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Authors: Mel Teshco

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BOOK: GalacticInferno
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She raised a brow. “Not unlike our earth food.”

“Yes. Only most of what you’re eating now stores roughly ten
times more nutrient and energy value to what you’re used to eating from earth
plants.”

“Really?”

He took another generous sip and nodded. “Eat up, kitten.
Maddox thinks a human’s lifespan might well be doubled, even tripled, by
partaking in our food.”

Wow.

With no cutlery to be seen, she picked out a juicy, golden
piece of meat and popped it in her mouth. She closed her eyes as the spiced
flavor all but melted in her mouth. “Mm. This is good,” she murmured. “Even
better knowing I could be actively increasing my lifetime.”

Renate chuckled, causing her eyelids to spring apart. She
grinned up at him and his eyes darkened with passion, with possessive need. He
leaned close, his lips touching hers in a brief kiss that spoke volumes.

Ezra abruptly shoved to his feet and Ally jerked away—like a
guilty teenager caught out in the act. Ezra’s nostrils flared even as Lillian
reached up, placing a hand on his arm before she said, “Please, don’t—”

Ezra’s muscles jerked beneath her hold, but he didn’t shrug
her off as he growled, “I see no reason to sit here and watch my brother get
preferential treatment once again.”

Ally turned to Renate. He appeared calm, neutral. She
clasped his nearest hand and squeezed, feeling every locked tendon and sinew
that told her he wasn’t.

The king with the long black hair—Dar?—shifted forward, his
odd golden eyes narrowed. “Enough, Ezra.”

Ezra didn’t back down. He stared at Dar and Maddox in turn.
“We’re kings, and yet we have to share the woman we each yearn to have as our
own?” He twisted to face Ally and Renate. “Meanwhile we’re seriously
considering granting my bastard brother exclusivity with a female? It’s
insane!”

Lillian’s face whitened. “We discussed this.”

Ezra’s expression grew fiercer still. “Renate gets all the
advantage of his diluted bloodline while royalty get none!”

Ally’s headache returned with a vengeance. Damn protocol.

She pushed to her feet, eyes burning. “Perhaps I’d like a
say in all this?”

Maddox raised an amused brow.

Dar nodded. “Go ahead.”

Thank you.

“Even if Renate were able to choose his parents, I imagine
it’d mean little now, what with our nations all but dust under our feet.” She
turned to the other aliens sitting cross-legged around her, seeing the different
eye colors in each one that spoke of their origins. “Renate is loyal,
courageous, loving and generous to a fault.” She turned to Ezra and held his
narrowed stare. “As far as I’m concerned, those are the attributes of a great
man, a great leader. Not genetics.”

“He’s brainwashed you,” Ezra growled.

She tilted her chin. “No. I’m with him of my own free will.”
At the murmurs around her, she added, “Seems like you’d know that since I
passed your damn test.”

Ezra’s stare glittered. “It was a necessary evaluation.”

She tilted her head. “Why?”

“Let’s just say my father found out firsthand the skills of
deception undoubtedly acquired by Renate.”

Renate bristled beside her, but remained seated. “Your
father was seduced by my mother. End of story.”

Ally frowned. “Last I heard it takes two to tango.”

Ezra’s fists clenched. “My father’s weakness cost him the
throne, his family. To this day I have no idea if he survived his exile into
the desert—while his one-time-lover grew fat and coddled by royal staff because
of my father’s seed.”

“Then you’ll be happy to know my mother is dead now, along
with all the women of our planet,” Renate snarled.

Ally blew out a breath. She caught Lillian’s eye and they
exchanged a taut smile. Clearly the queen was at just as great a loss as she to
fix the problem. Ally broke the thick silence. “Surely there is a solution—”

“There is,” Ezra rasped, turning to her. “You will leave
this ship with Renate—on the condition your firstborn daughter will be promised
to our queen’s firstborn son.”

Lillian sucked in a startled breath. “Ezra, this is hardly
the time to ask—”

“Yes,” Ally said to Ezra. And though Renate had stiffened
beside her, relief of unimaginable proportions filled her.

“Ally, no,” Renate said hoarsely.

She ignored his objection—she’d explain her inability to
conceive to him later. Right then she’d never been happier of her sterility.
“On the condition,” she echoed in turn, “that I am never subjected to my other
four intended. And you turn this ship around and we’re taken back to where we
were found.”

“That’s two conditions,” Ezra said with a smile, “but
agreed.” His eyes glinted triumph even before he turned his attention back to
Renate. “We will come for your daughter when the appropriate time has come to
pass.”

Renate shot to his feet and glowered. “I will have to refute
my lover’s claim. She doesn’t know that oaths exchanged right now will be
irrefutable.”

Lillian stood with inherent grace, though her stiff body
language revealed her suspense as she breathed, “Ally, now that you know, do
you accept our terms?”

Ally swallowed back a shaft of guilt at her deception. It
was clear Lillian wanted the future union too, for obvious reasons. “Yes. Yes,
I do.”

Renate’s breath hissed in disbelief.

Ezra’s gem winked under the lights as he bent and raised a
cup. “
Kas’lios
.”

As Lillian, Dar, Maddox and the remainder of the aliens each
lifted their cup, Ally took hold of one too and pressed Renate’s hand around
her own. “
Kas’lios
,” she echoed.

Renate pulled free. And she watched almost numbly as he
strode stiffly from the group…from her.

“Renate, wait!”
Let me explain
.

But her request fell on death ears.

Ally glanced back at Lillian. The queen flushed a little and
looked away. Ezra’s triumph had slipped just a little. Dar and Maddox were
unreadable, their thoughts well hidden.

“I…thank you,” she murmured, then spun away and ran after
Renate.

He’d stepped onto the shield and waited silently for her as
she joined him. As the shield moved upward, she clasped his taut forearms and
looked up at his shadowed face. “It mightn’t seem like it right now, but I do
know what I’m doing.”

His voice was despairing when he said heavily, “You would
have our future child given up for Bonnie.”

The shield stilled, hovering at the next floor. She barely
noticed. She shook her head. “No. You know I’d never do that.”

His eyes hardened. “And yet you just did. And in front of
many witnesses.”

“You ask me to trust you and yet you don’t trust me,” she
whispered feeling a hundred kinds of upset.

“Don’t you understand?” he said hoarsely. “There’s no going
back from your word. They’ll be coming for our daughter, and they’ll find her.”

“You’re the one who doesn’t understand,” she said shakily,
somehow hating him for his doubts, hating herself for being unable to give him
the child he deserved. “I can’t give you the child you want. I’m infertile.”

Chapter Eight

 

Renate’s eyes darkened as he studied her. “The miscarriage?”

She nodded. “Yes.” She let out a heavy breath. “I fainted
and I…I fell heavily on the bathtub. To this day I’m not certain if that or
shock caused me to lose my baby.”

“Ally, I don’t think—”

“But even beforehand I had trouble conceiving with Luke.”
Once unable to talk about her pain, now it was as though she couldn’t wait to
share. She shrugged, trying for nonchalance and failing. “The blow to my uterus
kind of finished any more baby-making plans.”

Renate pulled her to him and she sagged against his strength
with something close to a sob. And listening to the steady beat of his heart,
all she could imagine was how beautiful a daughter would be with this man as
the father, how handsome a son.

His arms tightened around her. “We need to…talk,” he
murmured.

Talk? She bit into her bottom lip. Oh, god. Did he not want
her now she was unable to conceive? Was that all she was to him?

Despite trusting him implicitly, she couldn’t shake off the
horrible thought.

“But not just yet,” he added. “You’ve been through a chaotic
few days. Let me take you to my quarters so you can get a few hours’ sleep.”

She nodded. When her belly suddenly rumbled, he let out a
strained laugh. “But first I’ll have someone bring us up some food.”

The shield beneath tilted a little, moving with the mother
ship. ”We’re changing route for our destination,” Renate murmured, serious
again now. His large hands stroked up and down her spine. “I should oversee its
course.”

She looked up. “I’ll be fine.”

He frowned, his hands moving to cup her face. “I’m not about
to leave you here alone.” He took hold of her hand and stepped onto the floor.
“Come, let’s get you settled in.”

He led her through a maze of semi-dark corridors before he
paused at a doorway with a blue shield. “You will always be able to pass
through my shield defense.”

“Okay.” She narrowed her eyes. “What about for those who
aren’t?”

“They’d be dropped in their tracks by a shock powerful
enough to paralyze their every muscle.”

“Oh?” Her stare swiveled between Renate and the blue shield.
“How does it work?”

“The lucky few of us considered of high worth,” he raised a
brow as though he despised the term, “had our cells meshed to the rare
substance now called a shield. It created a life force that reacts to our
subconscious, our commands.” He pushed through the shield and Ally followed
close behind as he continued in a matter-of-fact tone, “The three kings enmeshed
all their cells together, a process which then allowed them to share a mental
bond.”

“Truly?” At his nod she added, “Then I’m grateful you didn’t
share your cells with theirs.”

He turned to her, clasping her other hand and pulling her
close. “So am I. Everything I feel for you, I don’t want to share with anyone
else.”

When he kissed her she opened her mouth on a sigh. This was
where she belonged, in Renate’s arms while all her doubts, her insecurities and
problems faded into obscurity. She pulled back and searched his fathomless
stare. “Thank you for believing in me, for risking so much for Bonnie.”

“You and Bonnie belong together,” he murmured. “I understand
that now.”

She knew exactly what he meant, what comparisons he’d drawn.
She’d been fighting the very thing Renate had understood from the first. The
commoner human and bastard offspring to the king were only half of a whole
apart. Together, no labels could describe the rightness, the sense of
belonging.

He smoothed the one long lock of her hair back with a smile.
“Go rest. I’ll return as soon as I can.”

“Okay.”

She watched him turn on his heel and retreat back through
the shield, forcing her stare away from the sexy length of his back to take in
the spartan room he called home.

Clearly the Carèche people lived simply and didn’t covet the
need for luxuries the way humans did.

She walked over to the red fur on the floor. Caltronian? She
recalled him mentioning the use of the beasts’ fur as bedding. Sinking onto its
softness, she lay back with an appreciative sigh. No earth mattress could
possibly compare.

Her eyelids grew heavy in the silence.

* * * * *

Ally pressed her brow against the office building, peering
out to the empty streets ten stories below.

How quickly things could change.

The televised warnings to stay indoors had kept everyone but
the insane or suicidal inside. She shuddered. Even so, people were dropping
dead by the hundreds…the thousands, a panic sweeping the world even faster than
the virus itself.

I guess my turn will be soon enough.

Funnily enough the thought of dying didn’t frighten her
anymore, not in itself. No, other thoughts and weird emotions had taken
over—relief she had no family to worry about and watch die—anguish that when
she succumbed to the virus, no one would even mourn her passing.

She started at the chime of her cell phone on her desk
behind her. Fewer people in the country must have freed up cell phone service?
She retrieved the phone, holding it in the palm of her hand for a moment as she
mused over her unemotional and all-too-practical thought processes.

It’s either that or curl into a fetal position and wait
to die.

Ally flipped the phone open. “Hello.”

Her ex-husband’s voice filled her ear. “Ally, please don’t
hang up on me. Look, I…I know we’re not together anymore, I know I did you
wrong, but I’m begging you for forgiveness. The kids are asking for you,
beautiful. Will you come over?”

She winced. First at his once pet name of beautiful and then
at his purely selfish wish that entailed her to leave the safety of indoors and
travel—walk—twelve and a half blocks to his city house.

What did I ever see in him?

She heard someone sniffling and hiccupping in the
background.

“Please,” he pressed, voice anxious and desperate. “I know
this is a lot to ask—”

“Fine,” she breathed. She hadn’t seen Sam and Katie for a
little over three months, but she often thought about them, wondered how they
were doing. “But I’m doing this for them, not you, Luke.”

“Of course,” he said in a rush. “I completely understand.
Just please…hurry.”

The line went dead as the tears she’d been holding back
sprang into life.

* * * * *

Shivers darted up and down her spine as goose bumps erupted
over her skin. But it wasn’t from any vivid, real-from-life dream.

She woke quickly, opening her eyes to a very naked Renate
spread over her, his head bent while his sexy mouth pressed kisses along her
throat, before he drew the lobe of her ear into his mouth and gently suckled.

Her breath hissed at the prickling currents that caused her
womb to contract and pool heat deep inside.

“Feel good?” he murmured, his breath warm in her ear.

Are you kidding me?

“Fan-bloody-tastic,” she managed, voice husky from sleep and
a desire to forget everything but the now.

He kissed her neck again and more shivers ricocheted through
her body. “This is exquisite torture for me too,” he growled.

“It is?” she squeaked.

He lifted his head, his stare unashamedly fierce,
possessive, as he said, “Yes. Carèche men mark their women. And I’ve wanted to
mark you from the moment we met.”

“You have?” she whispered, pulse fluttering wildly. “How
does this marking work?”

He opened his mouth wide, fully revealing his long, sharp
teeth toward the back. At her “Oh!” his mouth closed. He smiled. “Those teeth
have one function only—to puncture my chosen woman’s throat and inject a
pheromone that tells every other Carèche male you’re mine.”

Far from feeling repulsed by such an act of ownership, her
pussy clenched at the idea. “Does it…hurt?”

He pressed another kiss along her throat, his lips curling
into a smile as he mumbled against her throat, “On the contrary, done at the
right time when making love, and it induces orgasm.”

She gasped as his tongue swirled on the sensitive skin at
the base of her throat. “It sounds like something we should seriously consider…soon.”

“I agree,” he said hoarsely. He paused again for just a
moment. “But when we’re back on earth, alone. I want to perform a bonding
ceremony without the men of my planet as witness.”

She wanted to ask more questions, but then he was continuing
downward, along the curve of her throat, then the hardening peak of one of her
breasts beneath its alien fabric.

She arched upward. Damn. His mouth, his tongue and teeth,
sucked and nipped at the sensitized flesh as though the alien fabric of her
dress was an invisible barrier—or no barrier at all.

Then he was moving lower still. Her pulse fluttered, both
with anxiety and carnal need as he pushed her dress up and peeled her labia
apart. He looked up, his eyes burning with desire. “I want to taste you,
kitten.”

She jerked when he opened her wider still, his eyes drinking
her in as though she was manna from heaven. She swallowed. Hard. “Please do.”

His smile almost predatory, he bent and licked her
stiffening clit with one long stroke that caused her breath to shudder from her
lungs. She mewled like a cat in heat when his whole mouth covered the pink
flesh of her clitoris and he gently sucked, setting every nerve ending alight.
She was all but catapulted toward the edge of release, when he drew on her
flesh harder, she shattered around his mouth with a strangled gasp, flying high
then gently drifting back to earth.

But then his tongue delved deep into her channel, tasting
her release. When he growled low in his throat, she felt the vibration shudder
through her cunt and she cried out, unable to hold back, to resist vocalizing
further pleasure.

Renate shifted forward, his body full length along hers, the
head of his hard cock pressing between her thighs. His mouth when it covered
hers tasted of pussy and turned her on in ways she couldn’t define, his fierce
kiss one she couldn’t resist. She kissed him back with an urgency that matched
his own, need barreling through her body at the unquenchable fire he’d sparked
into raging life.

She spread her thighs apart and clasped the base of this
cock with one hand, guiding him to her wet cunt.

“Are you ready for me?”

“Hell. Yes.”

His smile was all carnal need, matching the possessive glint
in his eyes. He thrust forward, filling her, sinking all the way to his balls.

“Fuck,” she moaned.

His hoarse breathing fanned her ear. Then he withdrew his
cock fully from her wet heat. Poised for a nanosecond, he plunged back in,
forcing the oxygen out of her lungs, her heart rate up another few beats. And
when he set up a motion that increased in speed and intensity, she knew she
wasn’t going to last much longer.

“Renate, I’m going to come—”

And then she did, shattering around his cock even before he
jolted her with his charge and caused another orgasm to spin her higher, her
breath rasping. He stroked deep inside her once, twice. He roared loud and
long, his seed exploding, his eyes rolling back in his head.

He all but collapsed on top of her and she welcomed his
weight, pulling him close and breathing in his sweat-moistened, salty skin as
his heartbeat raced and his chest heaved.

She traced over the slight notches along his spine, the
corded muscles. She let out a dreamy sigh. “That’s one way to wake up a person
in a hurry.”

His chest rumbled with deep, masculine laughter that left
her giggling in turn. He clasped her face, his amusement fading and his
expression becoming all too serious. “I love you.”

Her chest hurt with the profound ache she felt for him. Her
vision blurred a little. “I love you too,” she whispered.

“Thank you, kitten,” he murmured huskily, sealing the deal
with his lips covering hers, a soft, lingering kiss that expressed his
adoration one step further.

She whimpered displeasure when he finally drew back and
moved off her, kneeling between her thighs as though he was a gladiator in
repose.

He smiled, eyes alight with satisfaction. “You’re not hungry
for food, then?

She crooked her neck to the side, seeing the two bowls
within arm’s reach. Tantalizing aromas infiltrated her nostrils, causing her
stomach to rumble. “I guess I am.” She sat, tucking her legs from around him
and modestly tugging the hem of her dress down. She sniffed appreciatively.
“But weren’t you going to send someone up with the food?”

He crooked a dark brow. “I did, but you were sound asleep
and I gave specific orders not to wake you.”

He stood and, retrieving the nearest bowl, he offered it to
her. It was the meat and vegetable dish she’d chosen earlier and she took it
gladly. Stuffing a couple of pieces of lukewarm meat and a pink, leafy
vegetable into her mouth, she took her fill of his nakedness as he dragged on
his pants.

God, she’d never get enough of his tight abs, his broad
shoulders and long, muscular thighs that were the perfect backdrop to his heavy
balls and a cock that was built for pleasure.

She took another mouthful, barely tasting the flavorsome
vegetables and herbs that were entirely not of this world. Renate dropped into
a crouch and selected a wedge of fluorescent green fruit from the other bowl
before he popped it into his mouth.

“You’re not going to navigate?” she asked.

He smiled. “No need. The mother ship is on course now. We’ll
be at our destination in an hour, two at most.”

She stopped chewing, her eyes widening. Swallowing, she
asked, “Just how long was I asleep?”

He shrugged. “I’d guess maybe five earth hours.”

“So we’re close to finding Bonnie?” she breathed.

“That is my hope.”

BOOK: GalacticInferno
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