The Power of Persuasion [The Triad Series #2]

Chapter 9

Apart from one extraordinary difference, the Pavlovan spaceport was similar to all the others Mac had visited over his years in the military. The vibration of telepathic thoughts was like eavesdropping on a million connected minds and was quite overwhelming. All the super soldiers stopped walking and simply stood and gazed around them.

“I suggest everyone raises their shields until we get used to this.” Mac said.

“Damn,” whispered Declan. “That’s amazing.”

Mac waited as Esca and Trenx moved in front of Neeve leaving her protected on all sides. From the look on her face, she didn’t appreciate the effort. He hardly had time to wonder why before they were moving off down the gangplank and into the reception area to the right of the landing bay.

What appeared to be a welcome committee awaited them. Esca was already grinning at someone in the lineup, so it was highly likely that Ash, the head of the Pavlovan Assembly and Esca’s First Male was present. After meeting Esca, he couldn’t help but wonder what Ash was like and how the two men lived with each other. He couldn’t imagine anyone subduing Esca’s primal fighting instincts.

“Oh heeze.”

Neeve whispered the words but Mac caught them.

“What’s wrong?”

“Don’t do that! She’ll catch it and—”

The procession came to a halt and a slender man with long silver hair dressed in a flowing white suit stepped forward.

“Welcome to Pavlovan. The Assembly would like to extend our thanks to you for bringing First Daughter Neeve safely home. We would also like to offer you our protection and citizenship of our great nation if you choose to accept it.”

Kaiden saluted. “Thank you. We are very grateful for the offer.”

Mac studied the slight silver-haired male who emanated such strong psychic power that it positively radiated out of him. The man caught his gaze and smiled.

“I’m Ash. You must be Captain McNeill.”

Mac saluted as Esca stepped out of line and went to kneel before Ash.

“First Male.” He took Ash’s hand and kissed it while Ash touched the top of his head.

“Second. I am glad to see you home safely once more.”

Mac was about to turn back to Neeve when he noticed Esca’s tongue sneak out and lick the seam where Ash’s pants covered his dick. He hurriedly looked away, but not before Ash’s hand clenched hard in Esca’s hair.

“Neeve?”

A woman spoke from behind him and he automatically stepped out of the way. God, she was one of the most beautiful women he’d ever seen. Her hair was a glossy red, her eyes green, and her body perfection.

“Aleya. How are you?”

Aleya rushed up to Neeve and gathered her in her arms. “I’m so pleased to see you! I’m so sorry about Malke, we’re all so sorry, we prayed for you.”

“Thank you.” Neeve tried to ease out of Aleya’s embrace. “It was horrible to lose him.”

Aleya still clung onto her hands. “We understand.” She turned to Mac. “He is the one?”

Neeve looked anywhere but at Mac, who was happily gawping at Aleya’s beautiful face. “We should get moving. It’s cold out here. Esca and Ash have offered to put us up at their apartment until we make more formal arrangements.”

“But, aren’t you coming home?” Aleya pressed a hand to her breast. “We’ve all been expecting you!”

“I haven’t lived at home for years, and I have no intention of returning there at present.” Neeve forced a smile. “I do intend to visit you all soon and catch up, but I’m sure you’ll understand that I have other duties.”

“Oh, well, if you’re sure.” Aleya stepped back her pretty face a mask of confusion.

Neeve kissed her on the cheek. “I do appreciate you coming to welcome me home. It means a lot.”

“Then I’m glad I came. We all wanted to come, but mother said it would be too overwhelming for you.” She smiled at Mac. “I’m so glad you found each other. It’s quite romantic isn’t it?”

Neeve briefly closed her eyes. “Please don’t make assumptions about anything yet, and if you can’t help yourself then please, for all our sakes, keep them to yourself.” She picked up her bag and slung it over her shoulder. “Captain McNeil?”

Mac followed her out of the reception area and into a slate black vehicle the size of a small planet where Kaiden and the other men were already seated. He took the seat next to her and waited until they’d moved off to raise his shields and hopefully cut everyone else out of the conversation.

“Who was she?”

“My sister, Aleya.”

“Why didn’t you want to go home with her?”

“I’m hardly going to arrive and leave you all to fend for yourselves, now am I?”

“I’m fairly certain Esca and Ash could cope. What’s wrong?”

“It’s complicated.” She hunched her shoulder and looked out of the window at the shining silver buildings that lined the roadside. “Can we talk about it later?”

“If you will talk about it.”

“Trust me,” she offered him a small smile. “I don’t have a choice.”

Ash’s home was huge and covered two floors containing six different suites of rooms. Ash had excused himself and gone back to work leaving the soldiers to sort out their room assignments on the lower floor. Neeve was offered a suite on the top floor, which Esca said had previously belonged to Soreya before she’d committed herself to moving in fully with Ash and him.

Mac dumped his kit alongside Neeve’s and no one said a thing. Even she couldn’t be bothered to argue about it right now. And it was probably better if he was alone with her when she had to tell him about her mother and the prophecies and all the other crap that had made her and Malke run as far away from Pavlovan as they could get. Everyone else disappeared to get settled, leaving her alone with Mac in the large modern white suite.

She started as his hand curved around her neck and he rubbed his thumb against the roundness of her spine.

“You’re tense.”

“There are good reasons for that.”

“I thought you wanted to come home?”

“I don’t think I had a choice.” She sighed. “I also wanted to make sure you and the others got away from such an invalidating environment.”

“You mean Earth?”

“Professor Dean’s treatment of you was barbaric.”

His thumb stopped caressing her and he slipped in real speech. “I know. She treated us like lab rats for her own personal glorification. Is there a shower in here?”

She wasn’t the only one who had difficulty in opening up about the past. Neeve pointed toward the second door. “The bathrooms through there.”

He linked his fingers through hers. “Come on.”

“But—”

“Just come and shower with me. You can tell me what’s on your mind later.”

She squeezed his hand. “Is it that obvious?”

“Only to me.” He kissed her on the forehead. “I can read you so easily these days.”

She followed him into the vast bathroom that Chase, Ash’s housekeeper, always kept stocked with shampoo and lotions and anything else that an unexpected guest, let alone ten, might require during their stay. Neeve reckoned that if she asked, Chase would probably produce a complete wardrobe for her, too.

With a grateful sigh, she unzipped her space suit and put the massive shower on. As she undressed, she got the pleasure of watching Mac strip and enjoyed that immensely. Even though she’d seen him naked on the ship, the close quarters hadn’t allowed her to really appreciate the sight of his tight abs, muscled shoulders and the way his body flexed and moved like an athlete’s.

“What’s wrong?”

He dropped his underpants onto the carpet and turned toward her. Her gaze immediately dropped to the dark hair at his groin and the growing thrust of his cock.

“Nothing. I’m just appreciating the view.”

“As am I.”

He smiled slowly, his dark blue gaze scanning her in return. Her nipples tightened and she felt a stirring of warmth low in her sex as his shaft grew even bigger. She walked with him into the shower, aware of the scent of her arousal rising around her and the wetness gleaming on the crown of his cock as it nudged her ass.

“Turn around.”

She allowed him to maneuver her under the spray of the water and stood patiently as he soaped up his hands and ran them all over her skin until she was humming her satisfaction against his chest. It seemed natural to return the favor, so she washed him as well, paying particular attention to his balls and cock and the hard muscles of his ass.

“Mmm…nice,” she whispered and looked down to where his shaft hotly throbbed against her belly. “But this definitely needs more washing.” She went down on her knees and took him into her mouth sucking in both the faint remnants of soap and the far earthier tang of his pre-cum that continued to coat the crown of his cock.

Reaching between his legs, she cupped his balls in her palm and slid one finger up to stroke the soft skin of his taint. He started to move with her, his hips angling him forward into her mouth so that she had no choice but to take him deeper.

She circled the pucker of his ass with her finger until he was shuddering. With a groan, he slid a hand into her wet hair and cradled her skull.

“Put it in me.”

“My finger?”

“Yeah, in my arse.”

She gathered some soap on her finger and returned to her task circling and playing with his asshole until she could just wedge the tip of her finger inside him.

“God…”

He thickened even more in her mouth, his thrusts becoming shorter and more demanding as he arched his spine against the intrusion. She eased a little deeper and he bucked against her and started to come in thick hot waves down her throat, holding her head within his grasp so that even if she’d wanted to move away, she wouldn’t have been able to.

As soon as he’d finished coming, he picked her up and walked through to the bedroom kicking open the door and bouncing her down onto the middle of the bed.

He was on her before she gathered her breath, his mouth sucking and licking at her breasts as his hands shaped her hips and ass and then centered on her sex. He drew back to stare down at her wide open legs, using his thumbs to spread the lips of her sex and then plunged both of them inside her in a demanding rhythm as his mouth descended on her clit.

“Mac, gods, I’m…”

She didn’t need the words because she was too busy coming and grinding her sex against his stabbing and nuzzling tongue as he drew her even higher. He growled against her most tender flesh and moved again, his cock now sliding inside her. With a moan, she wrapped her legs high around his hips and dug her heels into his ass as he slowly pumped back and forth.

She came again and he slid his hands under her buttocks bringing her deeper into the thrust of his shaft and the grind of his pelvic bone against her most sensitive parts. His mind reached for hers and she opened to him on every level, let her pleasure echo in his mind and experienced his in hers.

“Don’t be sad.”

His words rang in her head.

“I’m not, I just wish…wish you were really mine.”

She couldn’t stop the thought and felt it smack against his fast rising shields. She shoved her hands between them and pushed on his chest.

“I can’t do this anymore. Give you everything while you try and hide from me.” She glared at him aware she was close to tears and hating the weakness of it. She shoved him hard until he gave her enough space to slide out from under him and scuttle to the corner of the bed.

“Neeve—”

She held up her hand. “Shut up! I know what you are going to say and I know I agreed we could just do the sex part, but I can’t. It just doesn’t feel right not to have that connection with you.”

“But you fucked Kaiden.”

“Because he and I both knew there was nothing between us. This…” she waved her hand at him “is completely different and it feels all wrong, as if you are deliberately ignoring what you know to be true.”

Mac folded his arms across his chest and glared right back at her. “But I don’t know it to be true. It is completely outside my experience of how a relationship is supposed to work. We don’t do this shit on Earth!”

“You’re not on Earth!”

He raised an eyebrow and her hand curled into a fist.

“Neeve, I agreed to come to Pavlovan with you, meet the Oracle and take it from there. If your Oracle says I’m destined to be your mate, then I’ll accept it.” He paused. “What’s so impossible to understand about my thought process?”

“You’ll accept it?”

His mouth curved up at the corner. “Do you think I’m stupid or something?”

“But what about our third?”

He shrugged. “I’ll have to deal with that when or if it happens. Trenx told me I might have been you and Malke’s third. If that’s the case, there might not be another person to worry about.”

Neeve stared at him for a long moment. “It’s that simple?”

“It is if you want it to be.” He paused and rubbed a hand over his scalp. “I know I’m not exactly what you expected Neeve, I’ve already picked up a lot of ‘thoughts’ about my unsuitability for you.”

“From where?”

“There are millions of telepaths on Pavlovan. As you keep telling me, my shields need work. I’m already getting the sense that you’re a princess and I’m an ignorant alien peasant.”

She raised her chin. “No one’s said anything to me. Ash approves and that’s all that matters.” That wasn’t quite true, but she’d handle that when it happened.

He smiled and held out his hand. “Then will you come here and finish this?” He glanced down at his still hard cock. “And then you can tell me why you don’t want to see your sister.”

Mac glanced back at the bed where Neeve was sleeping. He walked over and drew the covers over her naked form, smoothing her long red hair away from her face. In sleep, her features looked more like her sister’s than when she was in motion. He still hadn’t gotten her to talk about what else was bothering her. Why did females have to make everything so damned complicated? Her outburst about his lack of “bonding” had been a sidetrack and once he’d explained his obvious reasoning, she’d had no option but to back down.

He pulled on a pair of boxers and a dressing gown that he found hanging in the bathroom. Perhaps he should’ve made her talk to him before they’d made love again and she’d fallen asleep. His stomach growled. But maybe it would be better to hear whatever was really wrong on a full stomach.

He left the suite and headed for the main family room and kitchen area, hoping that Chase would offer to make him a sandwich or something. He didn’t even know the time, or how long a Pavlovan day was. The murmur of voices made him slow down, but it was too late to go back. The couple embracing in the kitchen had already seen him.

“Mac!” Esca called out. “Come and meet Soreya, our one and only female.” He kept a casual arm around the petite female next to him.

“Captain McNeil.”

Her accent was different to the Pavlovans and the brush of her mind against his was distinctly original.

“Please, call me Mac. And thank you for allowing us all to invade your home.”

She shrugged. “I served in the Etruscan military. I’m used to being surrounded by soldiers.”

“You’re Etruscan?”

“By birth.” She glanced up at Esca. “Any Etruscan male who shows signs of being telepathic is neutralized, but some of the females are kept to serve the army. That’s how Esca and I met.”

“I saved her life.” Esca said and winced as his mate elbowed him in the gut.

“Actually, that’s true, but I saved him first.”

Mac couldn’t help but smile as Soreya handed him a cup of real Earth-style coffee and something that resembled a square donut.

“Dinners going to be ready soon. But Chase spent all morning researching Earth food and that snack, whatever it is, should apparently keep you going. ” She gestured at the couch. “Come and sit with us.”

Mac followed her and Esca to the white couches in front of the floor to ceiling windows. The city scrolled out beneath them, the lights of the coast and the spaceport a twinkling array in the far distance.

“That’s some view.”

“I know. I couldn’t believe it when Esca first brought me here. I was so intimidated, but this is nothing compared to Neeve’s home, I suppose.”

Mac sipped at his coffee, which was strong, black, and just how he liked it. “I have no idea what Neeve’s house looks like. I didn’t even know she had one. Did she live in it with Malke?”

“Oh, I meant her family home. She’ll probably take you there to meet her siblings at some point.” Soreya paused as if Esca was communicating with her. “That is, if you are really mated.”

“That’s for the Oracle to say.”

“That should be interesting,” Esca murmured.

“Why?”

“Because the Oracle doesn’t always say what you want to hear. I nearly threatened her with violence when she announced I was Second Male.” He shook his head. “You don’t do that to the Oracle. My parents nearly had a heart attack.”

“You were quite young,” Soreya patted his knee.

“Yeah, eighteen isn’t the ideal time to find out you’re going to be permanently on your knees sucking your First Male’s dick.” Esca grinned. “And then I met Ash and he let me go and do what I had to do, and then showed me just how much I was going to love sucking his dick.”

“Esca!” Soreya slapped him this time and Mac fought a smile. “You’re supposed to be reassuring Mac, not making things worse!”

“It’s okay.” Mac put his coffee down. “The whole concept of a threesome isn’t one I’m used to on Earth, but seeing you guys together makes sense.”

“I wasn’t sure about it either.” Soreya confessed. “But—”

“But when she realized she got me and Ash, she came around.” Esca winked at his mate. “She came…a lot actually.”

Soreya’s cheeks were now red but she kissed Esca’s chin. “My Etruscan family thought it was a sin for me to mate with another telepath, let alone two. I’m no longer considered part of their family, and I’m okay with that.”

“Okay with what?”

Ash had come through the door. He dropped his case on the floor and advanced into the room shucking off his jacket as he went. Mac watched as Esca and Soreya turned to him like he was a fucking rock star. Even Mac felt his power. It changed the whole dynamic of the psychic space.

“Captain McNeil, how are you?”

Ash smiled at him as he came to sit on the couch next to Soreya. He dropped a kiss on Esca’s cheek and then on the top of his female’s head.

“Please, call me Mac. And thanks for putting us up. It’s much appreciated.”

“Neeve is my cousin. This is the least I could do to help her out. If your unit decides to stay on Pavlovan, we can provide you with accommodation and employment. Soreya works at the university where she teaches her extraordinary telepathic skill set to our youth. I’m sure you have additional skills we could learn from as well.”

“I’m not sure about that. We were selected for having emerging telepathic traits and biogenetically engineered to enhance those abilities along with physical strength. We had to work damn hard to achieve everything.”

“Which is a new concept for us. If you are willing, and only if you are willing, you could help our research scientists quite considerably. Ninety-nine percent of our population is born with some telepathic ability, which is nurtured from birth, but can also be taken for granted. Being able to offer opportunities to enhance that ability in different ways would be very useful.”

When Ash smiled at him, Mac had to smile back. In fact, he wanted to crawl off the couch and go over and put his head right in Ash’s lap and simply soak up his telepathic aura…

Esca snorted. “Stop it, Ash. You’re making Mac uncomfortable.”

“No, he’s not, I’m just…” Mac tried to think of the right words. “It’s like I want to—”

“Do this?”

Ash’s beautiful mind flowed around his and he instinctively let him in and simply wallowed in the power of the exchange.

“Yes.”

His cock jerked against his boxers fighting to get free. Ash gently broke away from his mind leaving Mac feeling like he’d just had the best orgasm of his life.

“Don’t worry, Mac, I’m not jealous. Ash has that effect on people sometimes.”

Mac jerked his head around to see Neeve coming through the bedroom door. She didn’t seem too bothered to see him sitting there with a hard-on panting over her cousin.

Mac cleared his throat as Neeve sat down beside him and rapidly changed the subject. “Have the others settled in okay, Esca?”

“Yes, they are all coming up here for dinner, so you can check in with them then. Kaiden’s got them all in hand.”

“Good.” Mac tried to ignore the way Neeve’s hand had come to rest on his thigh. He wanted to grab her wrist and press her fingers firmly over his cock.

“You like an audience now?”

He glanced over at the others but no one seemed to have heard her remark as they discussed the upcoming dinner and where everyone was going to sit.

“No. If you did touch me right now, I’d probably come.”

“You’d like Ash to see that, wouldn’t you?”

Her fingers slid up his thigh, her thumb edging close to his balls and he caught his breath.

Her laughter echoed inside his head. “I’m just kidding. Ash really can’t help it. Telepathic charisma is a lethal weapon and he has it in spades. After you’ve spoken to the diplomatic liaison tomorrow, would you like to come and visit my family home?”

“If that’s what you want.”

She grimaced. “It has to be done.” The doorbell rang. “That will be Trenx. Hadn’t you better go and get dressed?”

Mac glanced down at his dressing gown and the thick thrust of his cock. “Only if you come and help me choose something to wear.”

“Like your uniform? You don’t even have anything else, do you?” She rose gracefully to her feet and held out her hand. “You’re on.”

He followed her into their suite and shut the door, one hand already wrapped around his aching wet shaft. She immediately went down on her knees.

“Let me take care of that for you.”

“I won’t last more than ten seconds.” Even while he protested he was shoving down his boxers and reaching for her. “God…”

She sucked him hard and fast as he imagined a man might do and he started to come at the thought of Ash watching him, fucking him, owning him…

Perhaps having a third person in your bed didn’t have to be quite as alarming as he’d previously imagined. Luckily for him, Ash was already taken.