Copyright © 2012 Opal Carew
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
“What is going on?” Crystal demanded.
As if on cue, the door slid open. She turned to see another gorgeous hunk of man step into the room. His honey-blond hair fell in waves to his shoulders, and his uniform jacket, adorned with three small gold ovals on the stand-up collar, hugged his broad, muscled chest.
The man’s deep turquoise eyes turned to Eva, and her breathing seemed to stop. He smiled, and her breath expelled. Crystal watched as Eva’s wide-eyed gaze remained locked on him as he moved to stand in front of them. This man seemed to be having the same effect on Eva as Terrien had on Crystal.
“Good evening, ladies. I’d like to welcome you to our ship, the Patira Alana. I am Commander Larson Raa-ling, the first officer. I’m sure this has been quite a shock for you.”
“Yeah, no kidding,” Crystal said.
“I want to assure you, you will not be harmed,” he continued.
“What do you want from us?” Jenna asked, her voice quavering.
“Let me explain why we have brought you here.”
He sat in the chair facing them and settled back into the cushioned upholstery. The tapered line of his uniform accentuated his broad shoulders and slim waist. From the fascinated expression on Eva’s face, she seemed to be mentally stripping away his uniform piece by piece.
Crystal could imagine his dark green jacket slipping away, followed by the shirt beneath, to reveal muscular arms and tight, ridged stomach muscles. He was a fine specimen, and she would love to fuck him, but when she tried to imagine it, images of Terrien replaced him.
“There is a power in the universe that takes a hand in our lives,” the commander said. “We call it nata’tai. It provides the means to keep us healthy, as individuals and as races.”
“We don’t want a lesson in alien religion,” Crystal sniped.
“To stay healthy,” he continued, “a race must grow. It must embrace other cultures. It must open its gene pool to other races, otherwise it will stagnate. Physically, emotionally and culturally.”
“Oh, my God, they’ve brought us here as breeding stock.” Jenna’s face paled.
Breeding stock? Crystal glanced at the other two women.
Eva held Jenna’s hand, her lips a tight line. Crystal sensed she was nearing the end of her rope. Eva stared at Commander Raa-ling and shifted in her seat. Her face went pale, and she seemed absolutely terrified.
“You have not been brought here to be sex slaves,” the commander reassured. “As a race matures, nata’tai gives its people the ability to sense their tanash’ae—what you would call their soul-mate—even over great distances. To ensure a mingling of races, nata’tai directs the spirits of tanash’aei—soul-mates—to be born in different races on different planets.”
“Soul-mates?” Jenna repeated in a hushed tone.
“That’s right. Each of you is the soul-mate of a member of this crew. That’s why you’ve been brought here. To meet your tanash’ae.”
“So you intend to convince us we’re in love with some guy, then use us for breeding,” Crystal scoffed.
“This has nothing to do with procreation. I’m talking about love.” He focused directly on Eva. “The love of two people destined to be together. Of people who make each other complete. Soul-mates. Tanish’aei.”
Eva seemed mesmerized by his words.
“Excuse me, Commander.” The woman who’d dragged Aria away stood in the doorway. The woman had two gold ovals on her collar, while the two men who stood by the door had none. Possibly they were a symbol of rank.
“Captain wants to see senior staff.”
“Thank you, Casey.” The commander rose. “Excuse me, ladies. You will remain here until someone is free to take you to your quarters. Make yourselves comfortable.”
He followed Casey, the female officer, out of the room, followed by the other two men. The door slid closed behind them, leaving Crystal and her companions alone in the room.
Crystal rose and approached the door, but it didn’t open. She flattened her hand on it, then dragged her fingers along the edge, searching for a way to trigger the mechanism.
“Are you okay, Eva?” Jenna asked, sliding her arm around Eva’s shoulders.
“Did you feel…funny…when that man came into the room?” Eva asked.
“What do you mean?” Jenna asked.
“She means were we hot for him.” Crystal turned to face them.
Eva shot her a glance, and Crystal shrugged.
“You were practically drooling over him, sweetie.” Crystal crossed the room and sat beside Eva. “He is definitely a hunk, but I find that other one—Terrien, I think they called him—much hotter. I really would love to jump his bones.”
That was the understatement of the century.
“Crystal, how can you think about that now?” Jenna asked. “We’ve been kidnapped by people from another planet.”
“That’s the key. They are people. Just like us.”
Eva shook her head. “How can you treat this so lightly?”
“We’re here,” Crystal responded. “I figure I’ll make the best of it. At home, a lay is a lay, but here…” She shrugged. “Well, who knows what special talents these alien hunks have?”
“They said they know who our soul-mates are.” Jenna stared into space.
“That might be what they believe, but I don’t buy it.” Crystal didn’t believe in soul-mates.
“Me neither,” Eva agreed.
After about twenty minutes, the door slid open, and Commander Raa-ling entered, followed by Casey and Terrien. Crystal’s body tingled with awareness of Terrien’s masculine presence.
“You’ll be taken to your quarters now,” Commander Raa-ling said to all of them. “If you have any more questions, pose them to your tanash’ae.”
Casey approached Jenna, and Terrien stepped toward Crystal, who stood up from the easy chair. She realized she had missed Terrien’s nearness, at the same time as she felt almost panicky at the increasing strength of his effect on her as he moved closer. He gazed into her eyes, then smiled, and the breath locked in her lungs. Oh, God, she needed to have this man. She desperately needed him to satisfy the intense craving deep inside her. He turned, and she followed him toward the door.
Eva leapt to her feet and stepped in front of them. “Don’t go with them. If we stay together, we have a better chance.”
“A better chance to what, Eva?” Crystal asked. She leaned close to Eva’s ear and murmured, “Look, I don’t believe in soul-mates, but I’m damned curious about sex with an alien. Especially one that looks like this hunk.” She glanced toward Terrien, then back to Eva and winked, then followed him toward the door.
Casey gestured to Jenna to follow her. Eva grasped Jenna’s sleeve.
“Don’t go,” Eva implored.
Eva’s gaze locked on Jenna’s.
“I’m sorry, Eva.” Jenna’s large, blue eyes pleaded for understanding.