Stranded & Seduced
House of the Cat, Book 2.75
Resistance is futile.
Cimmaron Zhaan refuses to follow the traditional path of a Dlog woman. Instead she dreams of traveling through space and flying spaceships for the Coalition. Years of hard work bring her goal within grasp until her superior seeks sexual favors and leaves her stranded on the isolated planet of Marchant.
Enter sexy club manager Tamaki Grierson. Cimmaron’s not looking for a mate, but there’s no denying that sparks fly between them. Desperate to leave Marchant, she’s determined to resist him. All she wants is to keep her head down and work—no romance for her.
But there’s something strange about the club and curiosity leads Cimmaron into trouble. Before she knows it, she’s naked with Tamaki and his best friend. Kisses. Heated embraces and torrid sex. Their loving is breathtaking. Her resistance is at low ebb, her heart and mind battling the overwhelming attraction she feels for Tamaki. If she isn’t careful, her Dlog hormones will tie her to Tamaki for life and her struggle to fly spaceships will be for naught.
Reader Advisory: Novel contains a m/f/m ménage scene.
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The bastard had left!
Cimmaron Zhaan stared around the empty transport bay, shock kicking her in the gut. She strode a tight circle to survey her surrounds—just to make sure. Her footsteps resounded in the cavernous spaceport. A worker droid scooted in front of her, and she snarled under her breath, sidestepping to dodge it. Empty. The echo of her boots mocked her, underlining her stupidity in trusting anything the captain said. The phrullin’ male had taken off early, leaving her stranded with minimum possessions and even fewer credits to her name.
Anger burned through her and her hands fisted then squeezed as she imagined wringing the captain’s beefy neck. The weight of stares from the maintenance crew jerked her from pissed to controlled and inscrutable. Yeah, she’d known the arrogant bastard had expected her to act grateful when he’d suggested they while away the long voyage from Risches to Stavek by sharing a cabin. She’d turned him down flat, and he’d transferred his attentions to one of the lesser crew. But Campbell hadn’t forgotten her slight. In fact, he’d gone out of his way to make life difficult for her. Leaving her stranded on isolated Marchant was the latest in a long line of Campbell-created annoyances.
Cimmaron stalked past the maintenance men and their droid workers with her nose in the air. Inside she seethed. What the hell was she gonna do now? Campbell had told her to wear mufti while on leave, so she didn’t even have a uniform to prove she was a pilot. All her papers were on the Intrepid. She stormed down a long corridor to the communication center. One hour later, the telecommunications tech put her through to command on the Intrepid.
“Ah, Officer Zhaan.” Campbell sat at ease in the pilot’s chair, his tunic blindingly white while his dark eyes bore a trace of smugness.
Bastard. “Captain Campbell.” Cimmaron jammed the tip of her tongue behind her teeth instead of blurting the obscenities she wanted to level at him.
“You were late. We had our allocated time slot to depart.”
Cimmaron’s eyes narrowed, but she refused to react any further, giving him the leverage to land her in even deeper crap.
“This will go on your record, Officer Zhaan.”
Too late. It seemed the situation was already beyond mere apologies and groveling. “You told me we were leaving at second moonrise.”
“First moonrise,” he countered. “Officer Zhaan, I have noted on your record you are AWOL.”
“You lied. You told me second moonrise.”
The tinge of red on his prominent brow warned her she should’ve held her tongue. His pointy ears twitched—a sure sign of impending displeasure. “None of the other crew was late back from leave.”
Cimmaron’s nails dug into her thighs, and the heat of temper crawled across her cheekbones. Phrull, she was probably flashing gold with her emotions, sparkling like the backside of a glow bug—an unfortunate side effect of being a Dlog. “Are you going to come back for me?”
“Return for one female. I don’t think so. Officer Zhaan, I’d say you’re officially screwed.” A smirk formed on his lips, echoing in his sly eyes. “Over and out.”
The phrullin’ bastard. The need to scream swelled inside her. She wanted to punch and kick and exert bodily harm on the slimy male. He might have screwed her chances of flying with the Coalition again, but she’d exact her revenge. One day, when he was least expecting it. She exited the communications room with precise steps, her back stiff with pride. The five staff manning communications had heard everything. It was obvious by the silence that even now spilled out of the room after her, taunting and full of ridicule.
Desperate to outrun her fears, the panic threatening to overwhelm her, Cimmaron stormed from the spaceport and pushed into the crowd thronging the narrow alleys outside. Market day. Locals shopped and hustled. Visitors purchased supplies to fill dwindling reserves on their short stopovers between destinations. Traders and hawkers shouted at the tops of their voices, trying to attract customers and extract credits. No doubt thieves trolled the alleyways, looking for the green and unwary who carried purses full of gold for the taking. She had no idea where she was going or what to do. Blindly, she attempted to control her blooming panic, the knowledge that the captain’s petty revenge had left her vulnerable and in big trouble. Her record would reflect the transgression unless she could prove her innocence. She’d have to travel to Coalition headquarters on Bezant. Somehow. It wasn’t going to be easy with no currency to pay for her passage. The rumors of space pirates and abductions in this galaxy meant people were wary of giving strangers rides.
Deep in thought, she bumped into a short, blue female, almost knocking her to the ground.
“Sorry,” Cimmaron said.
“Hoy, watch it.” The female struggled to maintain her footing on the slick cobblestones.
Cimmaron grabbed the female’s upper arm, holding her upright when the crush of humanity behind threatened to push her over. “My apologies,” she said in a formal tone when the danger was past.
The female righted the white cowl covering her shiny, pale-blue head and glanced at the splotches of mud decorating the hem of her robe. “I look like a low-caste.” A trace of alarm flickered over her face. “Phrull, I need this job.”
“They’re hiring at the club. I must go. They’ll close the doors when they have enough applicants.” The female darted through a gap in the crowd before Cimmaron could question her further.
The female’s words kept reverberating through her mind. A job. A job. A job. A rumbling sound punctuated her thoughts, and she bolted after the female, elbowing her way through the alley crowded with market goers as she tried to follow. No currency. She would starve, and she had to eat. A job was the solution—the only alternative she had if she wanted to leave this goddess-forsaken planet and exact revenge from that phrullin’ bastard Campbell.
In desperation, Cimmaron increased her pace, managing to keep the female in sight, despite the throng in the marketplace. The woman turned a corner, disappearing from sight. Cimmaron sprinted around the bend in the street. Where was she? Ah! She caught a flash of white as the female entered a nondescript stone building. With an extra burst of speed, Cimmaron raced toward the building, fear dogging her heels when she noticed the door closing. In desperation, she shoved at it, muscling her way inside even though the bulky Maxiom security guard attempted to slam the door in her face.
“Just a phrullin’ second. Let me in.” Cimmaron kicked his shins, gaining precious inches when he stepped out of range. “I want to come in.”
The door opened a fraction more, and the Maxiom sneered at her, his forehead caste mark glowing and underlining his contempt. Cimmaron stiffened, knowing what he saw—mud-speckled trews and a unisex tunic that hid every hint of feminine curves. If she’d worn her uniform, he would have treated her with respect, but his doubt was clear as his gaze traveled down her body and back up again. “You? Behind a bar.” His single brow rose halfway up his bald head to emphasize his skepticism.
Phrull, this job was bar work? Crummy bar work. Having her ass pinched and her breasts grabbed was not Cimmaron’s idea of a good time. But it was better than the alternative.