Authors: Michelle M. Pillow
Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #Paranormal, #Werewolves & Shifters, #Demons & Devils, #Science Fiction
“There is nothing about this night that is going as it should,” he continued.
Her eyes moved down to his crystal. She breathed hard. Without giving it much thought, she said, “Is the phosphorescence caused by the night time? I know some phosphorus fuels have such properties, though they are rare.”
“You wish to know about the crystal? Now?” Alek gave a small laugh. He reached between them, not bothering to pull their bodies apart. Lifting the crystal, he traced her lips with it. The cool stone contrasted the heat coming off their bodies. She felt the slight buzz of electrical current in the stone. “I was given this crystal when I was born. My father dove to the bottom of Crystal Lake, plucked it from the rock, and it has been with me ever since. And, until you were near me, it has never so much as twinkled.”
“How can that be?” She reached to take it from him and stared into its glowing center. She found herself being pulled into its depths.
“The will of the gods,” he stated simply. “When our crystal glows we know what fate has chosen for us. It is why we have these ceremonies. The crystal chooses a match, the woman agrees to it and it is done. We trust in the power of the crystal to guide us.”
“That doesn’t make much sense, scientifically speaking, I mean.”
He took the crystal back. A fire ignited in her where he drew slow, lazy circles against her shoulder and throat with the stone. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes.
“The stone reacts to what is naturally between us, showing us the will of our hearts before we are even aware of it ourselves,” he whispered. “Or perhaps it is magic, a spell cast by your beauty that I am unable to resist. I have even broken our law by allowing us to finish what we started this night.” He glanced down to where the stickiness of their joining was drying between them. “It has to be a spell to make me forget tradition.”
“I don’t think we did finish.” Her eyes move back up to meet his. An ache had settled inside her. “Not really. I mean, I assume by the look of you that you are made to fit against me differently.” Why was she suddenly hesitant and blushing like some innocent? Fit against me differently? Had she really just said that like she didn’t already know? What was wrong with her? She was normally quite articulate when it came to discussing, well, anything. Unable to think clearly and a little embarrassed by her sudden idiocy, she tried to correct her vague terminology by adding, “Inside me differently.”
Never mind, she was suddenly brainless. She knew how sex was supposed to work. So, okay, yeah, she wasn’t as experienced as a Galaxy Playmate, but she wasn’t a virgin. Why in the high skies was she suddenly speaking like she’d grown up in a laboratory cage?
His eyes narrowed. If she wasn’t mistaken, he looked concerned. “You did not meet with pleasure?”
“I’m saying we didn’t actually
finish, so surely there is no law broken. We didn’t complete the act.”
Kendall was pretty sure she should stop talking. It didn’t help that the man next to her was hard to read. Yes, he smiled and frowned, but the gestures were slight and there always seemed to be more behind his eyes.
Alek seemed to contemplate her words for a long moment. A slow smile curved his lips. “I have never considered the custom in such a way. It was always assumed…” He pushed up from the bed, a grin spreading across his features. Jerking the loincloth from underneath his hip, he tossed it off the bed. Already his shaft had begun to enlarge. Before she could react, he had his hands on her pants and was pulling them off her legs.
Kendall made a weak noise. Well, perhaps she had been mistaken. Alek’s intent wasn’t hard to read at all.
* * *
In the back of his mind, Alek knew the interpretation of what could and could not be done on the wedding night was not as vague as his new bride suggested. Yet, as a man with needs building inside him like an eruption about to surge forth from a thermal pocket in the mines, he couldn’t bring himself to argue her logic. To his thinking, the damage, if any, was already done. There was no reason to deny them both. Tomorrow he would atone.
He tossed her pants onto the floor and took her by the hand. If he wasn’t mistaken, he saw a slight tinting to her cheeks. Embarrassment? He looked over her body, to the torn shirt hanging about her shoulders. The ripped sides did nothing to hide her perfect breasts from view. Her skin looked soft, exotic, tan and supple. He remembered the feel of her beneath his hands. The texture of her flesh contrasted the hardness of his. She had no reason for embarrassment.
He led her toward the bath, eager to continue their exploration. Pausing near the tub, he pushed the shirt from her shoulders. The crystal pulsed, lightening her face briefly. It was as if the stone sensed the need growing inside of them. She breathed deeply and closed her eyes.
Alek stepped into the water and sank down into the warm depths. He didn’t let go of her hand as he waited for her to join him. She gave a nervous glance around the tent before stepping inside the tub. Alek let go, but only so he could lather soap between his hands. As she began to kneel in the water, he stopped her by running his soapy fingers up her thighs. Kendall’s breath caught and she remained upright.
Alek took his time, washing her legs, her stomach, her waist and ass. Her hips rotated ever so slightly in the air. Soft sighs escaped her. Next, he found her breasts. Kneeling before her, he ignored the blatant throbbing in his overly tight erection. The water lapped against his sensitive shaft and balls. He lifted her breasts, watching from below as nipples slipped between fingers. The erotic sight nearly did him in. A small shudder of appreciation rolled through him.
“Alek,” she whispered. The very sound of his name said in such a way nearly drove him to the brink. She bent her knees and slithered down into his arms. He couldn’t resist pressing his face against her stomach. He moved his head into the valley of her breasts. The sting of soap met his tongue.
She pushed into him, forcing him to sit back on his legs. Alek hugged her closer, moving her against his erection. By all that was sacred. The slick feel of her enraptured him until all he could see was her. Surely this was what it meant to be blessed by the gods. Nothing in his life had felt so perfect.
He wanted to thrust inside her but clung to the very last of his common sense to hold back. He would not dishonor her by consummating their relationship completely. Instead, he held her hips and pressed her firmly against his stomach. The length of his arousal kissed her sex. They rocked in perfect unison. Soap and water, hands and flesh, mouths and tongues.
“Mm, Alek,” Kendall whispered against his mouth. She held him by the sides of his face, keeping him against her kiss. Their tongues moved alongside each other, dipping and retracting in long, hot strokes.
He held her along her back, his palms flat against her as she rocked into him. Her hands slipped and he lowered his face onto her chest, feeling the wet glide of her breasts against his cheeks. A nipple slipped across his mouth and he quickly pulled it between his teeth. She gasped as he bit lightly.
Alek growled. It would be so easy to finish it, to join with her. The promise of more to come kept him from staking complete claim. She was his. He would have her again. They had a whole lifetime to join physically.
Possession filled him. The crystal’s glow illuminated her face. The wet stroke of their bodies shoved them roughly over the edge. They jerked in unison, riding their shared climax to its explosive end. Her hands gripped his shoulders and her heavy, satisfied gasps echoed around him.
“You are a fine wife,” he said, grinning.
She pulled back to look at him. Her eyes searched his. Breathless, she whispered, “What? I told you I don’t speak your native language.”
“You are beautiful,” he answered, slipping back into the star language, having forgotten what he’d said moments before. “I am a lucky man.”
Kendall looked out of the tent at the campground. Behind her, Alek slept on the bed. His limbs were spread out, taking up most of the space. For some reason, she couldn’t help thinking he must be a man used to sleeping alone, otherwise he would have naturally left her half the bed. A servant walked by carrying folded clothes in his arms. He glanced in her direction but said nothing as he went to another tent to drop off his bundle. Kendall had found a dress, matching tunic shirt and male pants outside the tent when she awoke. Since Alek had ripped her shirt the night before, she thought it only fair he replaced it. She took the tunic meant for him. The way she saw it—a shirt for a shirt. Dresses were not her style. Skirts were impractical on a fueling dock. At any time she could be called to run the pumps or crawl into a maintenance hatch, or forced to run the lengths of the docks to scoop up her drunken father before he gambled away something they couldn’t live without.
Darkness was gone, replaced by a soft green haze of light. To the left of the tent-filled valley, a colossal forest stretched into the distance. The green, overlarge leaves had begun to expand now that daylight had returned to them. Their night of rest was over. The trees towered high above the planet’s surface, thicker than some of the smaller spacecrafts that landed on her fueling dock home. She’d been lost in those trees? What had she been thinking, running off in the dark into that thick wilderness? She was lucky it was Alek who’d found her and not some wild beast.
“My lady?” The servant who had been carrying the clothes paused in his return journey. He looked at her expectantly. Kendall shook her head in denial and pulled the flap down over her face. She waited several minutes before looking out again. The servant was gone.
It was early. The Galaxy Brides’ ship might still be in orbit. She poked at her hand. She couldn’t go back to the ship. They would know who she was and would make her marry someone, if not here, then on the next stop. She might not get another chance to get away. Thanks to Alek, they believed her contractual duty was done. She wondered how exactly the Qurilixian men paid for brides—by potential shipment or by units kept. Would Alek have to pay for her even if she didn’t stay? She swallowed down her guilt. She would just have to find a way to pay him back no matter the cost.
“Where are you going?” Alek asked, jarring her from her thoughts. He didn’t sound sleepy. She turned to see his clear eyes studying her and wondered how long he’d been awake.
“Nowhere, for now,” she answered. “I didn’t mean to wake you. I was trying to be quiet.”
“You didn’t. I heard the servant come by to drop off our clothing this morning.”
“But…” She looked down at the tunic she wore. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
His lips pulled up into a mischievous grin. “It was adorable to watch you sneak around.” Then, lifting a brow, he added, “Especially when you climbed out of bed naked.”
She gave a small laugh and looked back outside the tent. Tiny particles of dust danced in the sunlight. She watched them drift aimlessly. They reminded her of the old air vent she and Margot had turned into a fort. The cleaning droids couldn’t get into the space, and when the sisters had climbed in and stirred the dust, it had danced in the artificial light streaming through the old grate. For a moment, the sound of Margot’s giggle echoed inside her mind. A wave of pain and worry washed over her heart.
“I am going to need my shirt back before we finish the ceremony,” Alek said. She heard him move off the bed. When she drew her gaze from the dust-stirred memory, she found he was almost to the food table. He glanced over it, absently plucking one of the chocolates off the pile and tossing it into his mouth as if it were nothing special. She eyed the treat, wanting a piece but unwilling to take one of the expensive morsels. Kendall knew there was no way a man like Alek could afford it—especially if he couldn’t afford to lend her the passage fare home.
He was naked from the night before. In the soft daylight she could make out every detail of him perfectly. His dark hair was tousled. It added an intimate, sleepy beauty to the scene. His muscles flexed, drawing attention to his back. The shallow valley of his spine cut a path downward, encouraging her eyes to the very firm cheeks of his ass.
“Is the chocolate provided by the planet’s royalty?” Kendall’s throat was dry. She forced her gaze away from his ass to the tent wall. The harder she tried not to look, the more she found her eyes glancing in his direction.
His expression was quizzical when he looked back at her. “No. It’s part of our trade agreements. The monks use a lot of fuel ore to travel the universes on their missionary tours. I suppose one of my brother’s servants ordered it. I actually never thought to ask.”
“I see.” Kendall swallowed, a little unnerved as to where she was supposed to turn her gaze. It was one thing to be next to him in the haze of darkness and desire, quite another to watch him move about naked as if flesh was his every day attire. As his body angled to the side showing the proud glory of his manhood nestled between his thighs, she again turned her attention to the tent wall.
“What is it?” Alek crossed toward her but stopped when she pulled her arms closer to her sides. It was a little hard to concentrate when he looked the way he did. She wondered if he was even aware of it. Then, thinking of the fact they wore loincloths in hopes of having a marital ceremony, she doubted he cared.
“You don’t think I am good to my word. That is why you refused to lend me the passage fare to my home.” The idea made her sad, though she could understand it. Despite the fun they’d had, they were essentially strangers.
“I have no reason to doubt your word.”
Kendall let her lids shade her eyes as she glanced to the side. His cock had lifted some. She tugged at the hem of her borrowed shirt. “Ah, forgive me. I assumed you had access to family money to afford chocolate and servants. I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions. It was very rude of me.” She absently touched her hand, rubbing at it to find the tracker. Her skin itched the more she thought about the device in there. “I’m just desperate to find my way home.”