Lieutenant Reisen, a grim Dracheon warrior, would die for honor and duty. He has sworn to protect the captain of the Bliss. When an alien attacks the ship, seeking to harm the captain, Reisen maintains his post by her side, ready to defend her with his life.
Jayla, the ship's botanist, would never ask Reisen to turn his back on duty, not even to save her life. During an attack on her laboratory, all she asks of the impressively large male is that he take care of her beloved plants should she die... and that he remember the one stolen kiss they shared in a darkened alcove.
Reisen will never forget that kiss. Jayla is his mate, the sole being he is meant to spend his life with, and if she dies, his dreams will die with her. But he is honor-bound to protect his captain, and a Dracheon warrior never breaks his vows.
Praise for Skies on Fire
"The scenes between Jayla and Reissen burn hotter then two suns in the sky... a sexy romp through space that they will not be able to stop reading until the last hot scene."
-- Barb Hicks, Bad Barb's Place
"...an entertaining read."
-- Donna, You Gotta Read Reviews
Operation Bliss 3: Skies on Fire
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2013 Cynthia Sax
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"Lieutenant Reisen, are you there?" Jayla's beautiful face flickered on Reisen's personal viewscreen. Her gray eyes were wide with fear, her light green flight suit had been torn, exposing pale skin, and her normally restrained white-blonde curls tumbled over her shoulders.
Protect mate. Reisen folded his fingers into tight fists, struggling to control his inner-Drache, that primitive part of his personality clouding his rational thinking. He couldn't protect Jayla. He was honor-bound to stay on the bridge and safeguard Captain Zahara from the alien seeking her.
"I'm here, nebel." The endearment slipped from his lips.
"I need a favor." Metal clanged, and Jayla looked over her shoulder, her slight shoulders trembling. Blue scales shimmered over Reisen's fingers. The urge to rush through the corridors of the spacecraft to keep her safe threatened to overwhelm his rigid sense of duty.
"Could you take care of my plants until the captain finds a replacement botanist?" Jayla leaned forward as though seeking to be closer to him. "One specimen might be the discovery we've been searching for and --" Flesh pounded against metal, and she jumped in her seat, her fear palpable and painful to witness.
"You'll take care of them yourself," Reisen growled, unable to contemplate a life without his tiny human mate. She was the sun to his moon, the day to his night, his reason for being, his everything.
Jayla's laugh held no humor. "I'm a scientist, remember? Three massive Vladium males struck senseless with an alien virus and intent on copulating with one small human female doesn't bode well for my odds of survival."
She pressed her hand against the viewscreen. Reisen covered the image with his much larger hand. Sharp claws protruded from his fingertips.
"Hide," he urged, having never before felt so powerless, so torn between professional and personal duty. "Lock yourself into one of your specimen cabinets. Once I defeat the alien, I'll find you, protect you."
"I know you'll try." Her smile was heartbreakingly brave. "You're a good male, Reisen. That kiss in the alcove was the happiest moment of my life." She touched her lips, her eyes resembling the mist on his home planet. "Live a life of honor," she whispered, repeating the Dracheon phrase he'd taught her. The image on the viewscreen faded to black, and Reisen stifled his howl of outrage.
"Go to her." Captain Zahara stood before him on the bridge, facing the main viewscreen, her hands clutched behind her back, her shoulders unrelentingly straight. A white planet loomed in the distance, unnamed and unexplored, their destination before the outbreak began. "She needs you."
Reisen leveled a hard look on the female he'd been hired to safeguard. She's sending me on an errand, as she's sent the rest of her crew on errands, locking them out once they left Alpha level. He pushed away from the console and rose to his booted feet, unable to sit while his two females -- his captain and his mate -- were in danger. "My duty is to protect you."
"No, your duty as a crewmember of this ship is to obey me, your captain." Captain Zahara turned her head and met his gaze. "And there's no conflict between that duty and protecting me," she added, her tone softer. "He won't hurt me."
Why does she sound so certain? Reisen narrowed his eyes.
"Remember when you told me your destiny was to serve upon the Bliss?" The captain pivoted on her boot heels to fully face him, her gaze unflinchingly direct.
Reisen glanced at his personal viewscreen. Jayla was his destiny, his future, his mate. He nodded glumly, not trusting his voice.
"This alien being is my destiny. I tried to run from him." The captain scowled, her permanently tanned skin darkening. "And that bad decision unfortunately has endangered my crew." She returned to her captain's chair, her strides long and sure. Captain Zahara had been born to lead; her father -- Reisen's hiring officer -- was an admiral in the Galactic Alliance.
"No more lives will be lost." She waved her hands dismissively, speaking with decisiveness as though she could control death. "As your captain, I order you to protect Lieutenant Jayla." She lowered herself regally into the worn leather seat and tapped on her viewscreen with a short, blunt fingernail, refusing to look at him again.
Reisen stared at Captain Zahara, confused, his soul wishing to be with Jayla, his conscience forbidding him from leaving his captain's side. "I report to the admiral." Her father.
"You are on my ship. You report to me. That was our agreement."
Reisen said nothing. That had been their agreement. Captain Zahara refused to allow him to board the Bliss if he didn't comply. He'd had no choice. Protecting her was his sworn duty.
"Go." The captain's voice rang with an authority even Reisen's Drache responded to. "Before I have you locked up for insubordination."
Locked up, he couldn't protect anyone. A growl rumbled up Reisen's chest, and he sprinted away from the bridge, toward the research quarters. Doors slid open and closed around him. The walls of the narrow corridors blurred.
He jumped over naked bodies writhing on the floor, their moans of frantic, pain-tinged pleasure pushing him to run faster. The alien had spread a virus, infecting the ship's crewmembers with a sexual torment that could only be eased with orgasm. No other male would touch his mate!