Excerpt from Chapter Five
Pleasure Moon of Eurydyce
"Alienating a Mated female's affections is the wrong thing to do in any civilized world," he recited. "Where I grew up, a married man may sue his wife's paramour and receive compensatory and punitive damages for 'alienation of affections' and 'criminal conversation.'
"I do not expect you to alienate my affections!" Her whispered vehemence sounded a touch overdone. After all, she wouldn't be there, in his bed, begging to have his baby if she didn't find him attractive.
"Nevertheless, it could happen," he insisted.
After all, any stud would warn a casual conquest that she would very likely fall in love with him and get her alley-cat heart broken. Did it matter that he was not the experienced, sexually sophisticated lover of her dreams? No, because she wasn't going to find out.
"You think so?" she sneered.
"I do think so."
Cocksure was the way to play it. He didn't want her to like him. Nevertheless, he stopped short of questioning whether there was any genuine love and affection to be destroyed. Electra could not possibly love her bald, hairless, naked Volnoth King with his flashing, pop-up body parts and a surgically deformed warhand that could rip her throat out.
"How presumptuous of you. My affections are not an issue. My Mate needs an heir. He cannot sire one on me, and he cannot and will not admit it."
"Are you sure of that?" He curled his lip, insulting her. The more she thrashed about for an acceptable reason to fool around, the more she brought out the latent predator in him.
"I need Djinn semen."
"So I gathered."
Do you realize the power I would have over you? Over Viz-Igerd? I could prove, any time I wanted to do so, that your baby was my get.
'Rhett considered the temptation, and his head rejected it. On the other hand, she was gorgeous, hot, a goddess, she wanted to have his baby, she knew the risks, and yet still she was in his bed.
He was master here, in this place with his brothers and his father within earshot. He could do what he pleased, and she wouldn't dare to cry out. She was his to punish. Who knows, he might learn something.
"Supposing I were to agree, let's discuss delivery."
"What is there to discuss?"
'Rhett was being difficult on purpose. Electra understood that, and for once she did not know what to do about it.
Here they lay, together, on his bed, shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, whispering like lovers. He was naked, she was fully dressed, and yet she was the one who felt vulnerable despite her protection.
His arm was raised, holding hers, and the tantalizing scent of his pheromones made her want to bury her nose in the sensitive softness of his armpit and breathe in. His bare skin smelled of heady arousal, a recent washing, and of male. The dark centers of his cold, green eyes were large and unfathomable.
Either excitement, contempt, or anger flared his nostrils. He smiled a welcome, but showed his teeth in warning. The Moonstone's light threw sinister shadows across his face.
"The Lovers were in my cards," he murmured, as if this was the triumphant conclusion to an inner debate.
"I do not require a lover."
"What if I do?" he murmured. "Tell me exactly what you expect." As he spoke, his thumb caressed the soft skin on the inside of her forearm.
"I expect you to—" It was unexpectedly hard to say. When she'd decided to come here, she'd mentally rehearsed different versions of the same basic conversation. She'd thought of speaking in impersonal, clinical terms, of demanding his body fluids in the same way that royal gynecological faculty servants explained how Her Majesty should provide a urine sample.
But he was more than a delivery system.
She'd considered treating the entire process as an embarrassing practical joke, but jokes were ultimately shared, and what she wanted was a deadly serious matter. If she made a joke of it, he might share the joke with others or take his participation lightly. Or he might presume upon the connection and develop a delusion that they were intimately entwined.
"I expect you to ejaculate."
"Mmmm. Here's the problem. I am not the sexual equivalent of an espresso machine. I don't ejaculate to order. How will you bring me to the point where I want to ejaculate?"
He is trying to humiliate me! Electra did not understand his comment about what kind of machine he was not. She did understand that he was angry about her choice of words.
"Perhaps you could touch yourself?" she suggested.
"I could"—his sinfully beautiful lips curved into a wicked slow smile—"if I wanted to. How will you make me want to touch myself? 'Down there'?"
Electra swallowed. With a shock of surprise, she noticed that her private parts had begun to pulse and snatch nothing, like the pelvic floor exercises one performed.
"I might touch myself," she offered.
"Where? How?" he demanded.
"I might run my hands down my sides, if you let go of my arm."
'Rhett lifted one eyebrow at her.
"Masturbation is not like yawning, my dear."
Electra blinked at him. "I do not understand you!"
"No? You do know what a yawn is?" He opened his mouth wide, and sighed aloud to demonstrate. "When an ordinary being without special powers sees another person yawn, the yawn is contagious. One yawn sets off a spontaneous and involuntary chain reaction of others' yawns."
He stroked a line from her armpit to her hipbone with one finger.
"You seem to think that, if you run your hands down your sides, I will be unable to stop myself from running my own hands down my own sides. Real men…and gods…don't do that. Try again."
"I might cup my breasts." The instant she made the offer, she saw his eyes light up with malicious laughter—or lust—and she knew she'd made another bad choice.
"Now, why would you do that?" he purred.
"Wouldn't that make you feel like touching yourself?" There was no going back, so she moved forward.
"No. It would make me feel like touching your breasts. If you were to lift your breasts in your hands, I would look on that as an offer. I would dip my head and lick and suck on your breasts. I might lick gently and suck hard. Or lick hard and suck gently. I'd take my time…a very long time. I'd play with your breasts with my mouth and with my hands until my tongue was tired and I'd run out of ways to make your nipples change shape and color and size and texture. That's what I'd want to do. Soooo. Is that what you'd like me to do?"
Again, she'd said the wrong thing. He was the most difficult god she'd ever tried to talk to.
"Do you expect me to become sexually excited by watching you make a cynical gesture designed to manipulate my feelings, knowing full well that your breasts are not on offer?"
His voice shook, probably with outrage.
"Then, I find myself unable to deliver."
"I beg your pardon. I am unaccustomed to males who are not animals." From a flicker in his eyes, she understood that bringing Viz-Igerd into bed with them was not a good idea. Prince Djarrhett would not be moved to ejaculate out of speciesism.
"I have heard that semen donors on other worlds find the necessary urge to release by looking at pictures and using their imaginations.…"
"I lack imagination."
"Possibly we could hire one or two of the professionals in this establish—"
His raised eyebrow stopped her. "That would hardly be discreet," he said dryly.
"Could I pay you to look at pictures until you find yourself…?"
"Paying me would cheapen things, wouldn't it?" He smiled unpleasantly. "How much—in terms of currency—do you think it would take to send me into transports of sexual ecstasy?"
Electra saw the trap. Any sum, great or small, would be a body insult.
"In chess terms, you are forked with that one, my dear," he crooned. "Let us go back to the beginning. Suppose you touch me?"
"Why waste time? Go for the operative part, just as you were doing when I woke up and intercepted your hand." He still held her arm. Now, he shook it gently. "Imagine your fingers are wrapped round my joystick. Imagine your mouth…"
"Excuse me? Your what?"
"My joystick. My root of all evil. My shaft of all pleasures. My volcano of love. My magic mushroom that springs up in the dark. My full-boost vertical. My—"
"Do ridiculous sayings like this excite you, Prince Djarrhett?"
'Rhett laughed softly and harshly.
"Not in the least. I leave exciting me to you. This is all your idea, so seduce me at your peril, if you can…."