Two years since the Klevians sent a message to Earth when they finally deign to answer, it's in the form of a human female in desperate need of Tacori's help. For his world, he will spend time with her. But under no circumstances will he fall to a bond with a mere human.
Evelyn is on a mission to stall all-out war. But when the ship she is on is taken by alien pirates and she ends up on a Klevian vessel, her mission is thrown into chaos. Evelyn doesn't have room in her life for anything else, let alone a four-armed crimson-skinned Klevian warrior, but she will do anything in her power to save the crew and build bridges with the hostile alien race.
It's not enough Tacori has to deal with a sarcastic AI for the new ship he's testing, but now a human female is in need of his help. Ordered by his king not to touch her under any circumstances, Tacori is horrified to find the very presence of Evelyn is seared into his consciousness. As they come closer to achieving their goal Tacori realises he has one chance to take a mate and if he lets her go, he'll regret it forever. But how can he, when it means betraying his king?
There were many similarities between the Vusa and the Klevians. No one had ever done a genetic test, but there were Klevian scientists who’d long suspected that the Vusa, with their similar morphology, were closely related to the Klevians.
Tacori looked from one to another now. Vusa and Klevians were similar in height, though the Vusa were without horns. They were leaner than Klevians but still had the familiar four arms, which they used to move across the market stall, serving customers quickly and efficiently before moving to the next. They had thick hair of blue and black, which they wore long and decorated with bells and beads that rattled and tinkled as they worked.
One of them looked up at Tacori and then Evelyn; his blue eyes stood out in his black sclera, taking the two of them in. No doubt confused at the unlikeliness of it all before continuing on with his work.
‘Can we talk to some of them?’ Evelyn asked, standing nervously at his side. ‘Will they understand me?’
‘If they do not, they will understand me.’
‘We asked some of your allies for your language files so we could talk to you,’ Evelyn said. 'None of them would help us. Do you think they treat our language files the same way?’
Tacori couldn’t help grinning. ‘I doubt it,’ he said. ‘There’s a good chance they have already traded your files with the Vusa.’
‘Well, let’s find out.’
Evelyn stepped forward, and immediately an Orovod walked into her. Tacori grabbed her before she could hit the floor. Her eyes were wide, the fear echoed his own, and his rage rose. Setting her to her feet, he grabbed the Orovod who'd walked on without acknowledging her.
'Watch where you're going!’ he shouted, spinning him around. ‘You almost knocked her down.’
'What? Did I?' The male looked terrified and was looking around to find the 'she' Tacori was speaking of.
‘Are you stupid? You didn’t feel—’
Even under the layers of his armour, Tacori could feel her touch. How could this alien claim to not feel colliding with her hard enough to knock her down when even the lightest touch dominated every inch of Tacori’s body?
Instantly, the rage subsided. He looked down into her eyes and felt himself get lost.
‘It’s okay. It was an accident.’ Her fingers reached out to his gloved hand and pried them from the Orovod. ‘Let him go,’ she whispered. ‘I’m fine.’
Before he realised what was happening, the Orovod had disappeared into the crowd. A crowd that had stilled and fallen silent, watching the human calm an undisciplined Klevian warrior.
Tacori blinked, watching the crowd exchange whispers and shocked glances.
‘Help me talk to these Vusa, will you?’ Evelyn said, pulling his attention back to her.
Tacori ran his eyes over her. Kinked hair fell loose over one shoulder. Her skin glistened under the multicoloured lights of the Vusa market. Her body, while small, was lush and ripe and ready to bear his children.
What is happening to me?
She pulled on him again, and Tacori found himself following along with her willingly. Feeling a prickle on the back of his neck, Tacori looked up and saw a sharply dressed Vusa watching them closely, a calculating look on his face.
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