Love Across the Universe
Twelve Stories of Science Fiction Romance
Set on Intergalactic Shores
From Stars and Stone Books
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Summer love is summer love, no matter the planet. Climb aboard your spacecraft and travel across the universe with these twelve tales of love on beaches in the future and among the stars.
Breathless: by L.J. Longo
A soldier and a café manager find themselves trapped beneath the surface of a resort by the deadly beasts native to the planet. As they fight to survive, they discover danger is a potent aphrodisiac.
As part of a hidden military outfit protecting rich civilians as they vacation on the resort planet Pangaea, Nathan Oyola planned to keep secrets, fight aliens, and maybe tan under the rays of an artificial sun. What he did not expect was to fall for his so-called boss, the manager of the café located directly above the aliens’ nest. When the native wildlife starts behaving more aggressive and strange than usual, how will Nathan keep them secret and keep his new-found love safe.
“Mott. Your little girlfriend is early again. Tell him to f— off.”
Sarge marches at the front of the company, but her voice carries over the bloated carcasses of tonight’s kills—about twenty ten-footers. My platoon guards the rear in case their stench attracts more roaches looking for an easy meal.
When I look past the pile of tentacles and blood to the omni-pit’s mouth, the concrete is bleach white. Overhead UVs are on. Tianjin Ki is in the warehouse above.
The company chuckles as I jog by. Even the grunts know I’ve got a thing for our boss, but the idea of Old Iron-Jaw dating the planet resource manager makes them laugh.
And it should. It’s fucking ridiculous. Tianjin Ki can do better than a lead-head.
I hand my ruck to Sarge as she asks, “You got a clean apron?”
“Nope. But I got a dirty one.” I hand her my helmet and head to H.Q.
“Mott!” Sarge barks.
I turn, my Shock-87 raised, radiating heat in my metal hand, ready to roast.
Not exactly civilian attire.
“Oh.” I kill the charge and hand Sarge my gun and my clips. She smiles, wrinkling the scarred skin around her unblinking electric eyes. “Wash-up good, lover-boy. Gotta look cuddly for Mr. Ki.”
There’s nothing cuddly about my face. I see it when I change my BDU for my civvies and Moon Kaa apron in H.Q. Or more accurately, I see the cybernetic gleam of my jaw and right forearm because the shadows have swallowed my dark skin. What’s left of my reflection is a half-metal ox squeezed into a too-tight uniform shirt. Just some asshole cyborg impersonating a civilian. Badly.
My platoon strips the shells and hacks through thoraxes. Ro-Jo, my second-in-command, finds time to tease. “Take one for the team, Iron-Jaw.”
I wave her off and ignore the platoon’s chuckles, until How-Town pipes in. “Yeah, maybe if you treat Ki real nice, we’ll get a raise.”
I scowl at him from the stair and the laughter silences. How-Town, only six months on the roach path, holds a machete like it’s a teddy bear and quivers under my glare.
“Sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to speak out of turn.”
“You better be sorry,” I answer somberly. “I always treat my bitches nice.”
The platoon laughs and returns to liquefying the dead roaches.
There’s a galaxy of tubes and conveyor belts overhead that connect the port to fifty feet of stock shelves. Moon-Kaa Cafe is the largest restaurant on the planet, which isn’t as impressive as it sounds since BABs has only been inhabited for fifteen years. Still, the fresh water ocean, the miles of green beach, the dozens of luxury resorts bring vacationers from all over the galaxy. The visitors outnumber the permanent population by six to one. And nearly all of them will eat at least once at Moon-Kaa Cafe.
Tianjin Ki’s office stands next to the shelves with windows to the warehouse and the backroom. The door’s propped open. Too early for him to do paperwork. He’s in the backroom—I glimpse his milky skin, his red tie through the shelves. Doing our job.
Tianjin can do every job at every resort on this fucking planet with about ten minutes notice. Not only does he open the cafe three or four days a week, I’ve seen him pull shifts at the deli when Graham had the flu and at Quassar’s grill to give Ms. Jessica time off to plan her daughter’s wedding. Once I spotted him at The Boiler Room behind the bar, which still makes my heart flip a little. I don’t think he saw me, though I’d never managed the courage to visit the men’s only club afterward. If he saw me, he recognized me. The crowd was entirely vacationers. Besides, there are precious few cyborgs on BABs. They all work nights at Moon-Kaa Cafe.
Tianjin steps into my full view, pausing before the sliding doors between the kitchen and the shelves. He smiles for himself. That’s the kind of person he is. Sweet, cheerful. Even with all his power, Tianjin says ‘thank you’ to the lead-head who takes out the trash.
Even across the warehouse, I can appreciate the crispness of his white shirt on his slender shoulders, the neatness of his sleek black ponytail, the way his trousers accentuate the curve of his ass.
I’d like to mess up every part of his calm.
About the Author:
L.J. Longo is a queer author, a geek, a feminist, sometime pirate, and is an ARe best-selling author of Erotic Romance. An Evernight author, L.J.’s work appears in The Dishonest Lover, Dark Captive: Manlove Edition, and Evasive Love. L.J.’s story “The Scarf” appears in Owned by the Alpha: Manlove Edition and the first book of L.J.’s first series, Hiring the Tiger: Heart of the Mountain is now available.
Find more thoughtful, hot erotica at Graceful Indecency where L.J. offers free erotica and contests to win romance e-books. L.J. also sometimes takes a break from writing and messes around on Twitter and Facebook.
Amazon: L.J. Longo