Three whole weeks had already passed, and he was starting to get the hang of shooting pretty good. Brantly was also learning to keep his mouth closed too. The Lieutenant’s punishments were truly nothing next to what some of the others had endured.
Cleaning the bathrooms with toothbrushes, scrubbing the kitchen and doing kitchen duty, two-hour hikes after long days of training, and no weekends off, had been put some of the others in a more docile frame of mind.
He did notice three of those who’d come in with them were gone. He had no idea where or why. It wasn’t like anyone was telling them much about their reason for being here or the secrecy.
Gorgeous Lieutenant Garnett was still as enigmatic as ever. He’d caught the cutie looking at him more than once and Brantly was still trying to decide if he should say something.
He was attracted to the man but was it wise?
It wasn’t like he was looking for a ring or anything. So, a brief fling wasn’t going to change the price of beans.
His head came up from his task. He was working kitchen duty today. He’d learned to make bread and cookies with the cook over the last two days. Two men in his unit had gotten them into trouble, but he’d ended up here while they’d ended up on harder duties.
“Yes, ma’am?” he asked the woman who filled his vision. She was clad in blue fatigues and boots. Her black hair was pulled back in a knot just as he was today.
He’d taken the lieutenant’s advice for fear of getting a haircut.
“The general’s tray?”
“Oh.” He got to his feet and hurried into the kitchen where the staff was already beginning to do the prep work for dinner.
Brantly retrieved the tray from the warmer and silverware rolled in a napkin and wrapped in a biodegradable plastic substance that had been introduced into their town five years ago.
“When you’re done with that, go ahead and go to your training, cadet,” the woman in charge of the kitchen, Gracie, told him. “I’ll see you back here after for clean up duty.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said. He took the tray out.
“Walk with me, cadet,” she said.
“Ma’am?” He met her gaze then but only momentarily remembering he wasn’t supposed to hold her eye more than a few seconds.
“You heard me,” she said lightly and then started from the empty dining hall.
He’d cleaned up after the lunch diners had filed out and everything was spotless.
“I hear you’re a college grad with a degree in history,” she said. “Why are you here? All teachers like the horticulturalists get a pass on the training.”
He hadn’t known that. By the same token he hadn’t been certain he was going to teach rather than work at the museum. He’d hoped for an offer from them.
“I didn’t know. I was ordered to come here.”
“What was your rank?” she asked.
“Ah,” she said. “You scored second highest yet highest in your area. You have a talent that could be used in security, but your kind never served in battle. Teachers are valued.”
“I don’t understand,” he said. “My kind?”
“You are rare but when you were on N4 or 5 and ended up in security you were trained to be soldiers who could destroy with your mind. Your talents lie in a telekinetic or telepathic ability that was destructive,” she told him.
“You’ll outlive us all. At least in your natural habitat that used to be true. Your kind were indestructible and a few of the special breeds were immortal. Some of those were your kind, the mental combat specialist that were coveted by many. You were often soldiers for hire.”
“What?” Brantly demanded in a hushed tone.
“Each generation produced at least three immortals. The only down-side was you could only have three children, but as a warrior you could never take a mate.”
“How? I mean, I don’t understand.”
He didn’t know this about his family. His parents were both very open about their history, but no such information had ever come from either of them.
“Here on earth, your people perished. This climate didn’t agree with the majority of them. A few may have survived after mixing with others from the N5 region.”
“What was N5?”
“It was our home, cadet. It was a region of five planets. Your trainer hasn’t explained this to you yet? You’re to become a great asset to our people and—”
“Sergeant Taggis what are you doing with my cadet?” Lieutenant Garnett’s voice was hard as it snaked around them from behind.
She stiffened next to him but turned. “Garnett,” she drawled. “I see you’re doing exactly what the general feared. You know you could be court-martialed.”
“For what?” he demanded as he came to stand toe-to-toe with her. “Doing my job, soldier?”
“For holding him back,” she snapped. “I’ve seen his results and they are sub-par. You’re not even training him in the mental warfare his kind was meant for.”
“Don’t press me,” he told her.
“I’m going to relay my findings to the general today,” she said. “He’ll order tests and when he sees what this boy is capable of, you’ll be sanctioned from keeping that from us.”
The air around them seemed to chill despite it being a hot day in June and Brantly almost shivered even as the lieutenant took a step toward her.
“The girl will also be tested to ensure you aren’t holding her back as well, and both will be removed from you,” she said.
“Don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m a cadet fresh out of the academy Sergeant,” he said acidly. “Interfere in my business and you won’t be pleased with the results.”
She laughed. “I’m not afraid of you, Garnett,” she said in a derisive tone. “I can kick your ass all over this base.”
“You can keep believing that, Sergeant,” he replied. “But if you fuck with me, I will kill you as sure as I would any stepping into my territory thinking to rule.”
Her brown eyes snapped with fire, and she reached out with her free hand. Heat slithered up his side and stole his breath.
“His training would have given him some kind of cue of how to defend against me,” she said. “But he’s weak. He won’t be in a few weeks after training with me.”
The fire ignited in him by her grew eating a path through his side to his stomach. The burn intensified there, and he let out a cry.
“Inhale deeply, pretty boy,” Lieutenant Garnett told him softly.
It was as if his voice was in his head, a soft touch on his body.
“Exhale out, and extend your and hand to me,” he said.
Brantly followed his instruction despite the pain now radiating up to his chest. He let out a cry and fell to his knees.
“Now, cadet.” Garnett’s voice was a whip.
Brantly drew in another breath and exhaled roughly as he stretched his fingers out toward Garnett. Flickers of orange danced on his fingers and Garnett seemed to catch the orange in one hand and moved slightly as if going into a crouch.
He threw out his other arm and flames slammed into the sergeant. The tray flew from her hand and Garnett moved then, grabbing her around the throat and pushing her back into the nearby brick pillar.
“Don’t you ever lay another finger on him or your ambitions to run this camp will end in ashes, shemasha.
Breathing hard she tried to break free and stomped on Garnett’s foot. He released her and backhanded her.
“Don’t forget your place soldier,” he growled at her. “Or I’ll remind you of why I’m your superior.”
Fire shone in her eyes, flickered on the fingertips of a hand but remained contained.
“You’re going to regret this Garnett,” she whispered.
“No, soldier, your dumb-ass brother will when he comes to defend your honor,” he told her. “If you’re smart, you’ll consider this a loss and wait for another chance to best me rather than get him killed.”
She drew in a rough breath. Her stare was a blade edged with fire as she stared him down.
“You better go back to the kitchen and get the general his lunch. You know what a bastard he can be when he misses his meals.”
She glared at him. “Cadet, I’ll see you later. When you’re in my charge, you’ll find out just how hot my wrath can burn.”
“Threaten him again, and we’ll go to the mat soldier.”
“You have no authority—”
“Fuck. Off, solider. Now.”
She snarled but stalked away, rubbing her throat.
Garnett helped him to his feet, his hand calloused and his touch set off a fire of arousal inside him.
“Sons of bitches,” Garnett muttered. “I’m going to have to do this sooner than I planned.”
“Do what?” Brantly asked.
“You’ll find out, but first let’s get to training. We have a few things to do before you’re called to preform for the generals.”
Preform for the generals?
“What do you mean?”
“She will go running to the general. I knew someone was watching your training, checking into your family.”
“Why? She said—”
“Silence, cadet,” he ordered.
Brantly bit the inside of his jaw to keep from speaking and grimaced. He followed the lieutenant back to the training building where he stood and waited ten minutes while he talked to Evergreen and gave her instruction.
“I’ll be back in ten minutes for a pop quiz,” he told her. “Cadet Solaris, let’s go get you started.”
The lieutenant led him to a private room where mats were laid out. Above them on the wall were several glass inserts.
The lieutenant walked over to the wall and touched a panel. “Come here cadet,” he ordered. “Take off your shoes on the side first.”
He did was he was told before walking along the wood floor toward the handsome man waiting for him. For a moment, Brantly imagined he was walking to his lover, the man who’d pull him into an embrace, kiss him softly and hold him close.
He knew those big hands would feel so good on him. His body would melt, he would get so wet and—
“Brantly,” Lieutenant Garnett growled, but his brown eyes were a rich chocolate as they ate him up alive.
Brantly’s pulse kicked and his breaths grew shallow.
“It’s like you’re reading my mind,” Brantly murmured as he came to a stop before Lieutenant Garnett.
“It’s all you, sweet boy, but I can only read certain breeds thoughts.”
“What does that mean?” he asked.
“It means you’re telegraphing loudly and my low-grade telepathy brings your thoughts right to me loud and clear.”
“You’re a telepath?” Brantly asked. Many of the people in his town were low level telepaths so that wasn’t a surprise.
However, Brantly was the only one in his family who’d tested above average in the skill.
He’d always been able to send over longer ranges as well as receive. He owned a phone, but his mother never used it. She always just telepathed to him and so did his sister.
“Those thoughts are dangerous, Brantly,” he said softly. “I can’t—I’m not supposed to get involved with cadets.”
“That’s why all you do is look?” he asked matching the lieutenant’s tone. “When I can tell you want to do more.”
“You can’t read my thoughts,” Lieutenant Garnett replied evenly. “Unless I let you.”
They were all trained in the arts of protecting their thoughts. Maintaining mental shields was of the highest importance and they were tested on it frequently in school. Then, they were given a refresher every year as adults.
“But you, you’re easy to read when you send like that.”
“Maybe I wanted you to know,” Brantly commented. “But I guess knowing isn’t half the battle in this case, eh, GI Joe?”
Lieutenant Garnett chuckled. “In this case, it’s exactly that.” He reached out and ran his fingertips along Brantly’s jaw. “Your eyes are so beautiful.”
He lowered his head blocking out the soft glow of the overhead light and their lips touched. Garnett’s were soft on his and Brantly parted his lips. Grayson’s were soft on his, and Brantly parted his lips. He was eager to feel Grayson’s tongue against his tasting him.
He could feel his heavier body pressing against his and his hands on him, stroking his body to a more heated state.
However, Garnett’s tongue didn’t slip into his mouth. Still, his eyes were a blaze of hunger that knocked the air from him.
However, Garnett’s tongue didn’t slip into his mouth.
His head swam though, his mind went blank.
To be continued...
The Price of Passion
Dade is aware that a gay man can’t be sheriff. So, torn between the life he wants and the life he must lead, Dade claims Rhys, only one of his mates. He accepts that their relationship can only survive if it’s kept in the closet.
Rhys loves Dade with all his heart and he knows Dade feels the same, but he also accepts that Jori is Dade’s mate, too. So, Rhys urges Dade to claim to complete their triad. However, Jori is resistant to sharing Dade. She fears she’ll hurt, but with both men romancing her she gives in to the passion stalking them. Then disaster strikes and Dade is forced to track down a killer. The killer is after alien relics. Jori has one of the most dangerous pieces and the killer won’t stop until he gets it. The price of passion just might demand more than either man’s heart can take.