Neeve focused on packing the essentials for the trip to the outpost and tried to ignore her growing sense of unease. She felt threatened. She had a sense that if she approached Captain McNeill with her nebulous sense of dread, he wouldn’t be impressed. He struck her as a hard man with little imagination. She also had no idea if the threat was mental or physical. If she was about to be attacked, she had the ability to defend herself. If it were a telepathic issue, she’d get no help from anyone at Nimbus anyway.
With a sigh, she straightened her back, picked up her bag and headed down to the vehicle bay. To her surprise, Captain McNeill was in there talking to one of the mechanics. He looked up as she approached.
“I’m coming with you. I haven’t visited all the outposts yet. This seemed as good an opportunity as any.”
She busied herself loading her gear onto the All-Terrain Vehicle and checked her weapons. It wasn’t her place to question command decisions, but she was grateful he was coming along. She sensed that he would be a very good man to have beside her in a fight.
“What’s the purpose of this trip?”
“I’ve been drilling down and taking samples of the ice pack to compare the atmosphere, pollution and indicators of life over the last few centuries.”
“And what good does that do?”
“It gives me a baseline to compare how your species reacts to different climactic environments and how it has affected the current structure of your genes. If I can detect where the anomalies originated, I might be able to go back and find the correct gene sequences that preceded them and replicate them.”
“Makes sense.” He walked back over to his ATV and pulled up the hood of his thermal coat. “Are you ready to go?”
He was a man of few words. She nodded and mounted her vehicle, adding gloves and covering her head to counteract the below freezing temperatures outside. Despite the advance in lightweight fabrics to keep out the intense cold, it was still a dangerous environment for warm-blooded species. And with her telepathic senses all riled up, she sensed it could become even more dangerous than she could possibly imagine.
They reached the small outpost before it got too dark and put the ATV’s in the heated garage area. Neeve led the way, snapping on the lights to reveal the sparse interior which consisted of two bedrooms, a central living area with a tiny kitchen and a large well-heated shower room.
“Nice.” Captain McNeill commented as he dumped both their bags on the kitchen table.
“It’s functional, sir. The lab is attached by a covered walkway through that door at the back.” She pointed at the refrigerator and freezer. “There are enough rations in there to see us through any inclement weather patterns.”
“Have you ever been stuck up here?”
“Only once, sir, but Malke was with me then, so we managed to keep each other amused until we were able to leave.”
He gave her a sideways glance before picking up his bag and heading into the smaller of the two bedrooms. “How long do you imagine it will take to get your samples?”
“Less than twenty-four hours, sir. If I start this afternoon we’ll be able to depart tomorrow night.”
“Good. Let me know when you intend to set out.”
She hesitated. “You don’t have to come with me.”
He looked at her over his shoulder. “What else do you expect me to do? Sit here and twiddle my thumbs?”
She had no answer to that, so she continued to her own room. When she emerged a few minutes later, he was in the kitchen stirring two mugs.
“Here you go.”
“Thanks.” She took the mug and studied the contents dubiously. “What is it supposed to be?”
“Vegetable and protein soup.”
Neeve sipped at the thick liquid and repressed a shudder. Earth military rations were even worse than Pavlovan ones, and that was saying something.
“We can get suited up and go out after this. The sample sites are quite close.”
“Good, because it’s fucking freezing out there.”
She found herself smiling. “You sound like Malke. He always hated the cold.”
“You miss him, don’t you?”
“He was my mate, physically, mentally and telepathically.”
“That’s a tough thing to lose.” He finished his soup.
“Are you mated, sir?”
He stood up and shoved in his chair. “Not anymore.”
“Your mate died?”
“Five years ago. Now shall we get on? I’d prefer to be back inside before it gets too dark.”
Neeve stood too. “Yes, sir.” She washed out her mug and headed back into her bedroom to get her snow gear, which took some wiggling into. It was made of a thin white fabric that covered her from head to toe like a second skin. The fabric responded to her body temperature, heating and cooling at will to provide her the best working environment possible. She’d often wondered how scientists functioned in the old days when they’d been bundled up in twenty layers of clothing.
As she pulled the hood over her braided hair she paused thinking about Captain McNeill’s reaction to her questions, or, more importantly, his lack of reaction. He’d given away nothing, not a hint of emotion, or pain, or grief for his mate, which for a human was quite extraordinary. Either he was a very cold man, or he had the ability to shield his emotions like a Pavlovan.
Neeve finished dressing and walked across to the lab to pick up her prepared pack. Captain McNeill was waiting for her in the well-lit garage. He wore a matching white snowsuit that only emphasized his well-toned torso and muscular arms and legs. He looked like a man who should be scaling mountains or saving the world, not babysitting her at a research center.
“Do we need to drive?” he asked.
“Yes, it’s only a couple of kilometers, but the weather can change very quickly. I don’t want to risk being stranded and disoriented.”
“Then shall we take one vehicle?”
“Sure. The coordinates are already set. Just turn the navigation system on and it should be the first destination listed.”
He started up the ATV and she stowed her pack and then hopped on behind him wrapping her arms around his waist. He was surprisingly warm and she rubbed her cheek against his back like a feerkit.
She should sit back, but after almost two years on her own, she found she didn’t want to relinquish a centimeter of his warmth. He didn’t seem to mind her embrace so she inched even closer and felt a corresponding heat build low in her stomach. The growl of the ATV engine echoed her purr of satisfaction as the engine vibrated through her, making the ride rather more stimulating than she had anticipated.
When they reached their destination, she hopped off as fast as she could and set about unloading her gear. She could only hope her physical reaction to him was an aberration because of her approaching mating heat. Thank the Gods; she’d not felt any direct response from Captain McNeill. Luckily, he wasn’t paying her much attention, his gaze on the white blur of the horizon, his weapon already out. She concentrated on extracting the ice probe from its icy sheath and soon forgot everything, but what she was doing.
Mac circled around the small site with a growing sense of unease. Something was out there, and it wasn’t showing up on any scans. He just knew it was there and that it was a threat. He glanced back at Dr. Neeve and found her watching him, her expression wary.
“What is it?” She slowly rose to her feet and scanned the horizon. “What’s wrong?”
“You sense it too?” Mac walked over to her. “Can you pick up anything telepathically?”
“Get down.” Something caught the edge of his vision and he looped an arm around her and lunged toward the cover of the nearest snowdrift, his body covering hers completely. He lowered his head as a ball of fire burst over them and the ATV exploded, raining bits of hot metal and fuel down over him. Another roar and they were completely covered in snow.
He heard the crackle and pop of advancing gunfire and lay as still as he could using the limited oxygen around their heads as sparingly as possible. He didn’t recognize the language the attackers were using. It didn’t make any difference. They were here to kill. His job was to make sure they didn’t succeed.
Beneath him Dr. Neeve wiggled and he increased the pressure of his body over hers holding her in place. She moved again and he set his teeth on her earlobe.
“No. Keep still.”
At his direct telepathic command she went quiet and he eased some of his weight off her. Thank God for the white snowsuits that made them blend so effortlessly into their surroundings. Gunfire raked over the research site and then all went silent. He used all his senses to scan the area and slowly counted off the minutes. There were very few options open to them. They stayed where they were and froze to death. They moved and were shot dead by one of the remaining ambushers. Personally he preferred the second worst-case scenario. At least he’d have a chance at getting to the attacker and give Dr. Neeve an opportunity to escape.
He slowly inhaled and picked up the buttery scent of the doctor’s soap and a hint of warmth that made him want to burrow his face against her neck and bite her again. At the moment, neither of them were cold thanks to their suits, but that would change. She slowly rolled her hips and her ass slid over his cock making him want to groan. It was definitely not the time to be thinking about how good it felt to have a female underneath him. One who was warm and pliant and rubbing herself against him like a cat…
Very slowly he planted one of his hands down beside her shoulder and tried to ease away from her, but she simply followed, filling the space, making his stupid cock far too aware of the sweetness of her flesh. His other arm was wrapped around her chest and now he could distinctly feel the hard thrust of her nipples against his covered skin.
“We’re going to have to move in a second. Be ready to run when I give you the word.”
She didn’t say anything but her body tensed for action.
He rolled off her in a blur of motion and came to his feet, his weapon at the ready. A faint shadow to his left had him firing off several rounds one handed. He registered a squawk of pain and the thud of something dropping to the ground. He hauled the doctor up and, keeping a hand wrapped around her arm, ran away from the still burning ATV and toward the nearest solid object they could hide behind.
With the wall at his back, he pulled her down beside him and pressed his mouth to her ear.
“Did you recognize the language?”
“Etruscan.” She barely made a sound either.
“They’ll probably wait for us back at the base, so let’s go.”
“There’s nowhere else for us to go. We’ll die out here if we don’t find shelter.” He tapped the transmitter on his shoulder. “No signal either. Is there an emergency beacon at the post?”
“Yes, two. One in the lab, one in the living quarters.”
He nodded and stared out into the rapidly darkening landscape using his enhanced senses array to plot the quickest course back to the base.
“Wait.” She grabbed his sleeve. “Why didn’t you tell me that you’re telepathic?”
“It’s a long story.” He patted her arm. “Let’s move it out.”
Neeve wasn’t sure which was more frustrating, Captain McNeill insisting they head right back into danger, or him refusing to discuss the fact that he’d spoken to her telepathically at least twice. She supposed the possibility of being killed outweighed everything else, but it was infuriating. And just to add to the stupidity of the situation, he’d stretched himself over her like a blanket and now all she could think about was how he’d felt, his smell, his weight on her, and the press of his cock against her ass.
She stumbled and he instantly stepped in and set her upright. His grip was like iron, just like the press of his cock… Gods this was ridiculous. She kept moving, aware that time was against them and that even the miraculous fabric of their clothing couldn’t keep them warm forever. It seemed to take ten times longer to cover the short distance than she’d estimated. Ahead of her, Captain McNeil stopped and touched her shoulder.
“We’re almost there. Are you okay?”
She narrowed her gaze. In the distance, she could see the faint lights of the research post. He obviously had excellent night vision.
“I’ll find you a safe place to hide and I’ll take these bastards out and come back.”
She wrapped a hand around his bicep. “Hang on. You have no idea how many of them there are, and I’m not going to be stashed away like a parcel while you get yourself out-numbered and killed. I can fight. I’ve received military training.”
His smile was lethal, his blue eyes like lasers against the whiteness of the snow. “Not like mine. I’m trained for exactly these types of situations.”
She raised her chin and repeated. “I’m not going to be left behind.”
“Dammit.” He sighed. “Where’s your weapon?”
She produced it and he nodded. “Okay, you can take the back entrance of the lab. If anyone comes out of there, or at you from any side, you shoot them.”
“I’d highly recommend it.”
He started walking again in a more circuitous pattern. Before he shut her out again, a sense of his complex and murderous thought processes suddenly slammed into her. Gods, his thought waves were like nothing she’d ever encountered before. It was like eavesdropping on a telepathic machine.
She followed him closely until he brought them up at the back of the lab building. The security systems around the post were obviously down. He indicated one of the walls that hid the trash disposal units.
“Wait here, put your back against the wall. You’ve got a clear view of the lab door, and no one can come up behind you without you hearing them.”
Even his voice sounded less human. What the hell was he? He turned away and she caught his sleeve.
He nodded and was gone so swiftly that by the time she blinked he was nowhere in sight. She leaned against the wall and assumed her firing stance, her gaze fixed firmly on the door.
The noise started quietly, a low rumble that built as something shrieked and then three single gunshots that reverberated in the chilling night air. She refocused her aim on the back door breathing out slowly the way she’d been taught. A shadow flitted by one of the windows and she stiffened as a faint telepathic probe touched her mind.
She knew there were some telepaths in the Etruscan army. Was that how they’d found her? If so, they now knew she was still alive. She focused on her shields, shutting herself down at much as possible, her gaze never leaving the back of the lab. A figure launched itself out of the door straight for her. She raised her weapon eased down on the trigger and fired.
The female stumbled, but kept coming, her red blood now staining the snow, her arm reached out to grab hold of Neeve. Bracing herself against the wall, Neeve kicked out at her assailant, knocking them both back on the snow and then she fired again. This time into the back of her assailant’s skull. Inside her head, the telepath screamed and Neeve screamed right along with her.
Then all went quiet. Nothing moved anymore and the snow around her just kept getting redder. Neeve tried to breathe through her clenched teeth and heard a wispy whistling sound that surely didn’t come from her.
“Doc, I’m behind you. Don’t shoot.”
She stayed still but she didn’t lower her weapon until he came out in full sight, hands raised. He stared down at the figure sprawled in the snow.
Her hands were shaking so badly that she almost couldn’t lock her weapon. He waited while she completed the task, his gaze everywhere, and his stance predatory.
“There were four of them. I got the other three.” He held out his hand. “It’s safe to come back in now. I’ve already contacted base, and they’ll be sending an armed unit up here as soon as the storm blows over.”
Neeve finally holstered her weapon and stood. Her knees gave way and she slid down the wall again. McNeill was on her in a flash and crouched in front of her.
“Are you hurt?”
She shook her head and stared into his calm indigo eyes. They reminded her of the night sky.
He touched her arm. “Doc?”
“I killed her.”
With a shudder, she threw herself at him and buried her face in his shoulder. After a second, his arms came around her and he held her tight.
“You did what you had to do. We’re going to be fine.”
She was shaking too hard to care what he was saying, and too intent on keeping him chained to her to do anything but breathe in the smell of death, discharged weapons and him… Gods. He smelled wonderful. She rubbed her lips over his throat, nuzzling at the fabric there.
She looked at his mouth and licked her lips before leaning in and claiming the kiss she’d been wanting ever since he’d landed on top of her in the snow. His lips were cold, but he parted them without hesitation and let her questing tongue inside the volcanic heat of his mouth. His hands shifted on her body drawing her close until she was pressed against him from head to groin.
“You’re in shock,” he whispered against her lips. “This is just a surfeit of adrenalin. You need to get inside and lie down.”
“Only if you come with me.”
But he didn’t stop holding her or kissing her, so she ignored that advice until he was groaning and moving against her, too.
This time she let him haul her to her feet and bring her into the darkened lab. He propped her up against the nearest wall and closed the back door, setting the alarms. As soon as he’d done that, she grabbed him again and started to kiss him. His thigh shoved between hers and she rubbed herself against the hardness until he started to curse.
She opened her eyes. “Gods I’m so sorry, I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I’m just—“
“Mating with me?” His smile was crooked. “We are in that time zone aren’t we?”
“Then find the medical supplies, there must be something to put me out.”
“Not advisable. I need you awake in case anyone else attacks us.”
She held his gaze, her whole body trembling as he continued to lean into her, his breathing as erratic as her own.
“Then tie me up somewhere and shut the door.”
“Negative. I need you in my sight.”
“This is working just fine.”
His mouth came down over hers with a savagery she hadn’t expected, but she opened to him, her body turning molten with need under his hands. She gasped as he picked her up and took her into the locker room that adjourned the bathroom and snapped on the lights. And then he had her against the wall and he was stripping her out of the important bits of her clothing, the ones that barred his way to her sex and she was helping him and doing the same to him.
As soon as she was freed, he picked her up and brought her crashing down over his big hard cock, holding her there with one hand wrapped around her hips as they both fought to breathe. Then he started to move fast and she started to come and then there was nothing except the slap of flesh on flesh and sensation that bridged their minds and bodies in a red-hot circle of intimacy.
Mac came inside her and wanted to roar as his hot seed pumped endlessly into her warm welcoming cunt. If he was going to die, this was one hell of a way to go.
What the hell was wrong with him?
That first sane thought for quite a while had him lifting her off him and settling her down on one of the benches.
“We’ll keep this professional, right?”
“Yes, of course.”
Mac studied her bent head. “I’ll give you all the sex you need, no strings attached for the duration of your mating period or until help arrives.”
“That’s very…generous of you.” She hesitated. “If you’re sure?”
“Not a problem, doc.” He hoped he sounded more professional than he felt.
“I’ll start the shower.”
He’d set traps around the perimeter to warn him if anyone approached and he was fairly confident they’d got the first wave of Etruscans. He had no way of knowing if there would be more. He turned the shower on, stripped off his clothes and returned to the locker room only to see Doctor Neeve’s delectable arse in the air, as she struggled out of her tiny pink panties.
Like a heat seeking laser, he came up behind her kneeling figure and grabbed her by the hips shoving his cock deep and just pounded into her. She reached around to grab his upper arm bracing herself against his thrusts as she came and kept coming until he was finally able to climax himself. He collapsed over her back, one hand cupping her breast and struggled to breathe. What the hell was going on? He was in the middle of an extremely dangerous military situation and all he could think of was fucking the good doctor until he ran out of come.
He picked her up and carried her toward the shower. “Call me Mac.”
She rubbed her face against his cheek. “I’m so sorry about this.”
“It’s hardly your fault I can’t keep my hands off you.”
“But it is.” She cupped his cheek. “I’m in heat, and you can’t help it. I didn’t realize you were a telepath. I didn’t think you’d be affected by me.”
He set her down carefully in the shower and picked up the soap. Whatever she was doing to him, it was having a miraculous effect on his dick, which was again stiff and ready for round three. He rubbed a soap slickened hand over himself and groaned and she went down on her knees and reached for him. For the first time in his life, he prayed that he’d neither be attacked nor rescued for a very long time.
His knees were wobbling by the time she finished her exquisite torturing of his cock and balls and he was more than ready to carry her back to bed and sleep the night away. He shut off the shower and fetched a warm towel to wrap her up in. He didn’t even want to cover up an inch of her skin. He wanted it on display for him so that he could touch her and fuck her at will.
God he was fucking insane! Where had that come from? He’d never been this possessive, even with Leah. The thought of his wife was enough to help him lay Dr. Neeve down on her bed and step away.
“I need to go and check our security status and call Nimbus.”
She nodded and rolled onto her side so that she could see him more clearly.
He hesitated. “Will you be all right?”
“Yes. Will you come back?”
He nodded. “Keep your weapon handy, just in case.”
He wasn’t sure he could keep away. Setting his jaw, he forced himself to leave and shut the door. The first task was to check the security cameras around the base and the second to make sure his superiors knew the situation. Even if the Etruscans had cut off normal methods of communication he had the means to make contact with anyone he pleased.
The security cameras were down, but back up power was available. After a quick override of the systems he reinforced the force field around the base using a new system the Etruscans would not be able to penetrate. Unless they were already inside the perimeter. With a few choice curses, Mac donned his snowsuit, picked up his weapon and patrolled the area around the small station buildings. It was one way of making sure his dick froze and stayed out of commission. He gathered the corpses in a neat pile for disposal by whoever eventually turned up to rescue them.
Back inside, he nuked some coffee and took it through with him to the control room. He focused on the blank screen
“Captain McNeill to Major Kaiden. Priority code 777.”
“Kaiden. Go ahead.”
Even using his advanced and enhanced telepathic powers, the reply was faint. Mac quickly summed up the situation and waited for Kaiden to reply.
“Roger that. Will check air space for any unidentified ships or shuttles and determine where your Etruscans came from. Anything else?”
Mac considered that. “Yes sir. Dr. Neeve is in her mating cycle.”
“I’m reluctant to sedate her in case we need to get out of here fast.”
There was a definite pause, as if his commanding officer was conferring with someone else.
“Mac? The Etruscan shuttle has been detected and detained from sending any more personnel down to the surface. There is a storm coming through which will delay the ground response. On the assumption that you are safe where you are, we’ll monitor the area 24/7 and alert you to any possible issues.”
“And Dr. Neeve, sir?”
“We’d appreciate it if you could be a good soldier and do your duty by her.”
Mac blinked. “You mean you want me to take care of her mating issues?”
“You’re in command, Captain McNeill. Do whatever is necessary, over and out.”
Mac sat back, If he wasn’t mistaken, he’d just been given official government approval to fuck Dr. Neeve’s brains out.
Neeve sat up and wrapped the sheet around her. She knew McNeill had returned to the post, but there was still no sign of him. He’d promised to come back. She cupped her breast and pinched her nipple. Gods she burned…
The door opened and she instantly went for her weapon but it was him, Mac as he’d told her to call him. She lowered the gun and he shut the door, and holstered his own weapon.
“Is everything okay?”
He studied her for a long moment. “Yes. They’ve found the Etruscan shuttle and shut it down. We should be safe until the rescue crew gets here.”
“Which will be when?”
“There’s a storm coming through.” He raised his arms over his head and peeled off his snowsuit giving her the perfect view of his abs and flat stomach. Then he stepped out of his pants and she could see the heavy thrust of his erect cock. ”It’s going to be a while.”
“Then you could safely knock me out.”
He walked toward her, his gaze on the sheet she had clutched to her breasts. “If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather fuck you when you’re conscious.”
She let go of the sheet. With a groan, he placed his hands on the bed and leaned forward until his mouth closed around her nipple. She gasped and reached for his cock, wrapping her hand around it and squeezing hard. Wetness coated her fingers as he sucked her and moved his shaft to the same rhythm of his mouth through the tight circle of her fingers.
His hand came off the bed, trailed over her hip and delved between her legs, separating out the slick folds of her sex, thumbing her clit and sliding his fingers deep. She came for him and he added two more fingers stretching her, making her push up against his questing hand.
She tugged on his cock and he let her pull him onto the bed and obligingly lay on his back while she straddled him. His breath hissed out as she lowered herself and took him deep, rocking against him in little circles until he was fully seated within her.
Neeve held still and looked down into his dark blue eyes. Her mind bumped his, seeking entry, but he wasn’t ready to admit her yet. Perhaps he couldn’t. Wouldn’t that be for the best?
His voice was guttural with need, his hand already splayed over her hip ready to guide her into the rhythm he wanted.
“I’m not used to doing this without a telepathic connection. It feels strange.”
“I don’t know how to open such a link.”
She rocked her hips, felt his big cock jerk inside her. “You did it without thinking the first time. Now you are guarding your mind.”
He sighed and she felt the subtle easing of his mental barriers. “Will this work?”
“Oh…” Neeve surged through his formidable defenses and started moving on his cock at the same time. “Oh Gods, yes.”
As she drove him higher and higher, his mind opened to hers and she fed him her emotional and physical reactions until he worked out how to do the same. Then she forgot about teaching him anything and simply shared the experience until she was coming so hard she screamed.
He rolled her over onto her back and held her there while he pounded into her. Each mighty stroke like a pendulum shaking the narrow bedframe until he lost his smoothness and simply fucked her, his hips slamming into hers, his pelvic bone grinding against her clit until she was just thought and sensation and red heat. He growled when he came his whole body shaking as his come flooded her.
Eventually he drew her over him again and they lay quietly, both too exhausted to do anything but breathe and inhale the scent of their coupling.
Mac was just nodding off when she touched his cheek.
“I thought Earth didn’t have any telepaths.”
“Officially, we don’t.”
“Then what are you?”
“A classified military experiment.”
“Your mind is…” She hesitated. “Like nothing I’ve ever encountered before. It’s almost like a machine.”
“That’s exactly what it is—what I am. A mechanically and genetically enhanced human being.” He touched her hair. “And that, by the way is top secret military information not to be shared with anyone.”
“Then why did you tell me?”
“In my opinion, you have a right to know who and what is in your bed.” He opened his eyes wide as another thought struck him. “I’m one of the only males on Earth who has the necessary stamina and telepathic ability to get you through this mating period. What a fucking coincidence that I happened to be assigned to the base you work at.”
“It’s also weird that my mating urges only resurfaced when there was a telepath around. I just didn’t know it.” Neeve murmured.
“It’s not something I’m supposed to shout about.”
“Because as far as the Earth is concerned enhanced soldiers are dangerous, unpredictable and should be exterminated.”
“Being a telepath doesn’t make you dangerous. I come from a planet full of them and we’re one of the most peaceful civilizations around.”
“I think telepathic power frightens them…the government, I mean. They created something they couldn’t control. They’ve been trying to disown and destroy us ever since.”
“That’s horrible.” She pulled out of his arms and came up on one elbow to stare down into his face. Her long red hair drifted against his skin. “I didn’t know anything about this.”
“I’m glad to hear it.” He let out his breath. “I should’ve realized what was going on sooner.”
“You can still sedate me. I don’t mind. I–”
He put a finger against her lips. “Dr. Neeve, whatever headquarters say, we might still be in danger. I need you conscious and alert.”
“Then I’ll go and sleep in the other room.”
He wrapped his hand around her forearm and held her still. “You’ll stay here with me, and that’s an order.”
“I’m not military, Captain McNeil.”
“In this situation you are. I want you where I can see you, preferably underneath me.”
“And what if someone turns up while I’m ‘underneath you’?”
“I’ll sense them long before it gets to that, and so will you.” He slid his other hand over the lush curve of her ass. “Right now you only have two choices, take a nap or fuck me blind.”