We absolutely loved Coon Creek Campground onWe're headed to
AND I finished the first draft of Forbidden Nights, the third book in my
Forbidden series. Now the polishing starts. I absolutely love this part of the
writing process. I think because, for me, a lot of the pressure is off. Lake Shelbyville
Since we became full time RVers April 2016 we've been traveling across the
I truly believe visiting so many states has opened my eyes to other parts of the country. We have mountains in
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“I’m going crazy,” Mala murmured. Jumping to her feet, she strode to the plate glass window overlooking the pristine city surrounding her townhouse.
The planet Nerak, where the light never faded and everything was white. So horribly white—colorless, stark and cold. Just like everything on her planet.
“Would you like a hormone smoothie?” Barton asked over the monitoring system.
She stuck her tongue out. “No, I wouldn’t like a smoothie.”
A small aero unit whizzed past, rattling her window. Everything moved too fast. Instant gratification. Sad? Drink a happy smoothie. Tired? Drink an energy smoothie. Horny? Drink a hormone smoothie. Everything was a quick fix.
“You get this way every year. I’m only suggesting a smoothie because it usually calms you.”
She cocked an eyebrow. “Maybe because it has a sedative in it?”
“We could copulate.” A door that blended with the wall whisked silently open.
She turned as Barton stepped inside the room. He was like no other. Six feet three inches of rugged, sexy male. Blond hair, blue eyes...she should be happy. She should. Shouldn’t she?
Then why was she so frustrated!
“It’s been three years, twenty-one days, fourteen hours, twenty-two minutes and nine seconds since you’ve had an orgasm,” he informed her.
And he was driving her crazy. She didn’t want perfection, but Barton was exactly the way she’d ordered him. A gift from her cousin on Mala’s twenty-first birthday. Together they had chosen everything about him. He was their creation.
At the time, her older cousin, Kia, had been going through a rebellious period and had smuggled a catalog of male specimens into Mala’s apartment. Barton was born from a sketch they’d compiled. But they had taken their creation a step further. They’d practically breathed life into him. At least, as much life as could be breathed into a companion unit. Barton had all the emotions of any Nerakian.
He was the perfect male.
He was still perfect five years later.
Everything about her life was perfect.
She hated it.
“You’re grinding your teeth again. I take it sex is not an option.”
“No, sex is not an option.” She turned back to the window.
“Ahh, what?” she asked without turning around.
“You’ve been looking at that book again.”
She stiffened, then quickly relaxed her shoulders. “What book?” That was the most un-innocent sounding question she’d ever asked.
“You’re being evasive, aren’t you? You know perfectly well what book I mean. The one from your grandmother’s travels. The one about that other place...Earth.”
Why had she even thought she could fool him? He’d been around her too long. There was nothing she could hide.
So why did she even try? She might as well confess. But first things first.
Her eyes narrowed as she faced him. “You swear on the promise stones that you won’t say a word? Even if they threaten to remove your microchip?”
His chin jutted forward. “Have I ever betrayed you?”
“Sorry.” Damn, she had to remember that Barton was special. Although very analytical, he still had feelings. She’d made sure of that even though her cousin had warned against adding the sensitivity chip...among others. But she didn’t want just a companion unit. She had to have more than a machine. Well, she’d certainly gotten more than she bargained for with Barton.
She went to the bookcase and pulled three reference books from the shelf, then reached to the back of the case, pushing a hidden button. Her fingers tingled when they brushed over the book—her grandmother’s diary, and even more precious...the film.
She glanced behind her before bringing them out. “Hide the window.”
Barton waved a hand and the window disappeared, soft lights automatically came on, only then did she bring the materials out.
“Do you realize how much trouble you can get into by just having these documents?”
“Of course I do,” she told him as she carried everything to the lounging sofa. “They barred distant travel after my grandmother’s last voyage—the year I was born. They said our society was being tarnished by the ideas that were brought back.”
“You do realize the Coalition is looking out for your best interests. From the small amount of information on space travel that I have programmed into my system, Earth is by far the most untamable.”
“But don’t you see, that’s what makes it so exciting. People can actually think for themselves. They don’t have a Coalition of Elders telling them what’s in their best interest. They’re allowed to make their own mistakes. They can grow and learn from them.”
She placed the film in the change port. A hologram filled the room with sound and color. She could almost reach out and touch the trees, could almost feel the spray from the waterfall as it cascaded over the mountain and splashed down into the pond.
She inhaled. “I wonder what it smells like on Earth?”
She frowned at Barton before letting the unfolding scenes capture her attention once more. The hologram wasn’t much different from the ones she inserted into the port when she wanted to go to a park or just get away from the noise inside the town bubble. This hologram depicted a place that really existed. That was the difference.
Her grandmother had labeled the documentary an XXX rated western movie. Whatever that meant. Not that it mattered that much. This was her proof there was more in the universe than Nerak. There was even a title on the box: Callie Does the Sheriff. She wished her grandmother had explained more instead of leaving so many unanswered questions.
She returned her attention to the waterfall. The woman washed herself beneath the spray of water, her thin pink dress transparent as she slid a small white brick over her body. From the expression on the woman’s face, the sensation must have been enjoyable.
Her grandmother’s journal had described something similar and called it bathing. She said it was a barbaric custom Earth people did to cleanse their bodies.
How odd they had to run a white brick over their bodies. Every morning Mala went to the chamber, waved her hand and beams of light rid her body of bacteria.
But the woman did seem excited. For a moment, she wished she had a white brick to rub over her body. It looked much more enjoyable than beams of light she never felt. Sighing, she watched what happened next, even though she’d secretly watched the film before.
The woman hadn’t seen the man yet. When she turned from the waterfall, her pupils dilated.
The man sat atop a four-legged beast, gazing upon her, but there was something in his eyes that made Mala’s thighs tremble. It was as if no one else existed for him.
He climbed off the animal. The shiny metal star he wore on his shirt sparkled in the sunlight. She held her breath, watching his face and the lazy look he gave her before he sat on a rock and pulled off his boots.
“Sheriff, what are you doing?” The woman’s voice trembled.
“What I should’ve done a long time ago, Callie May.”
He removed his clothes before stepping into the water, every inch of his backside displayed for Mala’s enjoyment. Muscles rippled as he waded farther out, then dove beneath the murky green water. When Sheriff emerged, he was beside Callie May, taking her into his arms, lowering his mouth to hers. He moved his hand to her breast, massaging.
Mala could barely swallow, let alone breathe, her gaze riveted on the couple.
Sheriff tugged the front of Callie’s dress and it opened. “I want to see you, darlin’. You’ve been teasin’ me for a long time.”
“But we’re out in the open.” She glanced furtively around, her eyes wide, but Mala didn’t think she looked that upset. “What if someone sees?” she said in a breathless voice.
“I don’t care.” He cupped her breast before lowering his head and covering it with his mouth. He suckled for a moment, then raised his head. “I’m going to make love to you, baby. The hot, dirty kind. You ain’t never had an orgasm like you’re gonna have with me.”
“Isn’t he magnificent?” Mala breathed.
“This was what I was designed from? He seems rather savage if you ask me.” Barton sniffed.
Sometimes she wanted to remove Barton’s sensitivity chip. She turned off the hologram. “It’s a primitive planet. I’ve read my grandmother’s journal. The beast the man sat upon is a horse.” She frowned. “Or maybe a cow. I’m not quite sure. Her journals are a little difficult to translate. She was only there to gather the minimum amount of information. Her time on the planet was very brief.”
“And the couple in the hologram? They were about to copulate?”
“I’m not sure. I think so.” She bit her bottom lip. “Yes, I’m almost certain of it. Some of the film was damaged so I’m not positive how their encounter ended. I think they joined, but it was more intense than just copulating, more going on than relieving stress.”
“Would you like me to do what Sheriff did? I can, you know.”
How did she tell him something would be lost in the process? She didn’t want to join for the sake of release. She wanted someone who would...who would make love to her. Was that asking too much?
“Why are you so fascinated with Earth?” he asked, changing the subject. “It’s not like you’ll ever go there.”
A half smile played around her lips.
“I have her journal. It contains all the information I would need to survive.” She took a deep breath. “I know where they store the space travel crafts.”
“Those old scraps of metal? I doubt you’d be able to get one of them out of its port.” His beautiful blue eyes grew round. “You don’t actually plan...”
“Yes!” She flung her arms wide and twirled around the room. “Barton, I don’t belong here. I want to experience life, not watch it on a hologram. I want to know what dirt feels like. I want to walk barefoot through a meadow. I want to stand beneath a waterfall.”
“But you can do that now.”
“No, a hologram isn’t the same. I don’t want to find myself transported to a make-believe park. I want the real thing.”
“But with reality comes other things—like pain. There are no thorns to step upon in the Coalition’s Safety Travels. You can have the pleasure without being hurt. It’s perfect.”
She plopped down on the lounging sofa and drew her knees up. “Don’t you see? I don’t want perfection. I want to experience everything.”
Now she’d hurt his feelings. Barton had been programmed to see to her every need. There were no men left on her planet. He was the perfect male specimen.
“You’re my friend,” she told him. “But I need more. Please try to understand that it’s not you. It’s me.”
He raised his chin. “When are we making the journey?”
She flinched. This was the hard part, but she couldn’t risk putting him in danger. “Just me. I won’t take a chance with you.” When he opened his mouth, she hurried on. “Besides, the Coalition won’t even realize I’m gone if you’re here. I just want to see what this planet is like. I’ll be gone no longer than a few rotations.”
He hesitated. “You’ll swear on the promise stones?”
“I still don’t like it. They may be closer to us in language and atmosphere, but their culture is so far behind ours. How will you manage?”
“Grandmother’s book.” She raised the journal. “I’ve studied it very carefully. I know their favorite saying is, well, hell, and that it’s early summer on the planet. I have everything I need right here.” She tapped her finger on the book.
What she was about to embark on finally sank into her brain. She was going to Earth. A slow smile curved her lips. Maybe she’d even meet the man in the hologram. The one called Sheriff.
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