Dr. Sera Gibbons is one of only two human survivors after a five hundred year cryogenic freeze. Saved by the merman Bretton Hahn, she savors the way he caresses her and makes her live out her wildest fantasies.
Note: This story was previously published as part of the Carnal Desires anthology.
He froze at the sound of his father’s voice behind him. Neptune preserve him, he had no desire to see the older man after a passionate session with Sera. It always left him confused and angry with himself for losing control. He shouldn’t want her, shouldn’t touch her. And yet he’d been unable to resist since the very first. A full Turn had gone by, and he’d been unable to slake his lust for the curvaceous scientist.
Clasping his hands behind his back, he waited for his father to draw abreast of him. Cuthbert Hahn looked every inch the senior counselor he was. He advised the Senate on all manner of political and social agendas. The Hahn family had always participated in the ruling of Aquatilis. Bretton followed in that proud tradition in his position as the chief ambassador to the other colonized planets. It was an important path before him, one he needed to perfect. He pulled in a deep breath and faced his father.READ MORE
Cuthbert’s nostrils flared. He had the slightly wide and flat nose of a merpeople—all mammals on the planet had been genetically engineered to have their breathing passages lined with gills. His turquoise gaze slid over Bretton’s shoulder in the direction of Sera’s quarters. He narrowed his eyes and jerked his chin, indicating that Bretton should follow. “I worry you’re getting too close to the human, son.”
“I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to say.” Bretton’s jaw flexed. He had no desire to speak of Sera. He knew he should cease his relations with her, but what he should do and what he did were two very different things with her. He’d worked hard to perfect himself—as did all merpeople—but with her… He cursed himself for his weakness and her for twisting him into knots.
Cuthbert grunted, working hard to keep pace with Bretton’s longer stride. “You have a duty to your people. You don’t have time to become entangled with someone like her.”
“Like her?” The question ground out between Bretton’s clenched teeth. While he knew he shouldn’t be involved with Sera, it angered him to hear others speak poorly of her. She wasn’t a mermaid, so why did so many try to force her to act like one? But he could never vent his frustrations. In public, he had to act as though he was constantly improving himself. Before Sera, he hadn’t had to act, he had simply been what he should be. And anger and frustration—involvement with an imperfect woman—would cause scrutiny he didn’t want. He was a political figure, constantly under surveillance for any slip in demeanor.
“Emotional. Volatile. She’d make a poor mate for an ambassador. Especially the chief ambassador. You have an example to set. The ambassadorial corps must be cool, logical, and socially adept—she is none of those things. She’s the kind of woman who expects love in a mating.”
Bretton rolled his eyes. “Neptune forbid.”
“This is no jest, Bretton. I’m deadly serious.” His father caught his arm. Rabid intensity shone in his gaze.
Bretton snapped to attention and nodded. He knew what his father said was true. His hands balled into fists at his sides, but he kept his tone respectful. “I understand, sir.”
“Do not confuse physical compatibility with the makings of a suitable mate.” Cuthbert’s voice took on the lecturing tone he’d used when Bretton was a child. It grated to hear it now when he was a grown man.
“Sera is not Mother.” No, his mother had disgraced their family and left his father to live on a sea cow ranch at the very outskirts of merpeople civilization near the lost city of Pacifica. In doing so, she’d exposed them all to scorn for straying from the path of vigilant self-improvement. It had ruined his father’s career. He’d never be elected a senator or make the chancellorship as so many Hahns had before him. Now his father expected Bretton to fill the breach, to be everything Cuthbert could not.
His father gave a derisive snort. “Every woman is like your mother. I refuse to see you make the same mistakes I did.”
Bretton pinched the bridge of his nose. He knew his father was correct. Mating with the wrong woman had all but ended Cuthbert’s political aspirations—and Bretton had no right to dishonor his family like his mother had. He smiled, but it held no amusement. It had taken the Senate very little time to realize that Sera didn’t respond well to authority—and the only one who had any luck garnering her cooperation was Bretton. So she’d become his responsibility. Regardless of his official duties, he had to stop seeing her in a personal manner. Had to stop touching her, lusting after her, dreaming of her.
He heaved a weary sigh and ran a hand across his forehead. The trade ship was the most important function of his position each Turn, and letting Sera distract him was an error he couldn’t allow himself.COLLAPSE