Authors: Lee-Ann Wallace
Tags: #Erotic Romance, #Science Fiction, #Adult
I wiggled my hand, indicating that I wanted him to let me go. I liked having his hands against the bare skin of my arms, but I also needed to get back to my research. I knew he was a medic and I knew his name was Manik, but other than those two things, I knew very little about him.
His hand flexed around my wrist, the strength in them apparent for a fleeting moment before he let me go. Heat slammed through me at what it would feel like to have those hands travelling over my body, holding me down as he thrust into me. A shiver travelled down my spine, raising all the fine hairs on the back of my neck. I wanted that, to feel his strength as I flew apart for him.
I stared up into his grey eyes, mesmerised by the changing colour, the light playing across the lighter grey almost making it shine like silver. I could look into his eyes for hours and feel the connection we had—a connection that had me softening against him, pressing up to his heat. I wanted him to kiss me again, I wanted his taste in my mouth and the slow sensuous slide of his tongue against mine, but I had research to do, and spending the rest of the night in bed with him wouldn’t get it done.
“I’ve been studying the nanites that came out of the man we have, but so far, I’ve had no success activating them. I know what they’re capable of. I’ve seen them heal critically wounded cyborgs, so the only conclusion I can come to is that somehow they’re controlled by the implants the cyborgs and these people have.”
Manik nodded down at me. “That makes sense. There has to be something that controls them. Some way that they know where to go and what to do. If you could crack the coding that controls the nanites, you’d unlock their potential. It could save millions of lives, Ellie. There are planets that would pay dearly for the technology.”
“Yes, and there are planets that need it, but have no money to pay,” I replied. It was one of the few stumbling blocks I had to this project. Cyakt Ralt was a businessman, and he already had plans for the nanites and my device. I knew those plans included selling them for exorbitant sums of money. So many innocent people would miss out on the help they desperately needed while those who had the money to pay would reap the benefits of the nano technology.
“Unlocking the potential of the nanites was only one step.” I pointed to the device I’d been working on across the room. “This was the second step.”
Manik walked over to the sleek pod. As big on the inside as the largest of men, it could easily take the tallest and broadest of species. I followed him over and pressed my finger to the control panel to activate it. The machine beeped, a series of signals that it was coming online.
“What is this, Ellie? What have you created?”
I could hear curiosity in his voice and a sort of reverence, as if he already knew what it was and couldn’t quite believe it. “I call it a Health Pod. It’s a full body regeneration unit.”
The cover rose with a slight hiss of sound, showing the shiny inside capsule. A row of small round openings were along the centre of the bottom of the lining and more round openings were spaced around the inside.
“I haven’t done any live trials of the nanites or my device yet. I didn’t know what would happen, and I didn’t want to accidentally kill someone.”
Manik ran his hand along the edge of my device, his strong fingers stroking it.
“What are its capabilities?”
“Without the nanites, it’s just a large regeneration chamber. It can heal muscular damage and skin damage. It can heal broken bones, although it cannot set compound fractures. It does not do away with the need for medical care, it just works on the whole body at once instead of the small areas current regeneration units are capable of healing.”
“It can scan a body and decide what is the most urgent medical intervention needed. It can inject fluids, pain medication and any number of other drugs that are loaded into it.” I stopped talking at the look on his face, unsure if I should continue.
“And with the nanites?” he asked looking down at my device before looking back at me. His grey eyes seemed to see right to the heart of me, see all my secrets and all the things I kept tightly hidden inside me.
“I don’t know what its capabilities will be. The man we have in medical that I took the nanites from is in perfect health with no signs of disease. When we scanned him, we found signs of old fractures, but they’d healed perfectly. We have no way of knowing how old he is. If what I suspect about the nanites is true, they also work on keeping the body young and in perfect health.”
“Like the nanites in the cyborgs. Devral has no idea how old he is, he just knows how long it’s been since he escaped.”
A little thrill of excitement shot through me, “You have a cyborg?”
“Yes, on the ship. He’s our computer technician.”
I looked away, the little thrill of excitement dying. I would have loved to meet the cyborg and ask him a million questions. I’d studied a cyborg once and found them fascinating. Their technology was a closely guarded secret that many people had tried unsuccessfully to steal or replicate with no success.
I’d been extremely lucky to work on one and had managed to accumulate a sizeable well of information on how their nanites worked and how their enhancements were integrated into their bodies. However, I was here and I had a project I needed to complete. I couldn’t afford the time to take a trip to Manik’s ship to meet his cyborg.
“He’s actually been having some problems. I was hoping you would come with me and help us, Ellie. Devral needs your expertise, and we have this woman on board. You could continue your research on the ship, and maybe what you discover would not end up being accessible to only those who can afford it, but to those who need it,” Manik said.
He stepped forward, right up to me and slipped his hand into my hair, his warm palm sliding gently along the skin of my cheek.
“And I want you with me. I want to explore what we have, Ellie. I want to know why I haven’t been able to get you out of my thoughts since the time we met in the bar. Something about you draws me and I want to know what.”
My eyes flared as I stared up at him in shock. A sense of wonder started to wash through me and pushed out the shock at his statement. He felt it, too, the connection we had.
We were mates, and we should have a connection. We should recognise each other from just a glance, from the merest hint of scent.
I was struggling to believe he was finally here with me. I’d longed for him almost desperately until my initial hope had faded and my anger at him for not coming had started to burn through me. I now knew he couldn’t have come back to me, and at the first opportunity he’d done everything he could to make sure he saw me again. I couldn’t blame him for the situation, but it didn’t solve the problem I had now.
I wanted desperately to go with him—I wanted to be with him and do what he said and explore the connection we had. I wanted to wake up beside him every cycle and go to sleep next to him. I wanted him to love me, and stroke me with his sure hands and share the bliss of two people coming together with him.
Still... could I leave everything I’d worked so hard for, and all the time I’d put into creating my device, the work I’d done so far on the nanites? Yes, Manik had a woman on his ship with the same nanites inside her, but I would have to create my device from scratch. I would almost have to start all over again. I’d have to leave my research and friends behind. I’d be starting a new life with him when I was happy with the life I currently led, but was he worth it?
He was my mate. Many of my people went their whole lives without ever meeting their true mates. Some choose to live alone, always waiting, hoping for that chance meeting of two souls destined to be together, while others found someone to love and made a life for themselves with that person and lived always wondering if their mate was going to come along and upset things.
I’d chosen to wait, only having fleeting relationships that didn’t develop into anything significant until I’d met him in the bar. I hadn’t been in a relationship since then. I’d waited for him, and now here he was asking me to leave everything behind and go with him.
I stepped back, away from the warmth of his hand, and looked around my lab. It was such a mess. Embarrassment crept up inside me, heat suffusing my cheeks at what he must think of me. Food trays littered the counters, some empty, others barely touched. Piles of data pads and old-fashioned paper were stacked around testing equipment. Containers of chemicals and tools were haphazardly strewn across counters, and clothing draped across chairs and on the floor, wherever I’d taken them off when I’d become too hot. It was surprising I’d been able to accomplish anything in the mess.
Cyakt Ralt’s words whispered through my brain as I looked around my lab. He was going to replace me, but I finally felt like I was on the right track. If I could unlock the coding on the nanites, maybe I’d be free of my contract with him and I could go with Manik. Excitement flowed through me, causing my heart to speed up a little.
Turning back to Manik, I was about to tell him of my plan when the room’s central computer indicated someone was trying to get in. Walking to the comm console, I said, “Computer onscreen.”
The view screen switched from standby black to an image of a man standing outside my door looking at the camera.
My heart fell towards my feet, my tail dipped towards the floor. It was Stadden in his security uniform. I looked quickly towards Manik. If he’d had anything to do with Vrentis’ stolen research, having him in the same room as the head of station security was not a fantastic idea and having another man in my lab when my ex came in was definitely a terrible plan.
“Who is it, Ellie?”
Manik’s voice warmed me, causing a little flutter in my stomach.
“Someone who can’t know you’re here,” I replied, my gaze caught on the side of my device and the open cover. It was the only place in my lab to hide a person. Resolutely I moved towards Manik.
“Quick—get in,” Ellie urged him, her soft hands landing on his chest, pushing insistently.
“Who’s at the door, Ellie?” Manik demanded. Something had spooked her, and he was going to find out what it was.
“It doesn’t matter. You just have to get in. He can’t know you’re here.”
He looked down at her, barely moving from the insistent pushing and urging of her small hands. “Tell me who’s outside and I’ll consider getting in.”
She stopped pushing and looked up at him, her yellow-green eyes flashing in the bright light of her lab. The pupils were contracted down to mere slits, showing off the colour of her eyes. He wanted to see those eyes looking up at him with passion in their depths, not the fear he saw there now.
His Ellie begged so sweetly, he almost gave in. To hear her beg for him when they were in bed was something he planned to have her doing in the not too distant future—her sweet voice urging him to take her, to fill her with his cock, begging him to let her come. Lust slammed into him, so fierce and potent, he almost grabbed her and kissed her, forcing her to give in to his sensual demands, but he was determined to know who had fear in her beautiful eyes.
“Tell me, Ellie.” He put a definite command in his voice, curious to know how she’d react.
Her hands flattened against his chest as she leant slightly forward—towards him, and not away from him. The pupils of her eyes dilated a fraction. If he hadn’t been looking in her eyes, he would have missed it.
“It’s the head of station security, and my ex. Please, just get in,” she pleaded.
Manik wanted to growl in refusal. He didn’t want another man anywhere near her, especially one she had a past association with, but he also needed to be as inconspicuous as possible, and that meant staying off the radar of station security. That meant he needed to get in her device.
Lifting a leg, he eased himself down over the edge of the pod and into the interior capsule, the coolness of the metal seeping through his clothing and into his skin. He pulled his other leg into the device and turned to Ellie.
“If he so much as touches you, I’m getting out.”
“He won’t. We haven’t been together since before I met you. Hurry, Manik. He’ll be angry I made him wait.”
He liked hearing her say his name. He wanted her to moan it while he was buried inside her soft body—but that would have to wait. He lay down in the device and Ellie closed the lid on him.
He was in pitch black for only a second before a soft white light started to emanate from the lid of the device. There was plenty of room inside where he could roll over if he needed to. He could bring his arms up and touch the lid in front of his face. A screen blinked on in front of him, a blue square with writing on it that he couldn’t read. Small pictures appeared along the bottom of the screen, each one having a word below it.
“Scanning,” a female voice said quietly. The device beeped a series of beeps that reminded him of the med beds he had in the medical bay of the ship.
When they’d been released, they were at the forefront of technology. When Tor’Arr had built his ship, he’d asked Manik what equipment he would need in the medical bay, and they were the first item he’d suggested. The ship had six of them. Manik could work on all the beds at once if he needed to.
Warmth started to seep into him from the base of the device. He was sure the gentle warmth would be the perfect temperature for healing.
“Heart rate... normal. Blood pressure... normal. Body temperature... normal,” the same feminine voice said.
“There are no signs of injury or disease. Vitamin and mineral levels are all within safe parameters. No foreign contaminants are detected. Muscular tension levels are high, a massage is recommended. Please see a registered provider for your treatment. Thank you for using Health Pod.” The feminine voice stopped abruptly.
Manik was impressed. Ellie had upgraded the scanning abilities. For the machine to be able to detect muscle tension, she’d done some serious work on the sensitivity of the scanners. Maybe she’d be prepared to give him the massage the device recommended. The thought of having her small soft hands moving over his body, easing his tension, almost made him groan out loud. He could almost feel her hand wrapped around his cock already, squeezing and stroking just the way he liked.