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Tempting Auzed: Chapter 20

After a meandering ride through Sauven, they reached the edge of the city. A wooden booth placed against a large tree contained an unenthusiastic male youth. His eyes were focused on a live projection of the games they’d just departed. A yellow kinyberry jelly hung halfway out of his mouth. Auzed cleared his throat to get the kid’s attention while Alex glanced around curiously.

He hadn’t told her what he intended to do here yet, and so far, it looked rather mediocre. Just a ramshackle hut at the edge of the city.

The young male glanced up. “Hello. Are you wanting to rent…” His eyes locked onto Alex and then widened in recognition. Immediately straightening and smoothing his hands over his loose, rumpled vest, the male sputtered, “Uh. Do you want a sky lounger?”

Alex’s lips quirked as she noticed the boy’s sudden fascination with her. She gave him a wide, warm smile that made the male blush from the tips of his ears down to his scrawny chest. “I’m not sure. Gotta ask the big guy,” she said, tipping her head toward Auzed.

The male darted his gaze between them and finally wheezed out his question to Auzed.

“Yes. Do you have a menu?” Zed asked, trying to keep the humor out of his voice. The poor lad was already embarrassed enough as it was.

“Oh! Uh…of course.” He fumbled around the small space and handed Zed a small cube that projected a menu screen.

“You’re a human.”

While scrolling through the options, Zed heard the male utter the words under his breath as if he hadn’t meant to say them aloud at all.

“How could you tell?” Alex joked.

He glanced back up after making his selections to find the male had gone as purple as his dark, spiky hair. Zed coughed to hide his chuckle and handed the screen back to the boy.

“I’ll get this ready right away.” He backed up and slipped a little before righting himself and exiting through a hole in the tree.

Alejandra’s real smile was back in place when Zed peered at her, and his heart seemed to skip a beat. “Looks like teens are awkward on every planet.”

“I’d probably have tripped over my own feet if I’d seen you at his age too.”

His compliment was immediately rewarded with a flush stealing over her cheeks. He could feel the purr build in his chest, but he squashed it.

“So, what exactly is a sky lounger?”

Before he could answer, the young male returned, out of breath and sweaty. “It’s coming around now. If you’ll follow me to the lift.” He stepped onto the narrow walkway between them and guided them to the back of the tree, where a rail-enclosed platform waited. “Please use this if you have any problems or need anything else. We’ve got a few males working up top today, but we weren’t expecting any visitors until tonight, with the games and all.” Eyes glued to Alex, he handed Zed a sleek communicator.

She made a show of slipping her arms around Zed’s bicep as they lifted into the air and gave the young male a small wave goodbye. The poor kid looked reasonably shocked, his yellow eyes becoming as wide and round as Wilson’s.

Alex giggled, and when the male was out of sight, she gave Zed a playful grin. Then, for some reason, her gaze became apologetic, and she stepped away from him. “Sorry. I couldn’t help it.”

It took him a moment to understand what she was referring to, then a light clicked on. She must think he still didn’t want her to touch him in public. Though he hadn’t told her about his change of heart outright, nothing could be further from the truth. Based on his adamant urging otherwise only a few days ago, he could see how she might not understand. How was she to know that nowadays he felt cold and on edge every second between the moments they touched?

He recalled how wrong it had felt to move away from her earlier at the game. Was that why she’d been acting so strangely? When the camera had focused on her, he’d put distance between them on instinct. Years of experience told him a female wouldn’t want to be seen engaging in an intimate act like that in public. Especially not while being broadcast to so many. He hadn’t given it a second thought at the time.

Wrapping his arm around her waist, he pulled her close. “You’ve converted me. If I had it my way, you would never stop touching me.”

A grin tugged at her lips, and she gazed up at him with a suspicious raised brow. “Really? But at the game—”

“I thought it would make you uncomfortable.”

She gave a quick snort. Her focus strayed to the treetops they were quickly approaching, and her brows knit. “How high are we going?”


Her gaze bounced between him and the underside of the tree canopy. “You mean we’ll be able to see the sun and the sky? Is there nice weather today? Oh my God, I don’t even care!” She let out a little squeal.

Satisfaction shot through his bones, heating him from the inside out. Never had he gotten such gratification from being the cause of someone’s happiness.

As they neared the highest layer of dense tree canopy, they saw a beam of sunlight shining through a carved-out opening. Too bright to look at, they both had to shield their eyes while they passed through it. The sudden heat and white light all around told him they were now topside. He pressed Alex’s head into his chest, not wanting her to attempt to open her eyes sooner than was necessary.

“Oh no! Did Rew forget to give you glasses?” called a gentle voice from next to them.

Zed listened as someone rustled through a drawer or maybe a bin. Alex bobbed up and down excitedly, and he grinned.

“Here you go.” The male pushed some glasses into Zed’s hands. He slipped his on, then put Alex’s on for her.

When he opened his eyes, he saw a sea of endless treetops in every direction. The tiny white vinasy blossoms that grew on crawling vines blanketed the leaves of the trees. The heat from the fiery-orange afternoon sun baked the flowers and made the air sweet with their warm scent.

A short older male waved at them, drawing Alex’s rapt attention. Her mouth was hanging open in the most adorably satisfying way.

“I have your lounger all ready to go.” He gestured toward a large white floating platform outfitted with huge, cushioned sunbathing areas, a small stocked kitchen, and a perfectly round shallow pool.

Alex spotted the lounger and put a hand to her heart, grinning from ear to ear. “It looks like the front of one of those fancy yachts or something. We get to go hang out on that?”

Anxious to get her alone so they could enjoy their day away from prying eyes, he gently urged her to board the lounger. “Yes, we do. Just you and me.”

He tipped his head to the older Sauven male dressed head to toe in a protective sun suit and took the control the male offered.

“Anywhere particular you’d like to be placed?” the male asked while sneaking glances at Alex, now exploring the cupboards of the lounger.

“Somewhere with a nice view. You choose.”

The male nodded and, after a last lingering look at Alex, retreated into a shaded floating hut.

Alex had decided to wear a soft pink dress today. As she bent to search the various compartments around the lounger, the hem of her skirt lifted, and he couldn’t bring himself to feel bad for ogling her.

Realizing that if he was being graced with this view, others were as well, he activated the upgraded privacy settings. The faint flash of a shimmering bubble all around them was the only indication that their privacy shield was in place. Now he could relax, knowing no one could hear or see them from outside the lounger.

“It’s too bad there isn’t any sunscreen,” she said, digging through a compartment of towels set in the floor.

Zed’s brows drew together. Maybe she didn’t realize he’d activated the shield. “I have our screen up. Do you want me to increase the shade?”

Sitting back on her heels, she cocked her head at him. “We aren’t speaking the same language right now. I’m looking for lotion to rub on my skin so I don’t get a sunburn.”

Zed used the controller to shade one half of the lounger. She gasped and shot her gaze around like a startled bird. “The shield we have around us does what you’re describing. I have it set to fifty percent, which should prevent us from burning while still enjoying the light. I can leave half of the lounger shaded, if you want.”

She jumped up, spread her arms wide, and lifted her face to the warmth of the sun. “No! I can hang out in the sun without worrying about anything? Amazing!”

With an exaggerated sigh, she collapsed onto a plush floor-level cushion as wide as a mattress. A faint breeze ruffled her dress, and her upper thighs came into view.

After a small lurch, the platform began to move, gliding into whichever spot the male had chosen. Alex propped herself up on her elbows and watched as they slowly floated over the treetops.

“Would you like a drink?” He tore his gaze away from the luscious curve of her thigh and opened the stocked refrigeration cabinet.

“Maybe just a juice or water. I drank a lot with Meg yesterday.” She’d laid back down and draped a forearm over her eyes.

He set her water down next to her and retrieved two yubskanis for himself, downing the first in a matter of seconds. Auzed had decided he’d be having many today. He could relax, dammit, and he’d prove it. They had two days left together, and he was determined to try and have a good time. How long would it be before he had an opportunity like this again? A day of sunshine and laughter with a beautiful female who was interested in him? Never, that was when. He would never have another opportunity like this.

Wiping his mouth and allowing his mind to wonder how her delectable cunt would taste mixed with the sweet yubskani, he relaxed onto a cushioned chaise across from her. The view of her basking in the sun, her bronze skin shining in the rich afternoon light, was a vision he’d never forget.

As the first hints of alcohol hit his system and relaxed his muscles, he understood why some people enjoyed doing nothing.

Nothing, if done with the right person, was like a balm for the soul.


Alex had no idea how long they’d been floating before the incredible luxe lounger finally came to a stop, but when she looked up again, the view before her stole her breath. They’d traveled to the edge of the forest, and the shores of a vast turquoise ocean spread out before them. Small neon-green islands dotted the crystalline waters here and there. They seemed close, but it could’ve been an illusion. The sky was an electric blue, so bright it almost hurt to look at.

Replacing the bulky sunglasses she’d been given, Alex flipped to her stomach and rested her chin on her hands, gazing out past the glittering pool inset in the lounger to the ocean beyond. Too bad she hadn’t brought a swimsuit. The sultry air was the perfect temperature for swimming. She lifted the amber-colored bottle Auzzy had placed next to her and blinked. It’d been sitting out with her for a while now but was still cold to the touch. Taking an experimental sip, she found the water inside was somehow icy despite the blazing sun shining down. Now there were magically always–cold water bottles too? Could this sky yacht get any cooler?

Alex grinned ear to ear and stretched like a cat in a beam of afternoon light. Her body felt heated from the inside out the way it did whenever she laid out at the beach. As if she were becoming one with the hot air around her. The sweet smell of the flowers below tickled her nose and reminded her of her favorite body oil back home. Mmm, vanilla sugar.

She glanced over to Auzed and caught him polishing off yet another yubskani. Was he trying to get drunk? Absently, she wondered what he’d be like when intoxicated. Quiet? Angry? Touchy-feely? Alex herself was a happy drunk and would talk the nearest person’s ear off if given the opportunity.

“It’s hot,” he rumbled, standing and curling his fingers under his shirt with clear intent.

Alex took a preparatory breath to no avail. When he slipped off his shirt, revealing the flat planes of his chiseled chest glistening in the bright sunlight, the stifled gasp that rose to her lips clogged in her throat. Before she could recover from the vision of a half-naked demigod strutting before her, he began to undo his pants. Her brain stuttered off.

He turned away from her to take in the view, seemingly oblivious to her interest. Alex bit her lip and watched him slide the loose black pants down his hips, letting them pool by his ankles. The gorgeous and pronounced curve of his lower back led to his perfect muscular ass and then down to thick thighs.

He was hot. Both figuratively and literally. She could see the sheen of sweat running over the hard ridges of his back. Bet if I touched him, he’d be slippery.

Now completely naked, he stretched his bulky arms to the sky, his muscles coiling and bouncing with his movements until she couldn’t take it anymore. If she didn’t stop looking at him, she’d jump him right here in plain view of whoever passed by.

“Aren’t you worried someone will see you?” she called with her head turned away toward the much-less-impressive view of her water bottle. The thudding of her heart picked up speed in time with his approaching vibrating footfalls. Don’t look. Don’t look. Don’t look.

“I activated a privacy shield. No one can see…or hear…in here.”

The way he let his purr linger on the word hear had her sex growing instantly hot. For some reason, though, she was frozen. Glued to the cushion, her heart racing in her chest and her mind swimming. Was it the right time?

She wanted Auzed. Even the recollection of his solid, naked body from a moment ago had her feeling far too empty in too many places. But a spike of fear took her by surprise.

Would sex change things? They were supposed to head to Tremanta the day after tomorrow. Since the beginning, she’d made sure to remind herself their flirtation was temporary. Somewhere along the way, she’d naively convinced herself that if she kept their expiration date in mind, her feelings for him would never blossom past the point of no return. But the way her heart was racing now had her questioning how effective her mindset had been.

“What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get back to Tremanta?” she asked, both hoping and fearing the hint would push him away.

She started as heavy steps traveled past her head, then away from her. When she peeked through her lashes, she found he’d waded into the bright-blue of their pool and was splashing water over his broad, defined shoulders.

Alex bit her lip. God, this was torture. She forced herself to look away. Flipping to her back, she flung off her glasses and shut her eyes against the bright light. There, now I can’t look.

“I’d like to see my siblings. I’ve only been gone for a week, but…”

It feels like a lifetime, Alex finished in her head.

A bubble of resentment that’d been festering left a bitter taste in her mouth. She may never see her sibling again. It wasn’t Auzed’s fault, but envy that he was about to return to his perfect life with his family and his job and all that was safe and familiar to him coursed through her all the same.

“If you could have anything from Earth right now, what would it be?” His question was obviously an attempt to shift to a lighter topic, and she didn’t mind.

The fact that he could sense her unease without her having to say a word wiped her sour thoughts from her mind and made boiled honey drip down her scalp.

“Mmm. A warm tortilla with butter. Best snack in the world. Or hot Cheetos. Or Sour Patch Kids. Or a million other things.” She twirled her mother’s ring around her finger. If she really could have anything from Earth, it would be a photo album, but she wasn’t going to dampen the mood by giving a real answer.

“Chee-toh,” he murmured experimentally from somewhere overhead.

The echo and ping of an empty glass hitting the pool edge hit her ears. Another yubskani down. Without thinking, she tilted her head back and shielded her eyes to look at him upside down. Big mistake. Big. Huge.

Auzed had sprawled himself on a shelf only covered with a few inches of water. He reclined perpendicularly to her on his elbows, the alcohol in his system making his posture lazy and pliant. The turquoise water lapped around the muscles lining his ribcage and highlighted the light, luminous color of his skin and the glittering markings curving and crossing all over his body.

With his head turned to her, he roved his gaze over her upturned face and down the neckline of her dress. Similarly, her attention latched on to the rigid length between his bent tree-trunk-sized legs. She licked her lips, remembering the feel of him in her mouth.

A low rumble from his chest told her he’d noticed, and like a shot, she looked away. He was far too appealing for his own good. A hard, protective Auzed was one thing. The rough-hewn stone he often encased himself in called to her and made her feel safe. But this relaxed, tenderized sun god with his wicked, curving grin and halo of light hair glowing golden in the sunlight was something else.

She imagined this version of Auzed would leisurely bury himself in her core, pumping in and out of her in unhurried strokes until the cloudless sky grew dark and became speckled with unfamiliar stars. Heat bloomed in her sex, making her clench her thighs together.

“Thank you for this,” she said, stretching her arms overhead. Sweat had begun to bead on her forehead, but she knew what would happen if she got into that pool with him. “I didn’t realize how much I missed the sun. I can’t remember the last time I laid out like this.”

It amazed Alex that her voice was as casual as she’d wanted it to be, when the thud of her heart and the pulsing between her legs clamored for focus. Awareness of him blanketed her mind, though she was no longer looking at him. How could a person be so turned on and so rattled at the same time?

The slow swish of water filled her ears, and she squeezed her eyes more tightly shut. The sound of dripping water echoed on the firm, glossy floor as loud as hail to her ears. They both knew where he was headed and what he wanted. Electricity crackled all around, prickling her scalp. She didn’t even attempt to hide the panicked, shaky rise and fall of her chest. She let him see it.

The bright light shining on the other side of her lids vanished, and she knew he was standing over her, blocking out the sun. Small drops of water splattered onto her exposed skin and sizzled off her heated body. All her senses were laser focused on Auzed. Without looking, she knew what he was doing. The shifting air currents between their bodies told her he’d knelt.

The scent of him—crisp from the cool pool water yet retaining that underlying spice that was all Auzed—grew stronger. A drop of water fell onto her neck and trailed along her collarbone; she swallowed thickly. The heat was suddenly oppressive. She couldn’t seem to get enough air in. Was she even breathing?

When scorching lips coated in chilled pool water slanted over hers, she sucked in a ragged breath, filling her aching lungs. He parted his lips and slid his delicious tongue against hers, slow and sweet and deliberate, making her toes curl and a desperate whimper ring in her chest. He swallowed the sound, rasping a low moan of his own and taking her mouth with a greedy hunger.

Without releasing her lips, he shifted above her. A rough knee between her legs wrenched her thighs apart, and he settled himself on top of her. One of his large palms slid up her inner arm still raised above her head, and his thick fingers threaded through hers, stretching them wide.

His body weighed her down, and cool water seeped into her dress between them. Droplets from his hair trailed along her temples and jaw, making her shiver despite the heat radiating from his smooth skin. No longer hindered by rational thought, Alex came alive underneath him. Her legs wrapped around his waist, her dress riding up to her hips. His warm erection pulsed at her entrance still covered by her panties.

 Giving in to this drugged lust may prove stupid in the long run, but she no longer cared. All she could feel was him worshipping her with his lips and his tongue. They were here together now. She was his, and he was hers. And she was greedy. She might not be able to keep him forever, but she could have this perfect day. She’d regret it more if she didn’t give herself to him now than if she’d held back for the sake of her heart. A part of it was already his anyway.


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