Sensual Sentient ♥ Episode 6

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Blake was right behind her, when Sida shoved off the ground and raced back down the ferny slope toward camp. They could hear Ketha’s voice cutting through the melee, shouting orders in between shots fired. Night abruptly turned into day when the patrol cruiser crested the ridge right behind them, forcing them to hit the ground again. Sida lost her footing in the process and slid downhill on her ass, before tumbling into somersaults. Mid-roll, Blake lifted her from the ground and tossed her further ahead. With a startled, winded grunt, she glanced over her shoulder to see a proton net hit the ground where she’d just been and disperse.

“Thanks.” She managed, when he grabbed her hand and pulled her back into the race beside him. Her head was spinning from the continuous momentum, but her vision was clear as ever. “That’s a Meylosian cruiser!”

“Noticed,” he shouted over the propulsion system and thrusters hitting the jungle with the force of a tropical storm. Leaves and vines thrashed all around them, kicking up tiny whirlwinds of debris. “I thought they were neutral?”

“So did I!” she hollered back, as they dodged another net. They both saw something big and dark race through the underbrush up ahead. “What was that?”

“Not a Meylosian.”

“It looked humanoid,” Sida observed.

“Less science, more running for your life!” Blake shot, tossing her earlier command back in her face.

Two more creatures passed them, running in the opposite direction, surefooted and extraordinarily fast through the jungle. Right toward the cruiser. Their leaping grace could’ve belonged to a gazelle or jungle cat, but they were definitely humanoid.

“DUCK!”

Sida was tackled to the ground, as Blake covered her and another net flew right over their bodies to disperse on a tree.

“Sonofabitch!” she snarled, lunging to her feet as soon as she was able, and forcing her legs to work even faster than before.

Another creature charged out of the trees right before them. That close, there was no mistaking the long poleaxe in its hand; just as black as the rest of it and glinting as menacingly as its red, reflective eyes. The NT appeared male and had to be no less than seven-feet tall, wearing some kind of head-to-toe body armor that looked more like a second skin. At the sight of them, its lips peeled back in a dangerous growl. Sida lifted her rifle, but it merely darted around them like an agile deer. In the next instant, they witnessed all of the NTs use the trees to ricochet jump high into the air and land atop the cruiser in a matter of seconds. Their saber-tipped spears cut right through the hull of the ship like it was made out of paper.

“Sida, run!” Blake yelled in panic, when the cruiser tilted drastically and headed into a nosedive right toward the forest floor. The thickness of the treetops and vines kept it from impacting as explosively as they’d both been fearing, but it still shook the entire planet it seemed. “Don’t stop, I think there’s more!”

Without the one to slow them down, it was only a matter of seconds before Sida finally surged through the last bit of jungle and into their small camp. She nearly collided with another NT and three of her own people trying to run out of the camp–and by the time she realized why, it was too late. A neon blue net was flying right for them and she’d put herself directly in its path. Strong hands shoved her sideways from behind, sending her flying to the ground so hard, she skidded on her stomach. Sucking in a sharp breath, she rolled onto her side and scrambled off the ground to stop what was about to happen, only to watch the net wrap around the entire group all at once–including the one who’d just saved her ass.

“BLAKE!” she screamed in horror to see him and three more of her crew getting hauled away in the net. She ran after them, screaming like it would change anything. “Blake! Johansen! No, no, NO!”

There was a third cruiser that both her team and the NTs were working together on battling, but Sida dodged them, still chasing the one carrying a net full of her people away. Switching her rifle to max reserves, she was racing on pure adrenaline. The multitude of injuries and fiery burn of exertion in her muscles were numbed by it. When she finally had a clear shot, she stopped, aimed and curled her finger over the trigger. The cruiser cleared the ledge, soaring over the valley and putting the captives at immediate risk of death from the fall if she took the shot.

“Dammit, DAMMIT!” she raged.

Sida watched helplessly as her people grew more and more distant through the scope of her rifle, and the guilt that instantly swamped her was intense. One of the NTs leaped right in front of her like a solid wall of black. He growled threateningly, because one of his own was also in the net and he obviously believed she was still planning to take the shot. Sida gave two shits about his reasons. Frustrated, fighting tears and racked with guilt, she growled in outrage right back at him. The alien jerked upright and its animal-like eyes widened as if startled.

“Captain!”

Keeping her weapon aimed at the NT, Sida slowly backed away from it, toward Ketha’s voice.

“Are you hurt?” she asked the Lieutenant.

“My leg,” Ketha admitted, limping to her. “I think I fractured it. Why are the Meylos attacking?”

“I don’t know, but–”

Sida’s words faltered when the NT she’d just had a growling match with started advancing on them and as he did, the black armor that covered him began to disappear. Underneath was a very humanoid male with dark golden skin, slightly pointed ears and long hair of jet black wearing nothing more than a dark, calf-length sarong. The only thing that didn’t change were his eyes, remaining the same orange-red hue that reflected the light like a felines. In that moment, Sida may have believed that Egyptian gods were real, because she was staring right at one.

“Captain.” Another familiar voice called out.

Sida pivoted to see Ensigns Darling and McConnell being led into the area at the spear points of more NTs who were still covered in all black. It had to be some kind of bio-armor encoded in their DNA, a natural defense triggered by a chemical reaction whenever they sensed danger or fear. A sort of retractable exoskeleton possibly made out of a form of keratin. But where did it retract to, their pores? The scientist in her was practically frothing at the mouth.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a fourth NT stalk around the others and head right for the unarmored one. He asked Goldy a question and the fact that Sida’s translator didn’t kick on, meant it was an alien language Earth hadn’t discovered yet. Goldy answered while gesturing at Sida and Ketha, so the other stepped toward them, his armor also receding to reveal the flesh underneath. Sida wished she could watch the process under a high-powered microscope. Her eyes tried so hard to narrow in on the action, but it was too damn dark. Then she peered into his face and immediately took a step back, lifting her rifle again, because he was more. So much more than the other one.

His features were ten times more delicious, his mouth alone triggered an insane amount of fantasies to race through her mind. Desires she’d never even been aware of, and Sida Marx was not a bashful girl! Without pause, he grabbed the barrel of her rifle and lifted it before she could even hope to get a shot off, holding it upright between them as he towered over her. His eyes drank in every minute detail of her face, as if she were the most fascinating thing he’d ever seen. Then, he reached out and caressed the wild strands of her hair, which had been whipped free of her braid. She’d lost her hat somewhere between dodging nets and NTs, apparently. Even as she jerked her head out of his reach, an enticing musk filled all of Sida’s senses. Her stomach gurgled in hunger and her throat dried from thirst, despite the saliva forming along her tongue with craving.

“De-etto,” he ordered, his voice an aphrodisiac to her ears.

Sida shook her head, not only because she didn’t understand him, but to dislodge the drugging effect he had over her mind.

“De-etto,” he repeated, but this time he touched his fingers to her throat.

Electricity crackled through her, instantly weakening her muscles. Pure, unadulterated lust speared right through her core to flood her thighs. As her entire body heated and grew lax, her brain continued to cloud over, going under a blanket of sensations thicker than the humidity. Her reaction had the NT’s eyes flashing wide and his musk intensified, smothering her. Sida was wrapped up in his strong arm and pulled into his hard body. Need surged through her veins, and she was certain her arousal scented the air, because the NT inhaled deeply as if he could smell it.

Whatever neurons in her brain that were meant to trigger embarrassment, outrage, survival instincts–something–appeared to be malfunctioning, because all she wanted to do was let this alien have his way with her until she forgot her own damn name. But the bastard was doing it on purpose. Using it as a weapon against her. Sida had too much training in psychic and cognitive psychological warfare not to recognize it when it was hitting her full force. Knowing that made it easier for reason to break through the fog and remind her of the very real and frightening situation she was in. Like the fact that part of her crew had just been abducted by Meylosians and the others were either injured or in possible danger from the natives. Sida grabbed onto the insult of his deliberate attack, added it to the frustration, panic and guilt, and prepared to do as much damage as possible.

Fuck diplomacy.

The NT’s eyes swam with the promise of death by pleasure, vowing to give her more than she’d ever dreamed possible and when his gaze dropped to her mouth, she couldn’t escape the full-body shiver. That’s when she swung. He was too humanoid. Too gloriously male and sensually potent. His lush mouth moved closer to hers, their breaths mingling and the sensation went somewhere deeper than it should have. She fought with teeth gritting determination, but her vision still went hazy, even as her knuckles connected with his jaw. The second point of physical contact was like shooting herself with a proton pistol. It fried her brain completely, even while pleasure rippled all the way to her toes.

©A.C. Melody

Hope you enjoyed this new episode and thanks for reading! Again, you can find all episodes of my two current serials under “The Wicked Web” link on the menu above. Stay tuned…

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Thief of Dragons ♥ Episode 6

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Just Between Us Girls

Roehn found the Ladies’ room, managing to walk at a normal pace when all she wanted to do was run. The distance from Arcylaen didn’t help nearly as much as she needed it to, because his words followed her, replaying in her mind.

“…there will never be any descendants of the Black Dogs…”

It wasn’t that he was wrong. There was a chance Roehn would never have any children of her own. It was the fact that he’d sounded so damn grateful about it. Proud to have had a hand in ensuring there would never be another Cayen on Cauldex. Ever. It merely reinforced her belief in what she was doing; that it was the only way. No one would ever look at her without seeing all the crimes of her family. They wouldn’t care that she’d been one of their victims. They’d never accept she could be different. Arcylaen had just confirmed that.

He felt strongly in his convictions and probably had every right to, but Roehn couldn’t feel that. She couldn’t sympathize with him, because she hadn’t been on Cauldex. All she’d ever learned since returning home, was one side of the story. All the evidence of her family’s crimes had already been wiped clean, so how could she possibly feel for any of them? She only knew the facts. The Dragons had everything that rightfully belonged to her and the only way to get it back–to make something right out of all her family’s wrong–was to take it without anyone knowing.

Roehn had to follow through with her plans. Now more than ever, she knew what had to be done. She needed to turn her inheritance into something positive. Something more than just a temporary museum exhibit or a relic to boast a victory over. Even if Arcylaen never knew of it, or any of the other citizens of Cauldex, for that matter. She didn’t need to validate a theory or prove that good choices could be made, she merely needed to make them. Starting with the House of Cayen.

If she could smuggle the other Cauldexian outcasts to the planet, even just one at a time, she could teach them the Forbidden Art of tricking their blood into casting any Echelonite of their choosing. Coming up with borrowed identities would be the tricky part, but there had to be a way. Too many innocent people were crammed into space stations, exiled and forgotten, struggling to survive with no home to call their own all because they’d been born different. It wasn’t right!

Her other problem was Arcylaen, himself. The Dragon was irritatingly gorgeous, funny and straightforward. She didn’t like it. Fine, she did like it, that was the problem. Roehn didn’t want to like anyone, least of all a Dragon. She wasn’t keen on the distraction nor the idea of him keeping close tabs on her. He was bound to do that anyway, thanks to her recent real estate investment, but that’s why she’d taken the position at the museum. She’d been hoping it would clear her of any suspicion.

Roehn would just have to make sure the Dragon lost interest. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d been forced to dissuade a man’s unwanted attention–and Arcylaen was far from being a horny mercenary lacking all sense of morals. That should make it easier, right?

After freshening up at the sink, she gave her reflection a determined look and turned to put that plan into action. She was nearly to the door, when it swung open and a female Dragon waltzed in. She was just as physically flawless as the rest of them. Her milky complexion and vibrant red hair was matched with a whole lot of green, rather than gold. Her gown, her eyes and the dragon coiled proudly around her upper arm, resting its body over the slope of her shoulder.

“Well hello,” she smiled with open contempt. “I was wondering if I’d get the chance to meet you tonight.”

Roehn reminded herself that she was on Cauldex, not in a space station and plastered a polite smile on her face.”Hello. Leandra Leontle of Meive.”

“So, I heard,” the Dragon ignored the hand Roehn offered. “It seems you’ve managed to make the grand entrance into Lonnex you were undoubtedly hoping for. The whole room’s abuzz. It must be thrilling for someone like you to have two of the most eligible bachelors in the country squabbling like children over your attention. I’m sure once the novelty wears off, they’ll come back to their senses.”

Ugliness of the soul was an insidious disease that no amount of wealth or privilege could cure. The Dragon was no better than half the misfit girls she’d run across in the first nineteen years of her life, and certainly no worse than the handful of trust-fund snobs she’d encountered in Meive since. That just made it all the more pathetic. As did the clichéd ‘cornering the other girl in a bathroom’ routine.

Roehn smiled coolly. “I suppose I better enjoy it while it lasts, then. Thank you so much for the heads up.”

It was no surprise when the Dragon blocked her path the moment Roehn tried to step around her, but it caught Shursja’s attention. The panther sat straight up, without stretching first, her tail flicking against the back of Roehn’s shoulder.

The Dragon scoffed in amusement. “How cute,” she mocked, her reptilian eyes sliding back to Roehn’s. “Since you’re obviously unaware of how things work here in the civilized world, let me explain. I am Eleqwyn of House Turvo, second only to House Draea, and it has already been written that our Houses are next in line to unite through marriage. You see, Dragons never dilute their blood by mating with other species. So please, do enjoy whatever attention Arcylaen gives you while it lasts, because in the end, you’ll still be nothing more than an untitled, Houseless Cat from the savage jungles of Meive who could never live up to the standards–or needs–of the Dragon’s Head.”

What? Arcylaen was the Dragon’s Head? As in, the leader of the Thirteen Dragon Houses? The ability to hide her shock was too easy, a habit too ingrained, forged in a world Eleqwyn Turvo wouldn’t last two seconds inside of, but this insight definitely changed things. It changed everything.

Roehn stood her full height with her chin lifted confidently and looked the woman dead in the eyes so she could see how unimpressed and unaffected Roehn was by her attempt at intimidation.

“That was quite an eloquent speech, Lady Turvo, which makes me wonder just often you feel obligated to make it,” she began, pleased to watch the arrow hit its mark when fire leapt into the Dragon’s eyes. “You know who I think would really love to hear it the most, though, is your betrothed. He is your betrothed, right? That’s basically what you just outlined for my untitled, savage mind to grasp? What, no engagement party yet?”

Glancing at the woman’s empty ring finger pointedly, she made to step around her again. When the Dragon attempted to grab her, Shursja rose to all fours with a dangerous, hissing growl. It was enough to have the Lady pulling her hand back quickly, even though her own Echelonite had gone into a defensive stance.

“Since you’re obviously unaware of how I work, Lady Turvo, let me give you some advice. No one with half a brain is ever intimidated by someone who’s too afraid to speak their mind outside the four walls of a women’s bathroom, so you might want to rethink your little stake-a-claim campaign. I suggest growing the spine to tell Arcylaen how you feel to his face, rather than cornering every last woman you find threatening,” Roehn let her gaze rake over the woman with just as much disdain as she’d been given. “That’s got to be getting exhausting.”

Roehn opened the door and stalked out with the satisfaction of Lady Turvo’s fuming glare burning into the back of her skull. She swore under her breath, when she saw Arcylaen pacing the end of the corridor fifty feet ahead. For the love of the cosmos, why?!

One hour into her first night with the society of Lonnex and Roehn had already reached her drama limit. Times like these made her appreciate the simplicity of life aboard the space stations, where everyone coming at you wore their intentions proudly, never bothering to hide the scumbags they were. Not that all outcasts were bad, the ratio wasn’t that unbalanced, but compared to the ‘civilized’ world…it was a hell of a lot more honest.

Resigned to the fact that she wouldn’t be able to shake Arcylaen’s presence if he didn’t want to be shaken, Roehn squared her shoulders and headed right for him. The last thing she wanted was to get caught with him in the corridor when Lady Turvo decided to exit the restroom. That would just be all kinds of awkward. Not to mention Roehn didn’t want to give even the slightest impression that she was partaking in the Lady’s fight over the Lord. Eleqwyn could have him.

“Lord Draea,” she greeted shortly, walking past him so he’d be forced to follow her if he wanted to talk. When he pivoted on his heel and came up beside her, she cast him a mildly chastising glance. “Is it normal for men to lurk outside the Ladies’ Room in Lonnex?”

His eyes floated over her from head to toe and back again. “I said something that upset you,” he replied. “I’m sorry for whatever it was.”

“How can you be sorry for something, when you have no idea what it is?” She questioned, heading directly to the nearest waiter.

More alcohol was precisely what she needed to get through the rest of the Gala. Arcylaen held his tongue while they both selected from the tray, but was quick to take Roehn’s elbow and direct her toward the wall for privacy.

“I can be sorry for upsetting you, even if I don’t know the exact reason,” he replied.

Oh sure, be sincere. Taking a healthy drink of her champagne, she eyed the Dragon. The Dragon’s Head. Eleqwyn’s words echoed in her mind, a warning and a temptation. Maybe if she gave him something of the truth, he would finally leave her the hell alone.

“You didn’t upset me, Lord Draea,” she admitted. “I’m upset by the entire situation. I’m sorry for all that happened in Skaulling, but I wasn’t here. I have no idea what you or your people went through under the reign of the Black Dogs. My only interest is in making sure their entire existence isn’t completely obliterated from the history books. I know my stance is difficult for Skaullings to understand, I thought I was more prepared for being on the outside, but apparently I wasn’t. I’m honestly not here to drudge up painful memories or make excuses for all the horrible crimes that were committed. I just want to preserve history so that one day, something good can come from all the bad.”

Arcylaen closed the gap between them, pleasure burning in his eyes. “I think something already has.”

Dammit, she’d made it worse!

“Lord Draea-”

“Cylaen, please,” he insisted.

“Look, I’m flattered-” she tried again.

“No, you’re not,” he laughed. “You’re bothered.”

“Well, if that was your intention, then congratulations,” she snipped, far more irritated over the sting of truth than the words which had delivered it.

He lifted her hand to his mouth, brushed the texture of his lips across her knuckles and gave her a little naughty smirk.

“I like you bothered, Leandra,” he confessed, much to her detriment. “I’d be far more worried if you weren’t.”

© A.C. Melody

Thank you for reading! If you need to catch up, you can find all the previous episodes via the Wicked Web link on the menu above, or continue reading with Episode 7

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