Authors: Roscoe James
Forever’s Not Enough
Galactic League of Planets
Published by Liquid Silver Books, imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing, 10509 Sedgegrass Dr, Indianapolis, Indiana 46235. Copyright © 2008, Roscoe James. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Liquid Silver Books
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
He’d seen her several times on 3-D projections. But this was different. This was in person. The Ambassador from the oppressed Meline system was more humanoid than he’d expected, and finding her standing in nothing more than a champagne-colored body veil and soft fur speaking with the United News Service reporter was a little disconcerting.
He’d been told she was
and her svelte build, small breasts, and slightly crossed eyes confirmed that.
He understood immediately what his lieutenant had explained. You couldn’t look at them without wanting to pet, an insult they didn’t take lightly.
Some assignments are hard, others just damned near impossible.
“Ooooooohhhh, aaaand youuuuu muuuuust beeee myyyyy escoooooorrrt.”
He jumped when he realized she was addressing him and stifled a smile when her hand covered her mouth as if she’d hiccupped. Each word came out in a purr and he recalled something else his lieutenant had told him, “Don’t get too close, son. Their purr is deadly. If their chest is actually touching yours, they can resonate it to your heartbeat and stop it cold!”
He jerked his MR280 up as if the thing could block sound, found his voice, and answered, “Yes, Madame Ambassador, I am. Sergeant Hillsborough at your service, Ma’am.”
“Well, Sergeant Hillsborough, you’ll do nicely,” she purred.
He gulped. With her purr, it was hard to understand what she was saying.
Her hand came up again and her light blue eyes were as big as saucers.
When she continued to purr softly his eyes involuntarily dropped to her chest. This time he did chuckle. Her small breasts, the tips as white as the rest of her skin, looked completely innocuous. While inviting, he didn’t think they could kill.
When she reached out to hug, the traditional Meline greeting, he almost blew it. A United News Service headline flashed—‘NO HUG THREATENS CORPORATION MELINE PEACE DEAL—and he relented.
Her head nestled into his chest, her small breasts pressed into his hard stomach, and he felt it for the first time. It was overpowering. His jaw felt heavy, his shoulders sagged and he wanted to embrace her. He couldn’t believe it when his cock stirred.
In a move of self-preservation his free hand came up and pushed her away. He regretted it immediately when her retreating form seemed to suck the strength out of him.
Her purr deepened.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to,”
she said, and he watched, spellbound, when the white skin of her cheeks flushed … chocolate brown?
“Ah, that’s okay, ma’am.” Well, he hoped it was okay. His stomach still felt weird.
Stepping away, her fingers graced his chin, the purring became louder, and she smiled, her slightly crossed eyes fixing him firmly.
“I believe you are to see to my safety. Is that correct?”
He was still having trouble understanding her words with the purr.
She stepped away quickly and he immediately felt a wave of emptiness wash over him.
When Blake Crenshaw stepped into view, banishing the haze she’d left his mind in, he realized exactly how reckless he’d been. His job was to keep the ambassador safe and that included knowing who was getting close enough to do harm even if it was a corporation member. Less than five minutes and he’d already blown it.
“Madame Ambassador.” Blake’s hand came out and he watched the Ambassador, countenance frosty, rest hers on top.
Hell you say. Where’d the purr go? Taking a step back, he was immediately on guard, as much against his fascination for the Madame Ambassador as any other danger in the bustling hallway.
“You do us great honor.” Blake’s words dripped with an undercurrent of sarcasm and he recalled immediately why he thought the diplomatic corps was full of pantywaists.
“Oh, but not as great as the United Corporation shows the Meline people,” she replied, her contempt palpable.
He tuned it out and scanned the arriving area. Then his eyes were drawn back to the ambassador’s shimmering form.
Was it her skin? Her coat? Fur? He was having trouble wrapping his head around what to call it other than beautiful. An odd mix of bare milky white skin and small ridges of fur that begged to be touched. A shimmer each time she moved spoke of gold powder delicately applied to the very tip of her fur. She was turned out in full diplomatic regalia.
“As you know, Madame Ambassador, the director regrets he’s unable to receive you this afternoon. Especially given the urgent nature of the, ah, situation…”
She was already so mad her body trembled when she interrupted, “With all due respect, Mr. Crenshaw, your director, and your people, have no idea just how serious the situation, as you call it, really is!”
Her anger did something to him. Something he could neither define nor control, and without thinking, the MR280 came up to ready-one and his finger curled lightly around the trigger.
He watched Blake raise his hand, palm flat in a sign of surrender, offering it to the ambassador and he had to stifle an urge to step between them.
“But, Madame Ambassador, let’s not exaggera—”
When she leaned close, her nostrils flaring, he felt a pull in his chest, and without thinking, he slid the MR280 along his chest to his side until the muzzle was pointing at Blake’s head. Realizing what he’d done, he jerked it back and tried to stifle his feelings.
It came out in a guttural sound, almost a growl. “And I bet you still believe in… Wait, what do you call him?”
Blake, mirroring her stance, face shoved close, was turning red.
“Oh, yes, I recall now…” Her voice was lilting when she mocked, “Santa Claus! Yes, that’s it. Santa Claus, Mr. Crenshaw!”
Who is this woman? Wait, he corrected, this Meline? Such fire and spirit. Afraid of nothing and no one.
Suddenly frosty, Blake answered with, “Well, the director will be sorry to hear of our inadequacy, and if it pleases the Madame Ambassador, let me offer my apologies.”
“What I’d really like, Mr. Crenshaw, is an immediate audience with the director, which I’m sure could be arranged if he really put his mind to it.”
He almost laughed out loud when Blake’s Adams apple bobbed with discomfort.
Damn, this lady is my hero!
“Well, I must apologize again, Madame Ambassador. That simply isn’t possible this evening. But I can assure you tomorrow’s meeting following a meeting of the board is firm.”
It resolved into a less than polite stare down which Blake lost when he rushed to add, “And I hope this small disagreement doesn’t hinder your presence this evening at the Corporate dinner. I mean, it is in your honor.”
Her response was frosty, “Why of course I’ll be there, Mr. Crenshaw. How on Meline could I dare not show up and risk the wrath of the mighty director and his board?”
He watched Blake’s smarmy smile fade and smiled himself as the twerp receded in retreat.
“Asshole,” he mumbled.
And she was on the move. Such grace, he thought, and with a start he realized she had a tail. No, not a tail. A wide fall of platinum-colored hair that matched the mane on her head. It fell from the base of her spine and snapped around her ankles covering her…haunches? Her ass? He didn’t know, but the soft swishing with each step was mesmerizing.
His mouth snapped shut and he fell in behind the Madame Ambassador from the Meline system and wanted to purr himself. He felt like some school kid following his favorite teacher, the one he had crushed on all school year, and decided his reaction was ridiculous.
A steward pushing a cart of luggage fell in and he guessed they were going to the ambassador’s suit. He knew she was here to plead for the United Corporation’s help in turning away escalating aggressions on her home planet, small insurgents by Zandill Death Warriors.
He also knew that the UC putting her off until tomorrow was a diplomatic slap in the face. As a fighting man, he knew exactly how urgent matters of war could be, and at some level, shared her rage.
This time when her scent drifted back, he hoped no one was looking while he breathed deep and reveled in it. It was dry and almost dusty, sweet and musky, with something like a texture he thought he could touch instead of smell. Her fragrance was driving him crazy. When his cock stirred again and his palms started sweating, he let her get a few steps ahead hoping he could get control of himself.
When she paused at the door to her suit and raised her hand to press on the imprint plate to open it, he stopped more than a respectful distance away and swallowed nervously.
Her demure glance and a beautiful smile drew him, and he shifted nervously pressing back against the opposite wall of the corridor for protection from…what? He had no idea. The steward pushed past with her luggage and he deliberately stared at the man’s back to avoid looking at the Madame Ambassador.
“I would like to speak with you if I may, sergeant.”
He noticed her expression, disconcerted embarrassment, but her inviting smile held firm.
He could feel her purr resonate at the base of his spine and crawl up to spread out across his back. It was really starting to piss him off.
He hadn’t wondered why he’d been given the assignment. He was a fuck up and he knew it. He not only knew it, he wore it like a badge and flaunted it in their faces every chance he got. And at twenty-eight, after ten years in the corps, diplomatic detail on a home station was about as far down as you could be knocked.
Everyone knew they were in one of the safest places in the galaxy. The chairman’s flagship—UC-1—was the last place anyone would try and start something. His presence was just for show. The fact a protection detail wasn’t assigned and he was the ambassador’s only honor guard said even more. Another slap in the face to the Meline people.
He’d made it to lieutenant and started his tumble after that little incident. Well, he still thought punching a Corporation Section Chief in the nose on Handrec was a small incident. Even Radd, his boot mate and lieutenant, still liked to laugh about it.
And, he decided, he may be the platoon fuck-up, but he wasn’t stupid. Other world ambassadors didn’t speak with underlings like himself. They gave them orders, normally barked through interpreters. He really didn’t think, given the way his body reacted every time she got close, he should be speaking with the Madame Ambassador.
He breathed a sigh of relief when she followed the steward through the door, leaving him to stare at a blank wall.
When the steward came out, the ambassador appeared behind him and purred,
“I said we must speak, if that’s possible.”
He dry swallowed, cradled his assault rifle, and openly regarded her incredulously. She stared back, a faint smile on her lips, her powder blue irises closed in tight slits.
“Well, ma’am, I’m not…”
The smile disappeared and she snapped sans purr, “No, I’m sure you’re not!”
What the hell did she mean by that? And what happened to the purr?
And she was gone, the door slid shut, and he was left to count the five red stars on the door that signified diplomatic housing.
“What the fuck?”
With a grunt he turned on his heel, and as only a true fuck-up could, fucked up again by abandoning his post in a huff.
* * * *
She was in a rage when her handmaiden came out of the cleaning room to find her pacing at the foot of the bed muttering in Meline.
“How could he? I mean…” She looked at the poor confused handmaiden for confirmation. “I’m a princess, am I not?”
There was no opportunity to answer.
“I mean, it was only an invitation to speak! Who does this male, this
no less, think he is anyway?”
“I’m sure I don’t know, Peenzan. What human would that be?”
Stopping in the middle of the room, she raised her hand and pointed accusingly to some indiscernible point beyond the bedroom walls, “That… that… that…”
“Should I find your mother, the queen?”
“Arghhhhh! No! Yes!”
When Pran pulled her communicator from a sleeve where her hands were hidden, Peenzan ran and grabbed it from her, “No! No! I can’t call her. It can’t be true. It’s just some…some… It’s the trip! That’s it! The trip.” She started pacing again. “Yes, Pran, it’s the trouble at home and the long voyage to get here!”