Life counseling the abused and grieving has worn on her nerves, so when she is offered life in the Sector Guard once again, Sekhara jumps at the chance. After some heated negotiations, Contract and Counsel begin life as partners with Counsel’s pet, Maxi, along for the ride. They find a lost Terran, get blasted across the universe, and have to be rescued by a member of Udell base, and that is just Counsel’s first day… What kind of a career is it when you have to keep your hands off your partner while you fight for your life?
“The Sector Guard can offer you adventure.”
She smirked. “Not interested.”
“I can travel as much as I wish to.”
He dragged in a deep breath. “You will have the opportunity to help folk in dire situations and under incredible stresses. Guardsmen need a counsellor more than anyone can know. We face death, violence, the most heinous situations as well as the burden of arriving too late.”
She leaned back and put her arms on the chair, her party gown flowing around her in soft gold folds that matched her eyes. “You have caught my interest. Go on. What can I do for the Guard?”
“Well, let me state first that I am a Contract specialist. Every legal precedent in the Alliance and Nyal space is within my mind and I can create an airtight agreement that even light cannot escape from.”
Sekhara tilted her head at the Wyoran with the hypnotic voice. “I see. Now, why me and not one of the plethora of other telepaths out there? And, do you really intend to legally trap me?”
“You have an ability to make contact with anyone based on their cranial scans, at immeasurable distances.” His blue eyes seemed to grow larger and she could feel the push of his talent against her.
She quirked her lips, “That is classified information.”
“And as a member of the Sector Guard, you will be in a position to use your talents to the fullest extent, every day. They need you. We need you.” His tone rang with determination and sincerity.
“What about our personal interaction? Even Altius and Effin have told me that there is an expectation of bonding between partners. Physical bonding. Where do we stand on that?” She put an expectant look on her face and waited.
Contract swallowed and looked sheepish. “It would be nice to have a Wyoran woman with me and I promise to be a sensitive and careful lover and to do my best as a partner. I will back you up when needed and stand aside when you don’t.”
“That seems awfully passive for a man with your reputation, Contract. Criton Ethyn was quite the ladies’ man around the hub before he left for his new career in the stars. I have heard tales of debauchery, bondage and any number of group activities of a sexual nature. It is amazing how a man can change when he realizes his choices of life partner are limited.”
His mouth opened and closed, the cords of his neck flexed as he struggled to breathe. “How do you know all that?”
She quirked her lips. “Effin Nywyn, husband of Relay, is the cousin of Altius, our host, tonight, who is the brother of my employer, Sahvahn Nywyn. They did the research long before they let you find me tonight.”
The door to the study flew open and a creature bounded in, wriggling with delight as it sat next to Sekhara’s chair.
“Hello, Maxi. How are you today?”
Criton was looking at the beast warily. “You have a nylander?”
“Ledara gave me one of the kits when Maxi was born. Six months later and she is ready to leave her mother. Is there room on your shuttle for her?” Sekhara reached out and stroked the snow-white fur on her new pet. The mental link between them snapped into being and strengthened as the Wyoran let her mind touch the beast’s. A centre of calm rippled into her from Maxi.
“Room on my shuttle? You agree?”
“Let’s return to the party and have a nice time. You can meet me at my office tomorrow and we will discuss the finer points of the contract.”
He cautioned her. “You will have to apply to let the nylander leave Wyora.”
She grinned as she stood and walked to the door with Maxi at her side. “I already have.”