areas. Nowhere else on the planet could someone buy a swimsuit then go next door to swim or surf or sunbathe. If that wasn’t enough, customers could explore virtual worlds or enjoy a wide range of workout facilities and classes. A new section was being built to allow weightless activities.
Yet the busy environments and distractions couldn’t improve Vyn’s mood. A week to spend planetside before returning to patrols and no quality pussy to be found anywhere. Sure, he was slight of build for the current trends of “manly,” and his curly hair, fair skin, and freckles didn’t help his cause. But he was a pilot and combat veteran, damn it!
Most in the service were happily paired by his age, and most of those had children on the way. It was wartime, after all, and the prospect of becoming space dust did wonders for procreation urges. Or so he’d been told.
He could buy what he wanted, though instinct told him it wasn’t the same; no pilot-friendly sex environment could feed his need. What he yearned for was companionship, someone to share his fears and dreams, his losses and his victories when he returned from the skirmishes happening outside their system’s asteroid belt. Someone besides his parents to mourn him when he didn’t return. He needed someone who understood him.
According to his peers, Vyn’s real problem was his lack of assertiveness.
“Dude.” He received a nudge from his nearest friend. “That drink doesn’t hold your answers. Hey, hey, check her.” Though two women walked by, there was no mistaking which one he meant. The blonde flashed all her assets as she passed: flowered panties peeking out from under a mini-skirt, full breasts straining against her tight shirt. Her styled locks and meticulously highlighted face matched her challenging, frisky aura. Without a doubt she was cruising for a fun time.
“Nice, but she smiled at you, Diego,” Vyn told him.
“So, go tag her,” he urged. “Grab her, bend her over this table, rip off her panties, and bury the bone.”
Now four months pregnant, Ann leaned toward him, cupped his crotch, and whispered in a loud voice, “I’d rip these off if you tried that with me.”
“Whoa, babe,” Diego protested, flashing his crooked grin. Six months ago, Ann had walked up to Diego and stolen his heart with an irresistible come-hither look. Since then, he’d pined for her every moment they weren’t together, though he’d never admit it. “I’d never do you like that—I was just teasing. But shit, the man needs something to get him out of this funk.”
She smirked. “Maybe I’ve got what he needs.”
“So give it up already and let’s get to the gym,” said Diego, calling her bluff. “Screw him out of his funk.” To Vyn, they were the model couple, and it made him ache to have the same.
“You perv.” She gave her lover a gentle squeeze. “You’d like to watch, wouldn’t you?”
“You’re making me hard.”
Vyn turned his back his back on their embarrassing antics, and a commotion caught his attention. “Guys,” he called, “check that out.”
“Wow,” Ann murmured. “I wonder what it’s doing in here.”
Weaving through the crowd with speed and grace, the szu-ahni bounded up the set of stairs near their lounging area. Vyn knew from an educational stream that the natives of this planet, dubbed shifters, rarely mingled with humans in their four-legged form, preferring to keep entirely to themselves. For this one to be deep inside the only human colony on the planet was odd, and to show the “panther” form in the crowded mall was even more bizarre. Strangest of all, the shiny black-furred szu-ahni was headed directly toward them.
Amid the gasps and scuffles to get out of the way, the lithe szu-ahni crouched and began to shimmer. Outside of an exhibitionist he’d once seen, Vyn had never been this close when they changed forms. In an instant, the glossy dark hair framed a cute young face; the slender limbs were replaced by a petite figure. As smooth skin replaced the hair, it was clear she was not crouched at all, but seemed to have fallen. Her wide amber-colored eyes were fixed on him.
Without a moment’s thought, Vyn surged to his feet and covered the distance in four strides. Naked and pressed against the floor, she strained her neck to stare up at him with fear or wonder or...
“Hey,” he greeted her softly. “You okay?” A small shake of her head was the only reply, so he reached for her, fully intending to help her stand. “Here, let me—”
As their hands touched, his knees gave way, and Vyn collapsed with a cry. A shock raced through the connection, leaving his senses tingling even as he yanked his hand away. It was his turn to stare at her.
She nodded, as if proving something to herself. “Thought so,” she said, breathlessly. “Felt you close and had to see—had to know. Please. Touch me again.”
He shook his head, shifting his weight to stand, but she grasped his arm and made him sit back down.
“Please.” She crawled into his arms, and Vyn covered her nakedness without a thought to their surroundings. The sensation was bearable now, though currents continuously raced through his body.
The feeling was magnificent, both astonishing and liberating. As if he’d suddenly learned to soar among the golden clouds without having the slightest clue how.
“Oh,” she sighed with small sobs, and Vyn felt her joy. “Oh.”
Instinctively, he squeezed her, trying to surround her with comfort and support. “This...” Vyn had trouble continuing, and