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Shardana is very perceptive, if not psychic, and she reads Jase’s Shardanathoughts and emotions without his permission. She has discovered a name, one he thought he’d kept hidden—Althea. Jealous of the woman she’s never met, Shardana does her best to make him forget her.

Jase had no choice but to cooperate. He was at her mercy. She rolled on her belly, wiggling her shapely ass at him. She grinned at him coquettishly, pouting her lips. He knew what she wanted, warily complying. Soon, he lost himself in the act, giving her what they both desired.

This time, she fell asleep afterward, curled on her side. Nestled on the moss covered ground, her head cradled on her arm, she looked peaceful. Jase knew better than to touch her. Instead, he dressed and left her there, heading to his quarters which weren’t far away.

Shardana knew he had a place to stay, but he had never taken her there. It was his haven, his place to be alone. The scientists on his crew had done their best to camouflage it from Shardana and her people. Psy-blockers were in place as well as Tri-D holograms of the forest to hide it. They’d even set up special equipment to mask the odor so she couldn’t track him by his scent. Sophisticated machines erased his footprints, leaving the forest floor clean.

Jase accessed the security door. The air conditioner stayed on, cooling the interior to a far more comfortable temperature than the steamy jungle outside. Stripping out of his clothing, he had a long, hot shower and threw his clothing into an automatic washer. His clothing would be clean, dry and folded the next time he wanted them. He grabbed more clothing from a stack and dressed as he fixed himself something to eat. Having sex with Shardana always made him hungry.

It had been awhile since he’d had a meal not prepared over a fire that he’d had to catch for himself. Shardana might be Queen, but she didn’t have a castle or a staff of servants. She had subjects who knew to stay the hell away unless she wanted them, especially the males. Not known for her even temper, she was likely to mate and eat the man after—but only if she conceived. Like a praying mantis, she mated with the males of her species in order to get pregnant. Only Jase survived to service her another day.

A message light blinked on the console. He keyed in the code to receive, noticing that it had come while he showered. The screen flickered and he gazed into the dark blue eyes of Althea Marshall, his boss. She smiled winsomely, something that used to set his heart on fire. In fact, before being with Shardana, he’d had hopes of being with Althea.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes


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