Standing up from where I’ve been sitting for hours at Lucien’s desk I stretch and head back into the Tavern. The first thing that catches my eye is the blonde woman sitting in the corner near the window.
I’m struck by the way the light catches the gold in her hair and the fact that she has a purple streak twisting through the braid on one side of her head. And her manner of dress is one I’ve not seen at the Tavern as it resembles something from the 1700’s and not the women’s clothing of that era either. The watery grey satin coat embroidered with golden swirls around the large cuffs and collar was fitted to her curvy form shimmered with a purple hue whenever she reached up to turn the pages of the book she was reading.
I catch Seraphina’s arm as she is passing and point to the woman. “Who is she?”
“Don’t know. She’s been coming in here every day for the past couple of weeks though. She always sits in the same spot and reading for several hours then leaves. And she always leaves the book behind. Almost as though it has slipped her mind to take it.”
A sense of inevitability washes over me at the mention of her reading books and then leaving them. It couldn’t be…could it? I turn my attention to Seraphina and ask. “Where are the books she’s left?”
“Um…I think Arthur put them behind the bar. I’ve been meaning to try and catch her to give them back, but she always seems to arrive when we’re busiest and then leaves before it dies down enough for me to have a chance to take them to her table,” Seraphina replied.
“Thanks. I’ll go have a look at them.”
“Is something wrong, Shay? You look like, well like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Shaking my head I look at Seraphina. “Yes I’m alright. I’ve just been having dreams about a new story and when I saw her something inside my mind just clicked into place. I think I’ll go have a look at the books she’s been leaving behind.” I head over to the bar before Seraphina can ask me any more questions. She’s always curious about what I’m working on. Not that she ever has much time to sit down and talk with me.
Soon I hope to remedy that. I do believe she has some interesting tales to relate to everyone.
Rummaging around behind the bar I find a couple of books stashed near the register. I pull the pile out and stare down at the titles of the first two, Starburst and Star of the Fleet by Imogene Nix.
How had she gotten a hold of a copy of Imogene’s books in paperback? They were only available in eBook right now. Turing over Starburst I read the back.
Meredith Gentry is a woman with a mission. To decode everything found on the Alpha Star Colony. Maybe, if she’s lucky, she might finally get closer to the one man who makes her burn.
Chowd Sturat Sur Banden is different. He’s always known that and that the differences have kept him apart from everyone else. Until now.
At the end game, will these differences keep Meredith and Chowd apart for good? Will his own unwanted heritage tear them asunder forever? And will the crew of the Elector finally prevail over Crick Sur Banden?
The Warriors of the Elector’s cataclysmic conclusion has arrived.
Flipping through the book I find piece a paper marking a spot and began to read…
He stank of sweat. The damp stickiness coated his skin as he shrugged out of the ship suit, letting it drop to the floor silently. He sighed, rolling the tight muscles in his shoulders. A good workout helped, but still, he felt the coil of desire burning in the pit of his stomach. Since she had come on board, it never went away.
Chowd snatched up the tube of water, letting it slide down his throat, not quite quenching his thirst. His nudity didn’t worry him as he padded through the office to his sanitary unit and gave the order for the showerhead to engage at full spray, the steam rising upward as he watched. Stepping beneath the stinging, hot spray, he splayed his hands against the cool wall, feeling the flow of water down his body, and considered the latest situation.
Crick Sur Banden had escaped in the mess of the operation on the Alpha Star Colony. They had managed to get Jemma out in time for Elara to save her, though it had been touch and go for a while. The operative his uncle Admiral Gustav Elphin had ordered them to rescue had been rescued, but that mad dash for the shuttle at the end had angered him. Somehow, Crick Sur Banden had slipped through their fingers once more. But this time, they had the majority of his forces from the Alpha Star Colony base held in detention, the women they had released had started putting the pieces of their lives together and giving information to the Admiralty officers, and they had Crick Sur Banden’s tactical plans. Their location, in what the teams surmised were his private rooms, had been unsurprising in hindsight, to Chowd who had thought the installation abandoned. After he had joined the Admiralty, they had sent a strike force there to find it empty.
“Water off,” he growled. The near loss of Jemma had worried him, though, reminding him that every member of the crew remained in danger. Including Meredith. Ahh…now how he wished he could continue to avoid thinking about that possible outcome.
He breathed deeply, letting the emotions drain away, the heavy beat of his heart once more slowing to a steady life-affirming rhythm. Slowly, his eyes opened and sought the mirror. She stood behind him, waiting silently in the half light, watching him with gleaming eyes. He felt his body become firm and erect, just like it did every time he saw her.
Chowd turned slowly looking at her, watching as her eyes ranged over his nakedness. He made no move to collect the towel from the rack beside him. He knew she liked the view, as her eyes dilated with desire and her soft pants betrayed her arousal.
“Is there something I can do for you, Meredith?”
Meredith’s eyes glazed with passion, and he watched, fascinated, as a red flush crept up her cheeks. She licked her lips, sending a surge of awareness through his body.
“I, um…I came to see how you were feeling.” Her eyes flicked nervously, as if she didn’t know where to look, and he smiled, feeling triumph roar through him. He had guessed—well, rather hoped—that she too felt that quick spark of lust. Yet his experience remained limited to vids and reading, so he hadn’t been totally sure. At least, not until now.
She stepped forward, a shy smile appearing at the side of her mouth, and his knees trembled. Her hand reached out—
The buzz of the alarm woke him with a jerk. His arm flew and hit the side of the desk screen with an audible thud, and his head snapped up. Barsha! He had dreamed about her again. Chowd raised his hands from the hard surface of the desk, and he scrubbed them across his tired and aching eyes, gritty with the lack of sleep. When did I fall asleep?
The buzz cut through the silence once more, and he knew it emanated from his communicator. He answered the insistent wail. “Yeah?” he answered with a groggy voice as he willed his tired mind to respond.
“Chowd? Are you free right now? New orders have been received and I need the command crew in my office immediately.” Duvall’s voice filled the air, the tinny value of the communicators something that continued to irk him. They could travel through space but not get the sound quality of communicators right. He rose slowly, feeling the ache in the muscles of his back from the cramped chair and desk where he had found himself involuntarily napping. Not to mention the ache in his arm from that sharp crack.
“On my way.” He flipped the communicator off and moved around the desk, working to clear the fog from his mind, hoping he didn’t look like the wreck he felt. Short naps never powered him, but after thirty-nine straight hours, his body had shut down in retaliation of its abuse. Since they had returned from the mission on Alpha Star One, the entire team had worked every possible hour to track the movements of Crick Sur Banden.
Deciding I need to speak with this woman I start to move around the bar but as I look up I find her disappearing through the entrance. Damn! I guess I’ll have to try and catch her tomorrow.
Imogene Nix has kindly offered up a copy of Starburst and Star of the Fleet for a prize. If you’d like to be entered to win, please follow the Wicked Muse Tavern and leave a comment to be entered letting me know what you think the woman who’s been reading these books is waiting for.