I always wondered why Plasian cougar Israla had a thing for the younger men and why she went through them so fast. I sent in gorgeous Earther Colonel Tyler Carter to find out.
He continued, his pleasant rumbling voice tripping over the words. “I know you prefer younger men. I’m not your type at all. But it’s all I have to trade, and sex seems to be the going currency for a man with little to no funds.”
Israla pressed her lips together. “I do not enjoy men who don’t find me attractive, Colonel.” Her tone could have frozen a raging inferno.
Tyler’s flicked a surprised glance at her before looking down again. “You are beautiful, Saucin. All Plasians are, but you’re the loveliest I’ve seen.”
It was Israla’s turn to be startled. “My sources say you’ve taken no lovers since coming to my planet, Colonel. I assumed you were not interested in our people or too repressed like most of your breed to want sex with us.”
Tyler crooked a self-conscious smile at her. “Plasians are very pleasing to the eye. And I enjoy sex very much.” His smile faded and his gaze went inward. “I did, anyway.”
Israla leaned forward, fascinated despite herself. “Who was she and what happened to her?”
Tyler’s eyes brightened with tears. “My wife Heather. We lived in Chicago, one of the cities hit by Armageddon.”
“There’s no chance she wasn’t there when the bomb went off?”
He shook his head slowly. “I’d spoken to her only an hour before the Kalquorians came through the wormhole. I told her we were preparing to transport home immediately to deal with the attack force that was threatening our defense grid. That I’d see her soon.”
“I’m so sorry.” Israla winced as she uttered the worthless sympathy. Empty, useless words, but that’s all that was left when the one who filled your heart was gone forever.
“Thank you.” He didn’t try to sound grateful, and that was all right.
The bombs had gone off a year and a half ago. Time enough to dull the worst of the agony, but the void within remained. Israla knew the pain well. She’d lived with her own version of it for forty years now.
“The Kalquorian emperors are determined to exact their brand of justice for the near-fatal attack on their Matara. They will not be easily convinced to give up their claim on those soldiers.”
Tyler took a deep breath. “You think it’s hopeless.”
“I think it will be exceedingly difficult.” Israla smiled tightly. “But I have good relations with one of their trusted councilmen, Dramok Rajhir. I will contact him about the matter and see what he can negotiate. If anyone can convince the Imperial Clan, it will be him. The emperors hold him in high esteem.”
Tyler blew out a breath. “I thank you for making the effort. No doubt you’d rather wash your hands of the whole affair.”
Israla shrugged. “I have worried about this issue for quite some time. I am prepared to keep those men in stasis indefinitely rather than see them put to death in the manner the Kalquorians would prefer.”
“Plasians are noted for their gentle nature.” Tyler licked his lips. “Now as to my side of the bargain—”
Israla held her hand up. “No need, Colonel. Your heart wouldn’t be in it.”
Did she imagine the flash of disappointment on his face? It was gone as fast as it had appeared. “You are too kind, Saucin. I realize I’m not your usual choice of playmate.”
She let her eyes drift to the window overlooking the side lawn of her property. About a dozen boy-men, clad only in tight-fitted shorts, romped on the lush mossy surface. They tossed an oblong object they called a football and tackled one another. So innocent and fresh. Pretty things to play with. She taught them carnal amusements and then sent them on their way. They often left her willingly, eager to experience others and expand their horizons. A few wanted to stick around for longer than Israla was comfortable with, but her aides often stepped in, distracting the younglings’ pursuit of happily ever after.
Israla found it imperative to not just teach the boy-men techniques for pleasing a woman sexually. They needed to know that relationships weren’t guaranteed, that ‘forever’ was actually a finite time span.
“You are a very attractive example of your species, Colonel, and I enjoy looking at you,” Israla assured him. She really did. Her gaze had already drifted from the younglings to peruse Tyler’s wide shoulders, the lovely vee of his torso as it tapered from those shoulders to his trim waist and the muscled thighs ill-concealed by his olive pants. Israla sighed before she could stop herself.
She cleared her throat. “However, you are not the kind of man I choose to share my body with.”
Tyler’s blue eyes were sharp as he stared at her face. “Who was he?”
Israla stilled. “Who was who?”
“The man you’re still in love with.”