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Authors: Leslie Dicken

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BOOK: The Price of Discovery
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“I'll not deny that. You are at the age to start your Crossing. It can happen at any time. Even on Earth.”

“I can control it.”

Drakor clenched his jaw, his rapid pulse evidence that he could not control the workings of his body. “No male can control the urges. I've been through it, I know what it's like.”

“This isn't fair!”

“That's why Father should have left you at home.” But no one listened to him. Brundor was like that ticking clock on the mantel. Sometime soon the bell would ring and they'd all pay the price. An Elliacian male needed to be secluded during his Crossing into manhood. He needed a master to show him how to dominate the sexual urges rampaging through his body.

Helta
, Drakor couldn't even control himself around this Earth female. He hated this place, this cool atmosphere and strange creatures.

Drakor crossed the room. “I'm going for a walk.” He had to get out of this house and away from Erinprice. “Stay here.”

His brother tied his long hair back with a leather string. “I'm going to get out of this house one day.”

“And I hope it will be when we all go home.”

Brundor flopped down on his bed again, reaching for the balled up paper. “Hey, Drakor, why is your face damp?”

“It's warm.”

Without waiting for a retort, Drakor left the room and hurried down the steps. He expected to see Ankra and Erinprice on the couch in the front room, but saw neither. The room was empty.

With a sigh of relief, he headed outside and down the wooden porch steps, his gaze fixed on the ground. He'd wander the creek in the back woods, cool down his face with the chilly water.

“Hey!” a female cried, right before he crashed into her.

Their contact stopped him cold.
Great Sun
! In an instant, his skin burned, his arousal stiffened. He looked down into the pale eyes of Erinprice and backed away. The railing pole blocked his retreat.

Her pupils dilated. “Are-are you okay?”

Drakor nodded his head, but could not speak. A tingle began at the base of his spine and raced downward to his toes before circling up to his nipples.

She touched his forehead, her round jewelry tinkling in his ears. “You're hot. I think you might have a fever. You should go inside and lie down. Have something to drink.”

His mouth dried. “No.”

She licked her lips then traced her fingertips down his face, wiping the increased gathering of perspiration. “Your face is flushed. You really should go in and rest.”

The longing amplified inside every cell, every fiber. His hands prickled with the need to grab the swell of her hips.

Clenching his jaw, Drakor grabbed her wrist and thrust it away from his face. A blaze sped from his palm to his groin, sparking a near explosion. Great Sun, she almost unmanned him!

“I-I am not ill,” he choked. “Leave me.”

“Oh, okay…I just had to get something from the car.” She reached up and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, exposing her throat. “Are you sure you don't want me to get a cool cloth or something?”

Drakor wet his parched lips and shook his head.

“You should consider wearing shorts in the summer,” she continued. Why the
helta
wouldn't she stop this talking and leave him alone? “It's really hot out here and those pants look heavy.”

He swallowed and squeezed his eyelids closed. Shadowed dreams of the past several nights swam before his eyes. He saw her writhing beneath him, her skin glistening. Then her mouth was on him, nipping his neck, kissing his abdomen, moving downward…

Great Sun
!

Drakor squeezed his hands into fists, fighting the painful throb of his flesh. He must take control over his body's impulses. Why couldn't he remember his teachings, his mind control knowledge?

A gentle breeze cooled the dampness on his skin, but it also brought her scent to him. His mouth watered.

“Are you really sure you are okay?”

Drakor opened his eyes, tried a fierce stare, but raw lust zapped his intensity. “Go. Now.”

He watched as she swept past him and up the porch steps. With her hand on the door, she turned back. Her sky-colored gaze swept down the length of him. Did she notice the swelling at his groin?

“You really are wearing far too much clothes for June.”

His dream…her naked body…his naked body hovering over her …Drakor's stare lingered on her bare ankles, then rose inch by inch to her gleaming white neck.

He couldn't do it. He couldn't stop the voracious hunger. Restraint slipped, then disappeared entirely.

Breathing ragged and lips parted, Drakor started up the steps toward her.

 

Erin stood immobile.

An instinctive fear blasted through her as she watched him approach, his dark eyes smoldering. But then she realized his intent and her breath caught in her throat. Muscles weakened. Pulse intensified. Breasts ached.

Noises of insects and birds vanished. She heard nothing but the whoosh of her heartbeat and the creak of the wood under Drakor's weight.

What would he do once he reached her? Her mouth watered with anticipation, but she could not permit this attraction—no matter how much she craved it.

Erin dashed inside the house and slammed the door shut.

“Is everything okay, Erinprice?” Ankra smiled at her from the bottom of the stairway.

“Um…” Should she tell her Mr. Sexy was heading up the stairs with a distinct look of lust on his face? Somehow, Erin doubted a sister wanted to hear that. She sure didn't want to hear it about Greg. “Everything is fine. But why do you call me Erin Price?”

“You told us that was your name.”

Her breathing finally slowed. “My first name is Erin. Last name is Price. Just call me Erin.”

“Two names?” Ankra pushed her hair over her shoulder. “Ah, yes. Forgive me. Come.”

Erin's reporting instinct kicked in. First, they had that odd unused kitchen and now they assumed her two names were one? Those little things, combined with Drakor's tight need for secrecy, burrowed under her skin. Erin was beginning to believe there might be more of a story in the present owners on this land than the previous one.

She followed Ankra into the front parlor room and sat on the lovely striped couch, her pulse not quite normal. This agonizing desire for Drakor reminded her of a crush she had her senior year of high school. It was one-sided, just her lusting after the substitute teacher, but she couldn't stop thinking of the guy.

“Erinprice…um, Erin.” Ankra's long finger tapped on her leg. “I would like to ask you something. A favor.”

Ankra's dark eyes reminded her of a doe. Sweet, innocent, beautiful. This girl was a sheltered treasure, hidden away from the real world, perhaps waiting for just the right man to rescue her like a knight in shining armor.

“Of course, anything,” Erin replied. Anything that would get her closer to this family, bring her closer to finding her answers. Maybe these people didn't know a damn thing about her John Doe. But then again, maybe they were a story onto themselves.

A long, black strand fell across Ankra's eyes. “I want to meet a man. Will you help me find a boyfriend?”

This girl needed help meeting a man? No way. “You can't be serious.”

Ankra only blinked, looking completely serious.

Where would she find a knight in shining armor in this town? If one was here, she would have known about it long before now.

The front door creaked open. Erin tried to prevent herself, but she couldn't stop glancing up.

Drakor stood in the doorway, his face shining and damp. Dark hair slicked away from his jaw and curled over his collar. Raw, male power radiated from long powerful legs, the muscled strength of shoulders and arms. His wild stare drew her in, seized her breath, curled her toes.

Awareness charged.

Suddenly, that knight shining in his armor took on a whole new meaning.

Chapter Three

Erin slowed the car as they approached the rainbow façade of the Victorian. “You sure you want to go to a dance club?”

Ankra gathered her bags. “Yes, please, very much so.”

Unfortunately, large, crushing crowds were never Erin's thing. All that smoke and sweat and lame propositions just turned her stomach. But Ankra had begged to go to a place where she could meet other men. Besides, Erin had done far worse things for a story before. Far, far worse.

Erin swallowed against her tightening throat and forced the memories away.

Going to some stupid techno dance club really wasn't that big of a deal. Although Erin sensed the true mystery lay within Drakor, not Ankra. He was the one who was so secretive. He was the one who originally did not want her entering the house. He was the one whose words told her to leave but whose steamy eyes asked her to stay.

She should ask him to come to Mickey's tonight. Then she could gauge his reaction to the place, as well. See if he would make the same odd comments Ankra had. The girl had no idea about what clothes to buy, what types of music there was, or even what a wine cooler was.

Yes, Erin would get Drakor to go with them. Maybe she'd even get the chance to nose out if he knew anything about John Doe. She had to start somewhere. Time was ticking away on her deadline.

Erin opened the car door and stepped out into the late afternoon. “Would you fetch your brother for me?”

“Of course.”

As Ankra went inside, Erin waited in the serene tranquility near the front steps. Two yellow butterflies danced then disappeared into the brush of wild honeysuckle. This spot was so far removed from the main road, from any other neighborhood, it almost felt as if she were in another world.

“I am here.”

Erin turned. Drakor stood at top of the steps. He wore shorts and she gave a quick glance of his thick, muscled legs covered in fine, dark hair. They looked strong enough to bear her weight as he held her against the wall, moving inside of her…

Damn, she had to stop this. What had gotten into her? She'd never felt this promiscuous, this horny, around a man before.

“Um,” she began, starting up the steps. But then stopped as his scent swirled in her bloodstream like chocolate syrup in milk. “Your sister wants to go dancing tonight.”

Drakor leaned against the front door of the house. “Yes. She mentioned this inside.”

Damn, Erin was a chicken. Where the hell was that bravado? That courage that got her the toughest interviews?

She cleared her throat, searching for an excuse. Anything but to have it sound like she was asking him on a date.

“A chaperone! Yes, we could use a chaperone.”

A dark eyebrow lifted. “I do not understand.”

Did she have to explain
everything
to these people? “This place we are going…”
has lots of drunk guys who will attack your sexy sister,
“…is very crowded and loud and well, I'd just feel more comfortable having a man there with us.”

A few beads of sweat glistened on his forehead. “Ankra will not cause trouble.”

“Maybe not, but your sister is a pretty girl. You should come along and watch out for her.”
And give me more insight to who you are and how it can help me
.

Crickets sang in the bushes. Erin climbed a few more steps toward him until she could feel the heat emanate from his body. Despite the unrest he caused within her cells, Erin continued to press forward. She had to make him come along. “You need to come with us. I'd feel terrible if something happened to her.”

“I can't.” His gaze sliced through her. “It is impossible.”

Impossible
. The man was impossible. And yet his resistance was so strong he might as well wave a flag above his head saying,
I've got something to hide!

Erin shoved her hands on her hips. Damn it, he was coming tonight or he could just sit down right now and tell her everything she wanted to know. They could skip the sleazy bar/club scene altogether.

“I realize you aren't from around here, but in these parts brothers watch out for sisters.” God, could she really be saying this? Greg drove her nuts with all of his overprotecting crap.

Drakor glared at her, like a wary lion backed into a corner. A vein throbbed on his forehead. “You do not understand.”

No shit, Sherlock. “Help me to understand then.”

But he just clenched his jaw.

Even when cornered, the man was so tempting. His finely shaped muscles angled and turned, the form exquisite as if carved in marble. Lips, scowling yet sensual, pleaded for her touch. Power and strength radiated from him with a raw wildness.

Erin wiped her palms on her thighs. “Are you saying you won't come with us tonight?”

He shrugged, but did not grant her an answer.

“Fine,” she bluffed, changing tactics. She trotted down the steps and headed for her car. “I'll get my brother to come. I know he'll do me a favor if I ask.”

Erin just about reached her car when Drakor came barreling down the steps to her. “Wait.” He came up behind her, so close she could smell the crisp scent of his deodorant. His body heat enveloped her in a cocoon.

“What?” Her nerves danced with anticipation of his touch.

But he only said, “I did not know you had a brother.”

 

Drakor licked his lips. The curve of her shoulder glowed beneath the light of the sun. His gaze skimmed down her back to the gentle rounding of her bottom. What would it be like naked, hot beneath his palms? He could slide in and out of her, hands firmly on her hips.

But then Erinprice—no, Erin, Ankra had said—turned to peer at him, her eyebrows raised. “Yes. Why?”

“I would like to meet your brother.”

She blinked, her face paling. “Oh…really?”

As much as he wished to leave this planet, he was bound here until he could locate Alaziri. Father told him one of his duties was to find any valuable inventions on this planet. And if Erin was not going to leave them alone, perhaps she could be of use to them. From the Resource Books, they'd learned that males invented many of the items in use. Here was an opportunity to meet one without having to speak to a stranger. He could get the information he needed, find Alaziri's body, and then they'd be gone from this place.

BOOK: The Price of Discovery
7.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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