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Authors: Mel Teshco

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BOOK: GalacticInferno
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Bonnie sat, her eyes moving from Ally to Renate and then
back again. She whined, and Ally crouched low. Bonnie went straight into her
arms. “You’re hungry, aren’t you, girl? I’ll get your bowl and food—”

“Allow me.” Renate riffled through her backpack before he
discovered the bowl then pulled out a large can, its label revealing a picture
of a happy pooch. He handed them to her and she pulled back the can’s ring pull
and poured the contents into the bowl.

 

Bonnie gulped the meaty chunks whole, and there was a smile
in Renate’s voice as he said, “You will need to eat too and keep up your
strength. I found some liquid I think you human’s drink in a busted-up
machine.”

“A vending machine?”

“Vending machine,” he repeated, his expression becoming even
more amused.

He went to obtain whatever was left inside the vending
machine, and she couldn’t help but admire his easy, graceful stride as he moved
through the shop, the long muscles in his back shifting and flexing with his
every movement.

Poetry in motion.

She snapped her eyes away.
What is wrong with me?
Yes, they had a connection that went beyond unearthly, but the reality was, he
was an alien, one she barely knew. She’d evidently fallen for the wrong man
once already, with Luke.

And she shouldn’t forget, she’d be leaving here soon…alone.
Just her and Bonnie.

She pressed a hand between her breasts. The thought had cut
like a knife. Sharp. Painful. Irrefutable.

He returned with some cans of cola and three packets of
crisps as she busied herself by pouring a little of the bottled water into
Bonnie’s freshly licked-clean bowl.

Get a grip. I’ve gone through a hell of a lot worse than
leaving behind the man I just fucked.

She accepted the cola with a remarkably steady hand and
cracked it open, taking a long sip. The shockingly sweet, warm effervescence
slid down her throat. She closed her eyes with a long sigh.

Renate’s husky chuckle caused her eyelids to flutter apart.
He gestured to the packet of crisps. “Please, try one of those next. I like
watching you partake.”

She grinned and tore the packet of barbecue crisps open.
“Only if you try one too?”

He put his hand into the proffered packet and pulled one
free, frowning at its bland appearance. Then he took a bite, grimacing.
“Perhaps it’s an acquired taste.”

She bit into one, sighing with utter bliss as the smoky,
salty flavor hit, reanimating her taste buds. “How can you say that? These are
the bomb.”

“The bomb?”

She shrugged. “It’s a saying. Slang. It means something is
really cool.” At his raised eyebrow, she added, “Really great.”

“Ah. You’re the bomb to me, kitten.”

She suppressed a smile even as her eyes burned a little, her
throat thick as emotion threatened. She couldn’t help but wonder if he had any
idea how saying as much meant to her, especially with her shorn hair and
bedraggled looks. Couldn’t help but wonder if he knew how the thought of
leaving him had just become that much harder.

Clearing her throat, she threw one of the crisps to Bonnie.
The dog caught it mid-air, crunched it once and then swallowed. With a wobbly
smile Ally asked, “So what do you eat on your planet then?”

“Everything we consume is in its natural state. Even our hot
food is cooked by a plant called a sylak. It uses naturally occurring
electromagnetic waves to bake its food.”

It felt surprisingly good to talk about a neutral, safe
topic. “So, you don’t use fire, electricity?”

He shrugged. “Though we have many times greater technology
and knowledge than your earth people, we respect the health of our planet and
keep to the old ways where we can. As for fire, it is rarely used on Carèche.
Our three suns keep the night away and most of the land is unbearably hot, with
many deserts.”

Bonnie abruptly growled. She raced toward the broken window
and leaped outside. Above the frenzy of her barking, Ally heard the approaching
whine of a UFO.

She stared, for a moment too shocked to react. Oh god, no.
“Bonnie!”

Before she’d even moved, Renate had shouldered the backpack
and held out his hand. “We have to leave.”

She shook her head, heart fairly bursting from her chest.
“Not without my dog.”

His jaw hardened fractionally, but he relented with a nod.
“There’s a door near the vending machine. Head that way. I’ll get your dog.”

She swallowed. “Okay.”

Her breath caught.
Please hurry
.

Standing beside the back roller door, which would once have
been the service entrance used for unloading goods, Ally heard another dog bark
somewhere in the distance. She shivered.
Please let the other dog distract
the aliens from Bonnie.

After what felt like hours, and would have been a few
minutes at best, Renate returned with Bonnie. Her tongue lolled, her tail
wagging as if she’d done her very best to please her mistress.

Ally twined her arms around her doggy friend. “You know you
have to stay with me at all times.”

Renate waited for her to re-gather her composure. She’d
wasted valuable time and yet he seemed to sense her need for reassurance.

When he handed her the leash, she whispered, “Thank you.”

He nodded understanding before turning his attention to the
roller door. Unlocking its circular latch, he carefully rolled it upward and
peered outside, into the heat wave of mid-morning. The whine of the UFO was
still close and he turned to her, frowning.

“We need to get out of here now. The mother ship is getting
closer. The promised males on board will be able to pinpoint where you are
through their trans-alien hypersensitivity if they get any closer.”

Oh crap.

His nostrils flared, and he searched her face. “Are you
feeling something from them?”

She stared back. “Nothing.”

“Good.” One of his hands took hold of hers, his fingers
squeezing reassurance. “Let’s go.”

Chapter Four

 

Renate felt the tension coil between his shoulders, in his
gut. The feeling was much like the springs of a trampoline he’d seen on
television, which human children had once used.

Once used.

He glanced over at Ally, wishing they could have met in any
other circumstance. How she must hate him for what he and his kind had done to
her race—if unwittingly. And now that he’d promised not to use mind
manipulation, he had to trust that whatever she felt for him, would come to
feel for him, would have to be enough.

Yes, they were destined mates, but she was…different. She’d
not succumbed so easily to him. Not until she’d been ready and willing.

Somehow it made him desire her all the more. Made the
promise that he’d not let the other alien males touch her that much easier to
keep.

Shame struck him in the guts like a sledge hammer. When it
came down to it, he was a selfish bastard, looking out for his own
self-interests instead of the good of his race. But in the end, wasn’t love the
only thing that really mattered?

And since Ally hadn’t left when the storm died out,
maybe…just maybe, she was beginning to feel something for him too.

He moved cautiously outside, pushing back the thousand and
one thoughts plaguing him to focus on the reality of their situation. If he wasn’t
more careful, their capture would be imminent. He glanced back at Ally, who was
gripping his hand and following behind with a now subdued Bonnie walking
alongside. He swallowed. He couldn’t allow that to happen, couldn’t let her
fall in his alien comrades’ hands.

Not now.

In fact, he just might kill any male who touched her.

Get a grip
. Right then, the strange earth saying had
merit.

He looked skyward. Though the smoke had made the air outside
a little hazy, the sun’s glint on the mother ship as it slowly revolved in the
sky and turned back toward them was all too obvious.

Bloody hell.

He turned to Ally, surprised by her courage as she forced a
smile. His belly twisted almost painfully. “You ready?” And at her nod, “Run!”

He didn’t let go of her hand as they raced along the street,
rounding corners, dodging stationary cars and even a couple of buses. But all
too soon he could hear Ally’s gasping breaths, was aware of her slowing steps,
her struggle to keep going.

When he scooped her into his arms, she clung to Bonnie’s
leash as tightly as she did to his shoulders. She was almost sobbing in his ear
as he charged even faster down the different streets, deliberately scouting out
the more densely housed estates to better lose themselves in.

Smoke filled his lungs. Ally wheezed out a cough. He
frowned. Although fresh air would be appreciated right then, the denser and
thicker smog gave them a much more effective concealment.

He paused only when he came to a narrow street, lined with
huge old gum trees and dilapidated houses with handkerchief-sized yards. In
front of a wooden, single garage that jutted out almost to the street, he
placed Ally carefully on her feet. “We’ve lost them.”

For now.

He didn’t tell her that if they’d been seen, they would
never have gotten away. Or perhaps they had been seen, and his alien brothers
were even now deciding what to do about his defection. He had no doubt Ezra,
one of the alien’s three kings, would have quite a bit to say, and not in a
positive light.

He held Ally’s hands as she swayed for a moment, looking
like innocence itself. His heart clamped tight. He knew all too well many of
the horrors she would have witnessed. But she was a survivor in more than just
the physical sense. Beneath her insecurities beat the heart of a proud warrior.

He brushed back a longer strand of her hair, which seemed
out of place against the rest of her brutally short, reddish dark mane. She was
so beautiful. So courageous and strong. And she was…his.

Undeniably. Categorically. His.

She just didn’t know it yet.

“I…I cut it myself,” she admitted in a small voice. She
frowned a little. “It used to be really long and quite…quite beautiful. But
without running water to wash it and keep it clean, it seemed silly really—”

Leaning forward, he pressed his mouth against hers, sucking
on her lower lip and running his tongue across the fleshy, too-kissable pad. He
pulled back, his breathing ragged. “You’re perfect.”

Her beautiful gray-green eyes widened. “You really mean
that, don’t you.”

It wasn’t a question, but somehow he felt compelled to
answer. “We’re made for each other. Everything about you turns me on. Your
face. Your body. Your heart. Your soul.”

She grinned then. “The way my breasts fill your hands like
your cock fills my—”

He kissed her again then, and they broke into
gasping-for-breath laughs as a weird hysteria gripped them both. A hysteria
that was edged with fervor and need.

Ally pulled back with a gasp at a sudden noise above their
heads. Renate glanced up at the pair of birds—pigeons?—that had taken flight. A
ginger cat peered over the eaves of the garage roof, staring at them with big,
hungry yellow eyes.

Bonnie strained against the leash and Renate said sternly,
“No.”

The dog sat back on her haunches, beseeching them with a
whining noise that let them know she was willing and eager for a chase. But
Ally was busy murmuring to the cat, which was pushing its broad orange head
into Ally’s outstretched hand, purring loudly and ignoring the dog so far
below.

“Isn’t he a beautiful boy?” she praised. “And so friendly.”

Renate felt a silly grin stretch his lips. If he was the cat
he’d be begging for attention too. “The cat likes you.”

Ally turned. Looking up at him, her smile lit up her sooty,
dirty face like a high-wattage light bulb in a darkened room. “Dogs and cats
don’t often get along. And cats are…well, they’re aloof but not stupid. This
one is probably hoping for something to eat.” Her head tilted to the side as
she considered him. “Does your planet have cats?”

“No. Zadmets are probably the closest thing we have to them,
except they’re bigger, about half the size of Bonnie. Their fur is coarser and
a mottled red and brown—most of our animals are different shades of red to
blend in with our deserts.”

“Did you keep one as a pet?”

He shook his head, smiling at the thought. “Only a fool
would try.”

“Oh?”

“Zadmets have massive claws housing dozens of naturally
occurring shock cells. When their claws retract they’re harmless, unsheathed
they’re deadly.”

“Wow. Your planet sounds amazing. Dangerous…but definitely
amazing.”

Nostalgia for his home world swept through him. Would he
ever see his planet again? His apparent betrayal would likely see him become an
outcast.

Like father, like son.

“Yes. In many ways it is.” He tamped down the mix of
melancholy and pain, indicating the small house. “This looks as good as any
place to rest for a few hours.”

She nodded, but he sensed her reserve. At the screen door he
asked, “Are you okay?”

She gnawed her bottom lip. “I’m just afraid of what we might
find inside.”

“I’ll go first and take a look. If I find anything, we’ll go
elsewhere.”

Her relief was palpable. “Thank you.”

He pressed a quick kiss to her brow. “Don’t go anywhere,
hmm?” Then he was opening the squeaky screen door and turning the handle of the
wooden door.

A closed-up mustiness pervaded the place. Urine and worse.
His nose wrinkled and he wished right then for the inferior scent ability of a
human. Clearly small animals had moved in. A little brown shape scuttled across
the floorboards then disappeared behind a glass cupboard.

What did the humans call them? Mouse? Mice?

There was no scent of rotting flesh, no human bodies
decomposing. He glanced in the direction the mouse creature had disappeared. At
least not anymore.

He returned to front door, opening the screen. “It’s clear.”

“Thank god,” she breathed.

He brushed a hand down her cheek. What he’d do to be able to
take her back to his planet and court her like real lovers did. He’d take such
pleasure showing her the world he’d left behind. The great red-gold cliffs that
reared high into a red-tinged sky, like earth’s sunset smeared thick across a
canvas. The magnificent creatures, big and small. The beautiful but often
deadly plants.

And then when he’d made love to her, again and again, until
her throat was dry from calling out his name, he’d leave her to sleep off the
pleasant weariness of great sex while he prepared her dinner using his favorite
Carèche delicacies.

Perhaps the fragrant, melt-in-the-mouth caltronian meat,
wrapped in the leaves of a shanash vine, where every bite released a different
flavor. And to finish, the creamy, purple innards of the lekkle fruit with its
odd, spicy aftertaste. Afterward, he’d pour her a lakroda, Carèche’s answer to
liquor on a vine.

They’d sip on the minty, spicy liquor, sharing long looks
and yearning smiles…

Ally brushed past him and headed toward the kitchen, Bonnie
at her heels. With a heavy sigh, he stepped aside to close the door.

The ginger cat shot up the footpath and squeezed through the
narrowing gap, meowing as if he’d just come home. Perhaps he had. Renate
crooked a brow and with exaggerated politeness said to the odd animal, “Do come
in.”

The door clicked shut behind him when the noise of running
water sounded. Ally jumped up and down, clapping her hands and squealing. “It
works! The water actually works!”

He followed her into the kitchen, where she stood on tiptoes
and leaned over the sink. She pressed her brow against the window pane that
overlooked the back yard and exclaimed, “Oh, they have a water tank on a stand!
No wonder. It’s gravity fed.” She turned around, straight into his arms. “I can
have a shower—a cold shower—but still!”

“Mind if I join you?” he asked huskily.

She hit him playfully. “That’s such a man thing to say.”

“It is?” He cupped her chin, holding her gaze to his. “Is
that a good thing or a bad thing?”

Her breath caught. “Neither, really. It’s just typical of a
male—clearly from any planet.”

“Mm.” he leaned down, taking her lips with his own and
murmuring between long, luxurious kisses, “Is this typical of a male, too?”

“Yes,” she breathed. Her lashes dropped. “But not here, not
in the kitchen.”

His grin felt all kinds of wicked when he teased, “I don’t
see anyone watching, if that’s what worrying you.”

She gestured helplessly behind him. “Bonnie and Leopold
might be…”

“Leopold?”

She twined her arms around the back of his neck, lashes
fluttered upward. “He deserves his own name, doesn’t he?”

His hands cupped her ass and he lifted her up. She shrieked
a little and then giggled helplessly. And as she wrapped her legs around his
hips, his grin stretched even wider. “Leopold it is,” he agreed.

Her head resting against his shoulder as he carried her into
the bathroom, she clung to him as if she’d never let go. And something in his
chest almost hurt at this unwitting trust she placed in him—without even one
bit of mind control.

He placed her on her feet on the dirty, off-white tiles with
the matching colored walls. Right then he didn’t care about their surrounds and
he knew Ally didn’t either. They could have been in a palace for all the notice
they took, their eyes only for each other.

He helped her take off her boots and socks, then her
clothes. When she returned the favor and peeled off his pants, her hands were
noticeably unsteady.

They kissed again, tongues joining and lips urgently mashing
together. His cock throbbed hard and insistent against her belly. But somehow
he found restraint and said hoarsely, “Let’s get clean first.”

“Mm. Fuck hard later,” she declared with deliberate
coarseness.

His cock leapt in response, the growl that ruptured from his
throat low and loud.

Her breath hissed, and she pulled away a little to fumble
with the shower taps. Water spluttered sluggishly, then hissed out in a cold
stream.

She pointed to a bottle. “Would you mind passing the liquid
soap from the vanity?”

“Soap?” he murmured, retrieving it. “Ah. This is the stuff
you clean yourself with. It’s the same that my queen uses.”

 

Ally nodded absently, unable to think about the queen or
anyone else. And as she closed her eyes all her thoughts centered on Renate and
the feelings he created in the most secret places within. She was aware his
hungry stare would be reflected in her own. Everything she felt was powerful,
undeniable. Irrefutable.

But are those feelings really my own?

She trusted his word not to use mind control again, but her
skeptical side couldn’t fathom that all the hatred she’d held for the aliens
had been exonerated so effortlessly by this one alien.

Hell, she’d had the chance to leave once the storm had cleared—and
she hadn’t—she’d been too busy taking part in a fervent storm of their own
making.

When she stepped under the spray of icy cold water, the
sharp gasp that left her lips had little to do with the temperature. All her
doubts were washed away like the dirt on her skin as Renate’s large hands
massaged soap over her shoulders, down her spine and along her buttocks.

He worked a lather of shampoo through her hair and she
leaned against him, her spine aligning to his chest, her buttocks to his strong
thighs. She handed him the bottle of conditioner sitting in an alcove beside
the shampoo, sighing bliss as he worked that through her short hair, massaging
deep.

And as the water rinsed her hair clean, he spun her around.
She was a puppet to his command, a willing servant to the master. With the cold
curtain of water pummeling them, he used a hand to part her labia. And without
preliminary, one of his fingers sunk in deep.

BOOK: GalacticInferno
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