READ AN EXCERPT BELOW
On this deep space pleasure cruise, love is in the recycled air.
~ check prices before you buy ~
Her Viewchip ( VC ) comm pinged inside her head, alerting her to an incoming message: < Sunny, where are you? You’re late.>
Sunny moaned, then froze as the Argosian stirred. < Wrong number,> she told her assistant, Elanie, over the comm in her mind.
< Do not.> Elanie was evidently in no mood. < I’ve laid an outfit out for you on your empty, unslept-in bed. We have a staff meeting to welcome the new Languages and C ustoms expert in twenty minutes. Please get your ass to your pod directly.>
< I don’t appreciate your tone, Elanie. I am very hungover.>
< Really? Because you sound like you’re still drunk. And I did say ‘ please.’>
Gingerly, Sunny scooted back toward the headboard of the Argosian’s bed and sat up. Elanie wasn’t wrong. She was still drunk. Argosian ripple didn’t take any prisoners. < What is it that you want?> Sunny asked.
Elanie’s sigh gusted between Sunny’s ears. < Please, for the love of all the stars in all the skies, bid farewell to whatever disaster you’ve wrought upon yourself and make your way to your pod. You do not want to miss this meeting.>
< Roger that.> Sunny pinched the purple skin of the arm squishing her belly. “Ahem, darling? Wakey, wakey.”
A deep and resonant rumbling erupted from the enormous man whose bed, she presumed, she was currently trying to escape.
“My sentiments precisely,” she muttered. “Would you be so kind as to remove your arm from my waist? I’m rather late.” She was also rather worried she might break in two when she tried to stand up if what she feared happened last night actually had.
The Argosian rolled onto his back, taking his arm with him.
Air flooded her lungs. “Much better.” She slid off the bed. “I’ll just find my clothes and—”
“You will not find them,” he grumbled, propping his head on an elbow and smirking sleepily at her. Golden tattoos embellished his expansive chest and firm stomach: a scythe, harvest moons glowing over a field of grain, exquisitely detailed seeds—images meant to pay tribute to the agricultural life that drove his planet’s economy.
“I can see that. Happen to know where they are?”
“You wore no clothes when I found you.” His smirk stretched into a full-fledged grin.
Sunny blinked. “I’m sorry? Can you repeat that?” She enjoyed a wild night here and there, but she had never once in her entire sordid career lost her clothes. Well, unless she counted her shoe, but she’d given that away.
Scratching his chest between his stunning pectorals, he said, “Argos makes a strong drink. Do not feel ashamed.”
“Did we…? Did I…?” Sunny gulped.
He shook his head, rueful. “We did not join. We were not worthy of each other.”
A profound relief buckled her knees. Worthy, on Argos— where males tended to outweigh females by one hundred kilos or more—referred to the way body parts might or might not fit together between two partners. Sunny offered a silent prayer of thanks to the sweet gods of fermentation who had blessed her with complete amnesia of the evaluation of said worth.
“Apologies, dear man.” She clicked her tongue. “Anatomy strikes again, eh?” Snatching his yellow coveralls —the preferred outfit for all Argosians—from the bed, she wrapped them around her body like a robe.
“No. Those are mine.” His deep voice reverberated through her ribcage.
“Yes, well, I can’t very well walk back to my pod in the nude, can I? I’m sure you understand. I will have my assistant return your garment to you straight away. You have my word.” Her hand reached out awkwardly to pat his big toe, which he wiggled playfully under her palm. She straightened, ran a hand through her hair, and recited her customary closing remarks. “I trust you are enjoying your stay aboard the Ignisar, and I sincerely hope you will look no further than LunaC orp for all your future holiday and interplanetary travel needs.”
With a curt nod, she scampered from his room while he laughed at her, shaking his gigantic, golden-tattooed head.