Diltan skewered her with a look that might have hurt her feelings had she not been tipsy. “There is a difference between being uptight and having dignity, Matara. If you weren’t so determined to shock everyone around you, you might recognize that.”
Rolat winced. Ouch. But Diltan did have a point.
Cissy’s glare was hot enough to set a fire. She poked Diltan in the chest with one red-polished nail. “I’m not out to shock everyone. I’m having fun; long overdue fun. You weren’t there, Mr. Tight-Ass. You weren’t a woman on Earth who no matter how careful she was, how proper she was, could be sent to prison or executed just on some man’s say-so. We were as prudish as dusty old maids, but one wrong word or look could make our lives hell in an instant.”
She stepped back and scowled. “I can drink. I can wear tiny bikinis. I can swear. I can have sex. For the first time in my life, no one has the right to judge me for it. Especially not a guy who probably never feared for his life or the lives of his loved ones for one single second, at least not over stupid shit like cutting loose and having some fun.”
Something in Diltan’s eyes softened at her diatribe. He blinked a few times and exchanged a look with Rolat. The Nobek saw his own pain for what Cissy had been through reflected in his Dramok’s eyes.
Diltan looked again at Cissy, who waited for his reply with a belligerent look on her face. He nodded. “You’re right, Matara. I have not been through what you have. I suppose if I hadn’t been allowed to be young and a little crazy until later, I too would not worry so much about appearances.”
Cissy stared, as if startled that he had agreed with her. A little smile tugged at one corner of her mouth. “You are the last person who should be worrying about appearances, Dramok Diltan.”
“Do you think so?”
She offered that amazing throaty laugh. “Damn right. You are an incredibly delicious-looking man. You could probably wander around naked all day and get away with it. Why don’t you give it a try?”
Tentatively scheduled for March release.