eBook Details

Thrill-Kinky

Series: Chronicles of the Malcolm , Book 1.0
By: Teresa Noelle Roberts | Other books by Teresa Noelle Roberts
Published By: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Published: May 12, 2015
ISBN # 9781619224551
Word Count: 54,000
Heat Index     
Eligible Price: $4.50

Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Epub, Mobipocket (.mobi)

Categories: Romance>Paranormal/Horror Romance>Sci-Fi

Description

Thrill-Kinky (Chronicles of the Malcolm) by Teresa Noelle Roberts - Romance>Paranormal/Horror eBook

In sexual free-fall, the first one to let go wins.

Chronicles of the Malcolm, Book 1

Humans may have expanded to the stars, but they still have the annoying need to work for a living. Which is why Rita, crew member of the space freighter Malcolm, is stuck collecting recyclable slag rather than attending her favorite festival celebrating love and sexuality.

Things go from boring to interesting when she discovers a badly injured man who’s been thrown into a recycling bin to die. The catch, he’s gorgeous, winged, and naked.

Drax Jalricki, reformed (mostly) art thief and reluctant covert operative, is on an undercover mission to protect three planets when someone in his own government brands him a traitor. By virtue of association, Rita and her crew are going down with him.

From their first, hide-in-plain-sight quickie, the erotic spark between Rita and Drax is fueled by danger and adrenaline. But their growing suspicion that there’s more to their connection than lust may not matter if they don’t live through the night.

Warning: Hero and heroine who straddle the line of criminal behavior—and definitely violate public indecency statutes. Exhibitionist, dangerous sex. Dark, sordid pasts. Wild risk-taking. Giggly cat-girl sidekick who’s not just another pretty…tail. And the greatest risk of all: true love.
 
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Excerpt:
Copyright © 2015 Teresa Noelle Roberts
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication


What a delightful way to spend a holiday on the exotic planet of San’bal Prime—collecting garbage. Rita Anteres couldn’t imagine anything more thrilling. All right, she could imagine a number of more thrilling things, including recharging the fuel cells of the Malcolm, the small independent freighter whose mechanic, backup pilot and general space-grunt she was. At least there would be natives of San’bal to meet at the recharge center, maybe some local snack food she could try. And failing that, at least she could read a book while she was waiting.

The “collecting garbage” wasn’t as bad as it sounded in her grumpy mental soundtrack. The Malcolm had gotten a lucrative contract hauling industrial slag from San’bal Prime to Blemond. Rita wasn’t clear on the actual process, but San’bal’s waste product was a key component in a new kind of neurorelay they were developing on Blemond.

Boring though it was, Rita was all for highly paid, legal jobs. For that matter, she was all for a new kind of neurorelay. Maybe the competition would drop the price enough that she and the rest of the crew could afford them instead of relying on old-school com-pads. Only Mik and Gan had neurorelays, and her captain and his husband had early models that sometimes caused migraines.

But she’d drawn the short straw and she was out with the floater collecting bins of slag while everyone else from the crew was celebrating Kenu Aram, the local “celebration of the gods’ gift of love and desire”, in the ways you’d expect. Gan and Mik planned to check out the shows, eat whatever wasn’t still wriggling when it hit the plate, then shag each other’s brains out. (As long as they didn’t encounter anything that smacked of a child being hurt. Her boss had a highly developed sense of outrage, and Gan just liked to smack down bullies.) Xia was looking for a chance to get laid or, failing that, to cause some amusing trouble or pick the pockets of distracted lovers. (And then buy them presents with their own credit chits, because that was what felinoids did when they stole, and head back to the ship to have a drink with Buck.) Buck was getting drunk, which was pretty much the way he celebrated every day he woke up and no one was shooting at him. For that matter, he drank on days someone shot at him, though fortunately that didn’t happen much. A low-level buzz, he said, helped keep the horrors away. When you were a broke veteran of the losing side of a war, it wasn’t easy to get a better treatment than that.

Poor Buck—the wonderful, crazy big brother she and Xia never knew they had until they signed on to the Malcolm.

He’d gone out yesterday while things were still quiet to check out the sights and pick up another bottle of his favorite soy whiskey. But he had no intention of going to the festival itself. Too crowded, too many loud noises, too many things that could trigger his PTSD, and he still had bruises from the last time he’d gotten the horrors in a crowd. Not to mention an outstanding warrant on that planet, because by the time they’d pulled him off the person who’d jostled him one time too many, he’d done some damage.

Buck could have done this job, though. It was plenty quiet here in the industrial district, nothing that would upset Buck’s shattered nerves.

And Rita didn’t want quiet. She wanted to be at the festival. It wasn’t her first time on San’bal, but the last visit had been to a factory town in the desert to deliver some spare parts for the robo-line. Her R&R consisted of rock-climbing with Xia and watching the cat-girl hunt down and eat gulbas, little mammals that occupied the same ecological niche as rabbits on planets settled by humans. The desert was beautiful and the rock-climbing had been first-rate, but she hadn’t gotten to explore the local culture. The only natives she’d met were a couple of workers who’d helped unload the boxes of parts, and they hadn’t spoken enough Standard to chat. She hadn’t even tried any local food.

But now she was in the capital city with a huge festival in full swing. A festival that was all about love and sex, both of which were lacking in Rita’s life at the moment.

On any other nonhuman planet, Rita would have suspected this San’balese holiday was a case of a local marketing firm picking up on Valentine’s Day, on the theory that if humans would drop hundreds of credits to win a lover or keep on the good side of the one they already had, their people would too. This festival even fell in mid-February on the Earth-standard calendar, although on San’bal, it was high summer.

But if any race was going to have its own traditional festival of love and desire, it would be the San’balese. Every woman in the galaxy knew that there was nothing like a San’balese romance novel or holo—even if you had to gloss over the sex scenes to ignore the extra limbs. Not to mention the extra sex organs.

She drew a line at actually fooling around with four-armed quadrupeds. She wasn’t prejudiced, but she suspected it would be awkward at best, if not physically impossible. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t see the sights, dance to the music, have a few drinks and whatever greasy local street food a human could digest, maybe flirt with a San’balese guy and enjoy a playful kiss or two.

Kenu Aram was the biggest holiday of the year on San’bal, a high holy day as well as a huge party, though Rita didn’t know much about the religious aspect. That would be interesting to research during the next long flight, but right now the party was enough for her. The entire planet was decked out in green and purple flowers. Their sweet, citrusy fragrance filled the air, and priest-like characters in purple and green robes were handing bouquets and blessings to anyone who appeared to be single. Music echoed from every corner and courtyard. Every restaurant in town had seating spilling over into the streets, and street vendors sold candy and a bubbly green alcoholic drink that was apparently the local equivalent of champagne. It was bigger than Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras and that wacky spring agricultural festival with the giant penis puppets on Khetti rolled into one, with partying in the streets, masks, costumes, and occasional public nudity.

Rita wanted to experience it all, dammit. She was a spacer for exotic adventure and seeing new sights. It certainly wasn’t for the money, which was usually erratic and piss-poor when you worked on a tramp ship, especially when your captain had a heroic streak that, however laudable, led to breaking local laws on a lot of more backwater planets.

And it certainly wasn’t for the glamorous lifestyle. She spent her life on a cramped cargo ship with a drunken, handicapped ex-soldier who couldn’t afford limb regen, an intergalactic slacker sex kitten, complete with ears and tail, who was Rita’s best friend, but was also trouble going somewhere to happen, and a married queerbent couple whose hobby was rescuing abused children no matter what the cost. Rita loved her crewmates, but she’d been looking forward to spending time away from them, not working, soaking up the culture of an appealingly exotic world, and meeting some new people.

Including, in her dreams, a candidate for a festival fling. There must be some anatomically compatible tourists wandering around Kenu Aram hoping to get lucky, and if the universe had any sense of justice, or even of fun, Rita would be out there getting lucky with one of them.

Of course, Rita knew better than to think the universe went in for fair play. Otherwise Mik wouldn’t have to worry about rescuing exploited kids because there wouldn’t be any. While the universe was in the business of making things fair, he and Gan could be in charge of a luxury cruise liner instead of the rickety Malcolm, Xia would meet someone who liked her style of adorable naughtiness and could afford to pay off the people she annoyed, and Buck would still have both his legs and a future. Maybe even a family. Everything about Buck suggested that if his planet hadn’t been invaded when he was still young and idealistic, he’d be a contented dirtsider with a steady working-class job, a wife and a passel of kids.

At the very least, Rita would have the day off today, and maybe a date with someone hot, humanoid and non-contagious—ability to speak any language she did a bonus. Oh, she had bigger dreams, but for today she’d settle for some of the little things.

Instead, she was maneuvering a floater through an industrial park, collecting bins of slag. Lift ’em with the antigrav device, tip ’em into the big bin on the back of the floater, move on to the next one. Repeat until she found herself checking whether Buck had stashed a bottle in the floater, though it wasn’t lunchtime yet. (Alas, he hadn’t.) The only good thing about this particular job, besides the pay and the fact it was so dull she could daydream while she did it, was that the stuff supposedly wasn’t toxic.

Supposedly. Of course, they’d been lied to before about things like that.

As she positioned the antigrav at the next recycling bin, she thought she heard banging and rattling coming from inside.

A trapped animal? While moving bins, she’d already startled a gulba, a number of ratlike leetas, a couple of stray cats and some animals she couldn’t identify, but must be pets, since they had collars. If an animal were stuck inside, she’d try to find some way to get it out.

Rita used the antigrav to raise the bin’s heavy lid, then carefully moved the floater over so she could peer inside. Sympathy for animals or not, she’d rather keep a safe distance from a startled, potentially irate thing with teeth and claws.

At first, what she was seeing didn’t make sense: rust, amber and saffron-colored feathers, tipped with black, and a swath of something green and purple that might have been festival draperies.

A gigantic bird?

But there weren’t any birds on San’bal, according to what she’d been able to learn on the Galaxinet, and she hadn’t seen anyone on her previous visit. If there had been birds, Xia would have chased and probably caught them, even if they’d been as big as this appeared to be.

A discarded costume with an animal underneath it? Part of last night’s festivities had involved the locals all running around in fabulous costumes, drinking copious quantities of the green bubbly booze.

Some costumed person who’d enjoyed way too much of green bubbly and had climbed into a recycling bin to sleep it off? It didn’t seem like a desirable location for that, but maybe his equally drunk friends tossed him in as a joke.

While she was still trying to sort it out, the lump of feathers moved.

Rolled over.

Opened his eyes.

Stars and moons! Not a bird, not a costumed drunk—a Banjali.

Maybe she should have thought of that sooner, but you hardly ever saw Banjalis off Banjal. Their glorious wings were only fully functional on low-gravity planets, and anything approaching Old Earth norm, like San’bal, was uncomfortable.

“Hey, are you all right?” Rita asked, hoping he could understand her. “Need a hand getting out?” The gravity was probably too high for him to fly easily, especially if he was hung over.

The Banjali stirred, giving her a better view.

Definitely male. Definitely gorgeous. And definitely naked. Xia’s tail would have started twitching at first sight.

The pleasure of that view, however, was spoiled by the strips of purple and green synthsilk—they could have been torn from the buntings that draped anything in the city that didn’t move fast enough—gagging him and binding his ankles and wrists.

And by his injuries.

The poor man looked like he’d had a run-in with an Arcturian bearcat. His golden skin was a mass of bruises, scrapes and shallow cuts, one eye swollen shut. But Arcturian bearcats didn’t use laserpistols, and she was pretty damn sure the wound in his shoulder was a pistol shot. No one injury seemed life-threatening—and Rita, thanks to Buck’s twitchy temper and Gan and Mik’s noble but dangerous hobby, not to mention their propensity for taking jobs first and asking questions later, had seen a few life-threatening injuries in her time—but he had to be in a world of pain. All the banging she’d heard must have been him flapping and thrashing while trying to roll over. That must have been some kind of fun with a laserpistol wound in his shoulder.

“Hang on, buddy,” she said. “I’ll get you out of there.”

With luck, she wouldn’t hurt him more in the process. The antigrav wasn’t meant for moving living things, and while she didn’t see any obviously dangerous wounds, he might have internal damage.

She lowered the floater, parked it over the bin, and lowered herself in.

She knelt next to him, feeling the slag pricking at her skin through her coveralls. If it felt that unpleasant to her, how much worse did it feel for him, naked?

The first step was removing the gag.

His skin was warmer than human norm, but she had no idea if he was feverish or if that was normal for a Banjali. Dirty and tangled as it was, his long hair, the color of rust, felt like heavy silk against her hands as she gently reached under his head, and his skin felt almost as silky…

Damn, it really had been too long. The guy was hurt and someone had a serious case of hate for him. Those weren’t random cuts and bruises like you’d get in an accident or a bar fight. Someone had been cutting the poor bastard methodically. Torturing him, either before or after beating the crap out of him and shooting him several times.

This was not the time for her to be noticing details like the weight of his hair and the texture of his skin, or the amazing depths of his dark golden-brown, almond-shaped eyes.

And certainly not the time to notice how his proximity, even his battered, semi-conscious proximity, made her nipples perk up.

Although if he could look good in his condition, he must be white-hot stellar when he wasn’t tied up, bleeding and groggy.

Her hands shook as she drew the fabric away from his mouth, wincing when she saw the blood on it, saw how swollen his poor mouth was.

He swallowed deeply, whispered, “Thank you,” in a husky whisper. A nice, deep voice, but it sounded strained, as if he’d been trying to yell through the gag. “Please…can you help me?”

“That’s what I’m here for. Well, at least that’s what I’m here for now. I was here to collect the slag for recycling.” She stroked the ends of his hair, figuring that those, at least, couldn’t hurt, then went to work on the bonds around his wrists. The knot was tight enough that she had to use a knife to cut it. His eyes grew wide when he saw the blade and she could feel the black tips of his bright feathers quivering.

He’d definitely been tortured. Bastards. She didn’t know what this guy’s story was, but he couldn’t possibly deserve this. Even if he’d done something evil—and just because a guy was handsome didn’t mean he wasn’t a nasty piece of work—you didn’t torture people. Kill them before they killed you, if necessary, but you did it clean.

At least that was what Mik said. Personally, she tried to avoid situations where she might have to make that kind of decision. She’d gotten great at affecting quick getaways and dragging her more belligerent crewmates along with her. Sometimes she even managed to do it before someone got hurt.

“Please…” he repeated.

“Hush. I’ll get you to the hospital.” She reached for the com-pad at her hip, meaning to call for the emergency squad and the police.

Faster than she would have expected a Banjali to move in such high gravity, he grabbed her wrist. “No authorities. Please. Can’t risk it.” His grip was strong, the color of his skin extraordinary. Having ancestors who’d hailed from Old Earth’s every region, Rita was sometimes described as golden-skinned, but in contrast to his, her complexion was more of a light tan, pleasant but hardly exotic. His was actually the warm yellow of burnished gold.

“You in trouble with the law?” That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem. It all depended on what he’d supposedly done. What was fine on your home planet might turn out to be illegal somewhere else and get you into accidental trouble. And the Malcolm did its share of operating within the gray areas of interplanetary law, one planet’s perfectly legal cash-crop being another’s valuable contraband.

“Long story. I’m on the side of the law, but I need to stay undercover for now. My government sent me to San’bal on a joint mission, but they’re not ready for it to be public and neither are the San’balese.” He somehow managed to produce a roguish smile, swollen lips and all.

The smile was enough to set Rita’s coveralls on fire.

Thrill-Kinky

By: Teresa Noelle Roberts
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