Tempt Me Eternally(4)

By: Gena Showalter

“Fuck!” another of her teammates shouted. “They aren’t Schön, they’re Rakans! What do we do?”

Rakans? The peace-lovers? Couldn’t be. There was no damn way these ready-for-combat warriors would be waving a white flag.

“Do not kill,” Mia commanded. “I repeat, do not kill them. Continue with stun. I want to know why they’re here. Now go, go, go.”

Just as she was about to squeeze her gun’s trigger, a honey-scented breeze wafted through the air, taunting, beckoning her to lassitude and . . . How odd. Her nipples were beading, but not from the cold. Moisture was dampening her panties, her skin tightening over her bones, and drugging heat pouring into her veins.

Surely not. Surely the scent was not arousing her. Yet . . .

Why shoot them when she could kiss them? Kiss them . . . yes . . . Naughty images saturated her mind. Images of naked, writhing bodies—one of them golden. Seeking, hungry mouths—one of them golden. Wandering, teasing hands—again, a pair was golden. Satisfaction was only a heartbeat away, the anticipation of pleasure a consuming ache. All she had to do was drop her weapon, stand, and strip.

Strip? Seriously? What the hell was wrong with her? Was she the only one feeling this way? Like her, no one else had moved.

“Beautiful,” an agent said.

“Want,” another moaned.

Apparently not.

The warriors remained unmoving, silent, as if they were disoriented and needed to sober.

“Why are you just lying there, lusting after them? Did you not hear me? I said stun them, damn it,” the commander growled.

Forcing her mind to blank, one of the toughest things Aleaha had ever done, she hammered at the trigger with her index finger. Other agents followed suit, and multiple blue stun-beams erupted in the night, blending with hers and charting a direct course to the aliens.

Hit. Hit. Hit.

As the beams made contact, the Rakans were rendered immobile, aware of their surroundings but now unable to move. But most remained untouched, their comrades having acted as their shields.

As though realizing what was happening, those men quickly gained their bearings and charged forward, successfully dodging the next round of rays.

Aleaha blinked in shock. Never in all her twenty-six years had she seen anyone move so swiftly. They moved so swiftly, in fact, that they left some kind of ethereal, ghostly outline of themselves behind. Their spirits? Those outlines then had to play catch-up with the tangible bodies, which created a dizzying blur of movement, light, and shadow.

“I’m down! I’m down!” someone cried. “Had the shit knocked out of me.”

“I can’t fucking freeze them,” Devyn said. Odd. He had refused to bring a gun to this fight, the cocky bastard, so he wouldn’t have been able to freeze them anyway.

After that, absolute chaos erupted. There were screams of pain, frantic footfalls, and humans collapsing. Aleaha pinched off a few more rounds. And, goddamn it, she missed every time.

She never missed. People who lived on the streets often depended on their aim for survival. She’d taught herself to hit whatever she aimed at—no matter what she was doing or what was going on around her. This was unacceptable.

Calm. Focus. She concentrated on the blurs as best she could, narrowing her eyes until she saw—


This time, she hit a target dead-center. No, she realized a baffled moment later. She’d hit his spirit, that ghostly animation or whatever it was. Damn it! Unaffected, his body continued moving, darting from one place to another, felling one agent after another. And then, before her horrified gaze, the Rakans scattered in precise, measured increments. They weren’t running away, but were encircling the entire AIR team and lethally closing in.

Caged, she thought. We’re being caged. Despite the direness of their circumstances, the agents continued to fight, and Aleaha was utterly proud of them. Blue stun-beams glowed throughout the enclosure, lighting up the snowy night with majestic fury.

“Shit,” someone said. “What the hell should we do? I can’t see them anymore. I can’t fucking see them!”

An agent ran over her, mowing right over her legs. No longer quite so proud, she popped to her feet, abandoning her cover in favor of protecting her limbs. Her knees knocked, but she managed to remain upright.