Tempting Auzed: Chapter 18

Meg, Alex, and Auzed remained sprawled in their section long after the winners had been announced and most of the spectators had left—no doubt venturing to the plethora of after-parties held throughout Sauven.

The two females recounted highlights of the game while sipping on yubskani, the sweet alcohol made from the fermented syrup of the Sauven trees. Auzed even found himself interjecting here and there with his own thoughts, their exuberant glee contagious.

Daunet had joined them after a while. There was no one left in their section to guard against, after all. As the cleaners made more and more frequent rounds, shooting annoyed glares their way, and the small bots vacuuming the ground insistently bumped their feet, he knew it was time to leave.  

“Where are you guys staying?” Alex asked.

Meg glanced over to Daunet uncertainly. “Somewhere by the restaurant district, maybe? Wherever they put us, it’s super crowded.”

Alex drew her lips inward and raised her brows to Meg with a conspiratorial grin.

“What are you thinking?” Meg asked, leaning forward with a grin of her own.


What the hell was a sleepover? Was it what it sounded like? Did she want Meg to stay with them at the nest? A sudden wave of jealousy that he hadn’t planned for roared through him. Did Alex enjoy a female’s company as well? Did he now have to compete with everyone? He peered toward Daunet, who he knew also preferred the female sex, but was relieved to see she didn’t appear interested in either human.

All day he’d been pondering Alex’s words about sleeping in the same bed and how she’d been ready to fuck him last night. He hadn’t let his thoughts linger on the idea too long because…well, because he wasn’t sure he’d make it through the first day of the games if he did.

Despite all that he’d learned about controlling his possessive instincts, he found his palm had traveled to rest on Alex’s thigh once again. He held back a wince, wondering how she’d respond.

Her leg tensed underneath him, and she gave him an odd look. Then she flashed a glance back to Meg and her brows rose. She bit her lip before grinning brilliantly. “A sleepover is a common thing human women do. Friends sleep at each other’s houses and bond.”

Auzed just stopped himself from releasing a relieved breath.

“Want to?” she asked Daunet.

With a shrug and a barely contained grin, Daunet nodded. “I don’t, but don’t let me stop you. As long as you don’t mind me returning to sleep in the nest.”

“Totally.” Meg and Alex stared at each other and released sounds dangerously close to squeals.


Bonding, as it turned out, included large quantities of alcohol, loud, off-key singing, and the full spectrum of emotion. At present, Auzed was planted on one of the couches while Alex and Meg tried to re-enact one of the movies Alex so frequently talked about.  He’d made a show of refusing to be an audience member, but in truth he enjoyed having something to do. On a deeper level he was not ready to acknowledge, he loved Alex’s pleas for him to participate.

When he’d refused, she’d urged and beseeched where most Clecanian females would have moved on. She wanted him to mingle. To participate in her life. Not because she needed something from him but because she seemed to simply want him near. His whole life he’d always felt needed. Needed as a soldier, as a brother, as a guard, sometimes as a male, but he couldn’t remember ever feeling wanted.

Throughout the evening, she’d made a point of including him in the conversation, explaining unfamiliar human things and making inside jokes that only he understood.

“Auzed, this is one of the best parts!” Meg shouted, rousing him from his thoughts.

Standing on a chair, Alex wobbled, and Auzed readied to catch her in case she toppled over. Her face was flushed and her hair frizzed out around her temples, both from the drink and from the animated acting they’d been doing for the past few hours. This was the most recent of the three movies they’d acted out for him. The first concerned a male exploring ancient landmarks and, for some reason, wielding an animal-skin whip. The second seemed to explore the intricacies and humor of robbing a gambling den, though he hadn’t followed all of that storyline.

This one was turning out to be the most confusing yet, since Alex and Meg kept interrupting each other to go off on tangents about the plot or other things altogether, but he’d gleaned that it was a film about animals from Earth and about the lost king of a ruling family returning to save his kingdom.

With a cranky Wilson clasped in her hands, she raised him high in the air. “And then he shows the prince to all the animals below,” Alex boomed in a voice meant to invoke awe and wonder.

From behind her, Meg suddenly began singing at the top of her lungs. “Circle of life!”

Meg’s voice was so awful that Alex snorted and broke into a fit of silent laughter, slowly lowering to her knees while she tried to take in air. As soon as she was sprawled on the chair clutching her stomach, Wilson took her moment to flee.

To his great surprise, the tuey rolled over to him and settled beside him on the couch. Her wide, glowing eyes flashed toward him and then back to the two females now gripping each other’s hands as they laughed.

“Oh no, I’m gonna pee,” Meg wheezed, clumsily rising to her feet. She dashed to the lift, bouncing from side to side as it rose to the upper floor.

Still on the ground, Alex breathed out a sigh and propped her elbow onto the chair behind her. “Are you having fun? No. You’re bored. You don’t have to hang out with us if you don’t want to.”

“I’m enjoying myself,” he said a bit too quickly, earning him another slow grin. She crawled over to him with that smirk still curling her lips. When she reached him, she slid up the couch, sat next to him, and swung one of her legs over his left thigh. With a small yawn, she lifted his arm and draped it over her shoulder, then leaned against his body.

Auzed sat frozen. He didn’t know why, but when he spoke, he kept his voice quiet. Something about the moment felt precious and worthy of whispered conversation. “Did you enjoy the game?” He already knew the answer but asked anyway, wanting to hear her voice.

“Yeah. I’m glad Gosten made it through.” His lips quirked when she responded in a whisper.

This felt good. Too good. It wasn’t sexual or friendly. It was intimate in a way that made his stomach hollow. Something built in his chest. He glanced to the ceiling and saw no sign of lift movement, so he allowed his purr to sound. Alex tipped her face so it was pressed against his chest and smiled. From his other side, Wilson nudged his right leg and rested her head on his thigh. They sat in silence, and after a while, Alex’s body melted against him.

“I should go see what happened to Meg,” she murmured in a voice already half asleep.

He grunted in response. Not wanting to admit just how unhappy he was with the idea of her leaving this exact spot.

She let out a long, unnecessary groan, then finally rose. Auzed went with her, scooping a sleeping Wilson into his elbow as he did.

When they reached her room, Alex swung the door open and chuckled to see a snoring Meg sprawled on her bed. She turned to him and gave him an unreadable look. “I should probably sleep in here with her, but I could come tuck you in?” She gave him a flirtatious grin and ran her finger down his chest. The scent of her arousal lifted to his nose.

Zed had to ensure he didn’t crush Wilson now sleeping in the crook of his elbow. Spotting the issue, Alex carefully lifted the tuey and rushed into her room to set her down. Heat raced through his veins, filling every vessel with need, but now was not the time. Before she could return, Auzed had grunted good night and sped down the hall to his room.

“Hey,” she whispered, catching him before he could disappear behind his door. “Wait for me.”

He froze in his doorway, back to her, and reeled in all the instincts and emotions telling him a hundred different things to do in that moment. He wanted her. Badly. But the depth of emotion he felt at that moment scared him. If he buried himself in her supple body now, when a torrent of warmth already lingered in his chest…he’d never be able to leave her and return to his job.

He’d decided after speaking with Daunet that he’d enjoy his time with Alex while they remained in Sauven. But he’d also promised himself he’d only allow that enjoyment if he ensured his heart remained caged.

Emotion was kept out of Clecanian relationships for a reason. But it wasn’t kept out of Traxian ones, and right now it was taking all of his control to keep the fiery urge to pull her into his room at bay.


Alex couldn’t understand Auzed’s sudden mood shift. The rigid lines of his body were practically radiating with something. Not anger or lust. It was more like he was trying to gain control.

They only had three days before they left for Tremanta and whatever was between them became infinitely more complicated. She wanted to stay in this bubble just a little while longer and take advantage of every second she could. She placed a palm on his bicep to turn him, but he surprised her by rounding on her so fast she took a step back.

“Not tonight,” he all but growled.

Tonight was the perfect night! She’d had an amazing day and an even better evening. Hanging out with her new human friend and Auzed. It’d felt easy and right and so, so fun. Now he wanted to ruin it by being upset with her for some unknown reason when she was offering to fool around with him?

Well, fuck that. Fine. If he wanted to be mad, that was his problem. She wouldn’t let it mess with her mood. With a bit less grace than she’d hoped, she turned on her heel and started down the hall, intending to leave him alone until he fixed his mood.

Like lightning, his hand shot out, and he wrenched her back to him. Not hard enough to hurt but hard enough to make her breath catch and her sex tighten. Pulling her into his room, he backed her against the door. “Not with her in the nest,” he rumbled, green eyes staring down at her with an intensity that made her insides heat. Was that why he’d said not tonight? Embarrassed at someone hearing them? Maybe, but the uncertain glint in his eyes made her think it was more than that.

She grinned. “It’s okay. I can be quiet.”

The slow, wicked grin that curled his gorgeous mouth had her own smile disappearing in an instant. His deep voice skated over every nerve, sparking them alive. “Not when I’m through with you.”

She shivered involuntarily and made a choked sound.

When his nostrils flared and his gaze darkened, she knew he’d smelled how his words affected her. With a low groan, he dipped his head and moved his lips against hers, coaxing them apart. His delicious tongue swept over hers in movements that were gentle yet commanding. In the part of her mind still functioning, she realized he was doing it on purpose. Kissing her like this to make her melt while not losing himself completely.

The control and the utterly dominant way in which he worked his tongue…this was the kind of man who made sure his woman was all but panting for him before taking his own pleasure, and she couldn’t get enough. On a whimper, she moved to lace her hands behind his neck, but he gripped her wrists before she could.

Lowering them back to her sides, he dipped his mouth to her ear. “I’ll take care of you tonight.” He nipped her lobe, sending an electric pulse straight to her nipples. “But we’ll do no more.”

Alex balled her hands and tried to control her erratic breaths as his hand fisted the material of her loose shirt around her midriff.

He slipped his fingers below her pants and cupped her sex hard, putting just the right amount of rough pressure on her clit. “When I get you alone, I won’t worry about company.” Sliding one finger inside her core, he kept his mouth pressed to her ear, his hot cheek firm against the side of her face, forcing her to hear every word he said. “I won’t worry about your cries or how far up into the house we get before I bury my head between these gorgeous thighs.”

She let out a moan as he began to rock his hand in the way she liked, slipping another digit into her heat. An unexpected cry burst from her lips when he curled his fingers in time with the motion of his palm.

With a snarl, he roughly covered her mouth with his other hand, smothering her moans as the pressure built and coiled in her core. He kept whispering dirty things to her, but she couldn’t concentrate. He hadn’t fondled her breasts or ran his hands along the curves of her body. He hadn’t even kissed her for very long. This was controlled and raw and oh so efficient, just like Auzed. He’d begun breathing deep, hot breaths onto her ear between his rumbled words, his chest rising and falling quickly, and his hand over her mouth tight and unmovable. Her eyes rolled back when he pressed firm open-mouthed kisses to her throat.

The pressure in her sex built and built until she was crying into his palm on every exhale. Needing something anything to grab, she gripped his forearm. Muscles tightening and knees trembling, she struggled to hold herself upright. Her eyes flashed wide as her orgasm hit. Wave after wave of molten pleasure crashing over her.

He stilled his hand as she came and pressed his body close, inhaling deeply against her neck. A soft, buzzing tingle traveled over her scalp. Her cries turned to soft whimpers against his palm, still firmly wrapped around her jaw, but he didn’t release her.

His rigid body was strung tight, and his fingers remained inside her now-slick sex. His hold on her tightened even more. She shuddered with oversensitive pleasure as he roughly pumped his fingers inside her twice, making a clipped growl against her neck each time he did. His whole body moved in time with his hand. The action was so intense and precise. She couldn’t help but think he was imagining coming inside her, his cock in place of his fingers.

At length, he slid his hand out from between them and lifted his head. White-hot lust raged in the depths of his cool green eyes, but his jaw was set, his expression determined. He pressed his lips to the back of the hand covering her mouth as though not trusting himself to actually kiss her. Then rumbled, “Go to sleep now, Alejandra.”

She wanted to argue, to stay and make him feel as good as he had her, but she also felt compelled to do as he said. He’d just made her see stars with nothing but his fingers and a sizzling tongue. He deserved a little compliance for once.

So, against his palm, she nodded. He let out a low hum of approval before stepping away. Not waiting for her to leave, he stalked to his bathroom.

She paused a moment to let the shaking in her legs subside. Once outside his room, she paused again and actually fanned herself. She scanned the hallway, not sure what the hell to do now. How could she just go lie down and fall asleep after that? Dragging her feet, she shuffled through her room and into her bathroom, where she used the foam shower.

She then stared out the window into the dark city of Sauven for a few minutes, mind still clouded with thoughts of her fake fiancé. Would he even want to hang out with her once they got to Tremanta?

Silently, she slipped into bed beside Meg and stared at the ceiling. An ache built in her chest the more she thought about not seeing him every day. What if… No. She couldn’t think about what-ifs. The thing he treasured above everything else, what he’d worked his whole life to get, was his career. She wouldn’t do anything to threaten that.

“Hey,” Meg murmured groggily. “I fell asleep.”

Alex chuckled and turned onto her side to face the woman. “Yeah, I noticed.”

Eyes still closed, Meg waggled her eyebrows. “Did you and Auzed hang out after I left?”

“Hell yeah.” She couldn’t keep the goofy grin from her face.

“That’s nice.” Meg chuckled weakly. “It’s so weird, ’cause at the Temple he was always so…professional. Always bossing everyone around and being all emotionless. Like a robot. I’ve never seen him smile like that before.”

A lump formed in Alex’s throat, but she swallowed it. It only now occurred to her how long Meg had known Auzed. She’d been living at the Pearl Temple in Tremanta for months, after all.

Emotionless. Was that how he’d treat her once they got to Tremanta? She supposed it made sense if his job required him to protect and look after everyone. He’d have to detach himself a bit to do that properly. How sad. Though still rare, Alex got a thrill every time he so much as quirked his lips at her.

“Tell me what it’s like there,” Alex said, shifting the topic away from Auzed. “How are the women getting along? Have they all accepted it?”

Meg creaked her lids open and shifted onto her back. “Mostly. There are a few women who are pits of despair. Naomi for one. She is just so angry all the time. Hannah did nothing but cry for, like, three months, but she finally got over that stage. Now she’s in the fighting stage. She and a group of other humans have formed a type of human-rights thing. They’re working with the Queen to get laws changed and stuff so they can go back home.”

“What?” Alex said, shooting up into a sitting position. The rush of her blood pounded in her ears. Home? They’re trying to go back home?

“Whoa,” Meg breathed, gripping her head. “No fast movements, alright?”

“Do you think they can do it?”

“Eh.” She shrugged. “Maybe eventually. From what I’ve heard, laws take ages to change, especially when it comes to something like this. All the planets within The Intergalactic Alliance would have to convene and agree that they should reveal the larger universe to the humans. Then they’d have to agree on how to do it. Yada yada. It sounded like it could happen, but I didn’t pay a ton of attention. I don’t want to leave.”

There was something in Meg’s voice at the end. It wasn’t happiness. More like fear. Meg had told her her life on Earth hadn’t been the greatest. She now wondered what exactly had happened. “You don’t have any family you’d want to see again?”

Her full lips thinned, and her lids slid closed. “I guess that’s an upside of being an antisocial orphan. No one to miss.” She groaned and raised a hand to her forehead. “The room is spinning.”

Alex winced. Poor girl was gonna be in pain tomorrow. “Need a bucket?” She chuckled.

“Do—” Meg shot to her feet and sped to the bathroom before she could finish her sentence.

Alex stared in front of her, unseeing. There were women and a freaking Queen fighting for the right to go back to Earth. Hope that she hadn’t allowed herself to feel roared to life in her chest. What if someday, eventually she could go home?


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