Authors: Cheryl Brooks
Table of Contents
THE CAT STAR CHRONICLES
C H E R Y L B R O O K S
Copyright © 2010 by Cheryl Brooks
Cover and internal design © 2010 by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Cover design by Anne Cain
Cover image © Najin / Dreamstime.com
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Dedicated to my dear husband
for all of his support,
encouragement, and love.
MANX KNEW SHE WAS WATDHING HIM. THE GENTLE BREEZE that blew across the deck and sent her erotic scent wafting down toward the lake confirmed it. He stretched upward with his head thrown back, inhaling deeply as he felt his body respond. Within moments, her scent intensified; she was not only aroused, but, judging from the strength of her enticing aroma, she was also naked; there was nothing between them but the cool night air. His mind took that image and savored it—her soft breasts, her hard nipples—and even across the distance that separated them, he could sense the wet heat between her thighs, could almost hear her body calling out to him, and his cock turned to stone.
He closed his eyes and imagined her coming to him, her touch gentle on his skin, her fingers teasing him to a feverish pitch. She was the most intoxicating female he had ever encountered, and he knew that soon, he would mate with her. But for now, he held back, sensing her shyness and knowing just how tenuous his own exis tence was. He might be captured at any moment and taken from her, though it was easy to ignore that fact when his body was demanding release.
Reaching down, he touched his rigid penis, the orgasm-inducing fluid already beginning to ooze from the star-like coronal points of the head. Pleasuring oneself was almost unheard of among his kind—few Zetithian males were even capable—and though he knew that males of other species engaged in such practices regu larly, he'd seldom felt the need for it until encountering her. This woman's scent was particularly potent, and she did things to him no other woman had ever done; made him reckless when he'd been so cautious in the past, made him want to risk everything for the chance to sheathe himself with her and give her joy.
For now, he could only imagine holding her in his arms. As his eyes closed again, he dreamed of her soft lips kissing his stiff shaft, her hot mouth sucking the snard from his testicles, and her entire body crashing into orgasm just from tasting it. He could almost see her deep, auburn hair shimmering in the moonlight, light that was even now caressing her skin as he longed to do himself. He didn't know the color of her eyes—hadn't been close enough yet to discover that secret—but he knew how they would gaze up at him, heavy-lidded with desire, but soft with the expression of her love.
And she would love him; he was certain of that. He'd watched her down by the lake while she created her stun ning works of art. She imparted the love she felt for those creatures onto the canvas, just as she had with the image she'd painted of him. He'd felt that when he first viewed the portrait; something in the gentle brushstrokes made him feel that she had actually swept her hands over his back, down to his waist and thighs. She had somehow captured not only his image, but her feelings toward him—furtive, tentative, and definitely intrigued.
His cock was slick with his fluid—fluid that he hoped would affect her just as it had affected the women of his world—and his hands tightened around his cock, pumping faster, seeming to pull him forward as though seeking her out. Turning his profile toward her, he let her see what she was doing to him, and he felt a sudden gush of his fluids at the thought of her eyes on him. In his mind, these were no longer his hands, but hers, wrapping him in a firm tunnel, squeezing him hard, tightening so that he had to push even harder to slide through them.
He felt his balls tighten and his breathing grew coarse and ragged as he began purring—whether she could hear him or not. Widening his stance, he let his head fall back, his long, black curls tickling his backside the way hers would as she passed behind him. He wanted to know the feel of her, the taste of her. He knew her eyes were on him, their heated gaze exploring his body—and, knowing that he didn't need to be secretive any longer, he was no longer silent, letting his grunts of effort be as loud as they needed to be, letting her know what she was doing to him.
At last he felt it: the unmistakable signal of impending climax. With an accompanying roar that echoed across the still lake, his balls repeatedly squeezed out his snard in long, powerful arcs. He imagined it hitting her succu lent breasts, her beautiful face, and her softly parted lips, and as she tasted it, he could almost see her expression of joy.
As he took in a deep, cleansing breath, he smiled. She had seen him, and he could smell her climax even from where he stood—could even hear her soft sighs of ecstasy. She would be his mate. It was only a matter of time.
"DRUSILLA, DARLING," RALPH DRAWLED. "YOU SIMPLY MUST get away for a time. That horrid beast had no right to treat you in such a callous manner, and I have just the place for you, too—have already booked your passage! A quiet lake, cool woods, solitude, and the most fabu lous birds your heart could desire."
This description didn't include a place to live, as Drusilla was quick to point out.
"Oh, but the house is absolutely charming!" he assured her. "All the amenities, and no worries, my dear. Everything taken care of to ensure your comfort."
Drusilla smiled grimly. "And just where is this para dise?" The last jaunt Ralph had sent her on had been a major fiasco—unbearable heat, no indoor plumbing, and, worst of all, no birds. Being a renowned wildlife artist, she simply had to have birds, and waterfowl, in particular, since they were her specialty.
"Barada Seven," he replied. "Charming natives, though not attractive in any way—quite hideous, actually—but very eager to please. Primitive living conditions, of course—small villages scattered along the coastline, very little technology—but appar ently, along with the birds, their claim to fame is something called fuuslak juice, which is supposed to make even the sourest disposition turn positively sunny. They've only recently begun to develop their offworld tourist industry and will do their utmost to make your stay memorable."
"Memorable doesn't necessarily mean good," Drusilla said under her breath.
"What was that, dear?" Ralph asked, his most winning smile reaching out to her from the viewscreen. "I don't believe I caught that last bit."
Drusilla smiled back, but she wasn't fooled. Ralph always heard her mutterings. She knew this because he tended to repeat them—rarely to her, but nearly always to his friends, who then made a list of them; some had become catchphrases within the art world. Authorship was rarely traced back to her—that credit was nearly always given to Ralph—but she recognized one of her own comments when she heard it. "Nothing important, Ralph," she replied. "I'm sure Barada will be a bird watching paradise."
"And I promise you'll forget all about Drab Dave and come back all fresh and new!" Ralph paused, tapping his elegant chin reflectively. "If only I knew of
who could be waiting for you when you return. I must give it some thought."
Since the "Drab Dave" episode had been the result of one of Ralph's carefully casual introductions, Drusilla doubted that the next one would be any different. Ralph might have been the head of London's largest and most prestigious art gallery, which put him in the way of meeting art lovers from all over the galaxy, but most of his friends preferred a different sort of companion ship than she was able to provide. This, unfortunately, had turned out to be the case with Dave. He'd liked the idea of his name being connected with that of a famous artist, but that was about the
way he wanted to be connected with her.
"You do that, Ralph," she said, knowing that her approval wasn't a requirement. One of the joys of Ralph's existence was in pairing up buyers with the perfect painting, but he was also an enthusiastic match maker—and though, in Drusilla's opinion, he wasn't any good at it, it didn't affect his dedication. How Ralph, of all people, could have made such a blatant error when he introduced her to Dave was beyond her.
"Oh, I will," he promised. Running a careless hand through his perfectly styled blond locks, he added, "Should be
around here who likes auburn hair and green eyes… Perhaps whoever buys that Tehern painting—you know, the one that looks just like you?"
"Ralph," Drusilla said patiently, "that
is a paintin
g of me." As an art dealer, Ralph should have known this, but since Tehern was a Cubist, Drusilla would have been astonished if anyone else ever realized it—let alone wanted to meet her as a result.
Laughing delightedly, he trilled, "How silly of me not to remember that! You know, I'm surprised you haven't modeled for more artists. I think you're the loveliest woman of my acquaintance."
"Why, thank you, Ralph," Drusilla said promptly, though she didn't believe a word of it. "That's very sweet of you." Drusilla had heard too many remarks from her mother about being skinny to ever consider herself in that light—and Tehern's painting had done nothing to alter her opinion. In it, she looked more like a collec tion of sticks with a large red brick perched on top than a woman, and her jade-green eyes had simply looked like… well, two blocks of jade—but with a flattering hexagonal cut, as Tehern had been quick to point out to her. She hadn't done any modeling since then, though an Impressionist from Io had once asked very nicely. Her reply had been just as polite, but since Ionian Impres sionism focused entirely upon nudes—and Drusilla had no desire to be depicted as a nude stick person—she refused, though she did allow him to buy her a drink. This was a mistake in itself because, when they've been imbibing freely, Ionians tend to demonstrate just why it is that they prefer painting nudes. Following that episode, Drusilla made a mental note never to visit Io.