Intergalactic intrigue, sizzling sexual tension, and a giant snake shifter to be vanquished. Things are never dull.
Enjoying much-deserved R&R on the black sand beaches of the ruling Authority’s planet Enitrus, Cliff Blood is not happy when his brother Matt and his lover Rum show up to spoil his vacay with bad news. It seems Brand Lotus, evil snake-villain with a plan to take over Earth by force, has been discovered heading back to Earth and he’s targeting the Bloods’ favorite cops.
Problem is, the Blood boys aren’t going to make it back to Earth before Lotus gets there, so Littlejohn and Petra have to fend for themselves, while negotiating a new development in their relationship that already has them slightly off-balance.
Cliff’s hand was sweaty on the joystick.
“Steady, Blood. We’re almost there.”
They rode the airspace between two of Lotus’s drones, hidden by the sleek airships but in constant danger of being sideswiped by one of them. They’d managed to maneuver their way through the debris field to slide into line with the fighting airships heading back to Snake Eyes, but using the drones as cover was nerve-racking. At any moment the fighters’ super-sensitive detection fields could breach the fairly primitive shields the Vibrance’s shuttles carried and detect them.
Cliff glanced at Falen. “I don’t like bringing you in here. I feel like I’m delivering the lamb right to the lion’s den.”
Falen snorted. “If you think I’m a lamb I’ve been doing something wrong in the bedroom.”
“You know what I mean, Marshal. Lotus wants you bad. If he can capture you, he can bring the Intergalactic Police to its knees.”
Falen frowned. “I thought we agreed not to talk about that.”
Cliff fell silent and focused on swinging clear as the two drones they were hiding between swung into single file to approach the loading dock doors. He dropped back and positioned the shuttle close to the left rear tail-form of the second drone. “I never agreed. You agreed for me.”
Falen expelled a breath. “Look, Blood, when I joined the IP I knew it would be dangerous…”
“I’m happy for you, Marshal! What about me? I didn’t agree to you being in constant danger.”
Falen frowned. “You’re a bounty hunter, Blood. Before that you were a cop. What you do is dangerous too. But I wouldn’t even consider asking you to give it up, because it’s what you are. It’s as much a part of you as that delectable backside of yours.”
Cliff shook his head, realizing Falen was right and, worse, his not-so-subtle reminder of their phenomenal sex life took Cliff’s fickle brain off course and sent it careening down a path he couldn’t afford to be on at that moment.
Falen went on. “Nobody anticipated this, Blood. Lotus’s power play took the IP off-guard. The powers never believed he’d be able to corrupt our officers but he did. The organization is starting to rebound…”
“Thanks to you.”
“– but if Lotus gets a stronghold on Earth it will slow that process considerably.”
They were fifth in line to enter Snake Eyes’ loading dock. Close enough that Cliff could see the tiny forms of black-clad soldiers milling around inside. “What’s the deal with him going after Littlejohn and Petra?”
Falen slid Cliff a look. “I’m not sure, but it’s possible he wants to use them as leverage against me… force me to give him what I know.”
Cliff felt the blood draining from his face. “Will it work?”
“No.” Falen expelled a breath, clearly upset by his response. “It can’t. There’s way more at stake here than the lives of two cops on Earth. Though it kills me to say it.”
Cliff thought about this for a moment, reaching over to adjust their speed as they approached the big airship. “Then we’ll need to make sure he doesn’t get his hands on them.”
“I’m afraid that will be up to them, Blood. We aren’t going to get there in time to help them.” Falen slipped his harness off and stood, moving behind the seat to grab their weapons. He dropped an O2 gun into the holster he had strapped across his chest and one that shot real bullets into the small of his back. He stuck a long knife through his belt and moved to stand behind Cliff, placing his hands on his lover’s tense shoulders. “This is gonna get ugly fast, Blood. They’ll know we’re here as soon as we clear the doors. What do you have in mind?”
Cliff’s hands moved over the dials and switches on the console, prepping them for a quick landing. “We’re gonna crash and burn, literally, so you’d better strap yourself in, Marshal.”
Falen didn’t respond, but a heartbeat later Cliff felt the soft heat of the big marshal’s lips against the back of his neck. “I love you, Blood.”
Cliff closed his eyes briefly under the husky caress of that endearment. Embracing the warmth Falen’s words created in his gut, Cliff nodded. “I love you too, fire-boy. Now get that sexy ass strapped into a seat. I’m about to return you to your natural element.”
Falen did as instructed. “Phenomenal.”
“I thought you’d like that. But just so you know, if Lotus’s guys do get hold of you, I can’t promise I won’t go all squiggy on their asses.”
Falen’s lips twitched on a suppressed smile. “Noted and appreciated.”
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