He told Govi, “I thought we left things on such a good note with her. She was smiling when we said our goodnights.”
His Imdiko gave him a sad smile, a particularly poignant expression for such a beautiful face. “This is a damaged, frightened Earther, my Dramok. Michaela seems to feel unworthy of positive attention every bit as much as she craves it.”
Raxstad planted his hands on his hips and scowled at nothing in particular. “This is fucked up. How are we supposed to fix that if she won’t even see us?”
Govi sighed. “Welcome to my world.”
Korkla grimaced. “I have new respect for your work with the other Earther Mataras, my Imdiko. Now what do we do?”
The deep and familiar voice of Crown Prince Bevau had all three men turning and bowing in an instant. He moved down the hall as silent as any member of the Nobek breed.
If there was any man more stunning in looks than Korkla’s Imdiko clanmate Govi, it was Bevau. The prince had been graced with perfect bone structure and flawless beauty, from his chiseled face to his gracefully muscled body. As content as Korkla was with his own Nobek, he couldn’t help but appreciate the singular magnificence of the prince. He was simply gorgeous.
Bevau’s hands were improbably full with flowers, apparently just picked from Israla’s gardens. Seeing the handsome warrior carrying posies made Korkla chuckle along with Raxstad, while Govi blinked with a bemused look on his face.
Fortunately, Bevau had a better sense of humor than most Nobeks, so Korkla indulged in a little teasing of the younger man. “Since when did you become a gardener, my prince?” he asked.
Bevau smirked at him. “You should research your Earther customs better, Korkla. The females love receiving flowers, apparently. It’s traditional to give them in honor of important observances and to apologize with.”
Korkla’s smile faded. “Apologize?”
Bevau’s grin also dropped off. His look darkened, showing some of the fierceness of his designated breed. “Clajak was himself with Matara Jessica McInness last night. He didn’t bother looking into Earther customs either and offended her. He also managed to upset Egilka, but my Imdiko is not one to be mollified with pretty plants.”
Govi winced, but Korkla kept his demeanor unresponsive. Dramok Crown Prince Clajak, his employer, was a good man at heart. Unfortunately, he also possessed a quick temper and an even quicker tongue that spoke before the young man thought. Refusal to accept responsibility for much of his actions was also a great failing of Clajak’s; one Korkla spent a lot of time dealing with the fallout of.
Korkla bit back a sigh. He should have figured on Clajak being clumsy with the Earther Jessica McInness. He asked Bevau, “Should I speak to him, my prince?”
Bevau gave him a knowing smile. “Not this time, Korkla. Let him stew and reflect on his actions for a bit. He’ll end up kicking his own ass better than any of us could.”
Korkla chuckled. “He might have a temper, but he also has plenty of conscience. He’ll one day learn to think first and act later.”
Bevau laughed. “That’s the dream that keeps me hopeful. How was your meeting with the little intersex dancer?”
Korkla’s humor dissipated as he was reminded of Michaela. “We thought it went well, but either she’s not answering her door or she’s made a run for it. Govi thinks she’ll be his greatest challenge.”
Tentative release set for June.