His hard thigh nudged her legs open...
"Why?" Venturo's thoughts rol ed through her mind.
"I'm only showing you what I found in your head."
"You were never meant to see it."
"Why not? I'm the object of your fantasies. I should be able to see them."
In her mind Venturo nuzzled her neck, stroking her br**sts. The air turned too hot. Every nerve inside her hummed with pleasure. She felt the heat drain down, focusing between her legs, building into a thril ing ache. His right hand grasped her hip, his fingers hot on her skin. He pul ed her closer and she felt him between her legs, stopping just short of thrusting into her.
"You don't tell me you are a psycher. You meet me on the bionet and then you let me look for you for days like a complete idiot. You fantasize about me, but you don't let me know. You're terrible at sharing."
She had survived over eight hundred combat missions, yet she was terrified to open that door.
"Did you touch yourself while you thought of me, Claire?"
In her mind his hand slipped down, over her hip, tracing the sensitive curve of her stomach, down, lower, slipping between her lips. His fingers dipped into her, into the center of the ache, and came away slick with moisture.
He flicked his fingertips against the sensitive bud of her clitoris.
Pleasure shot through her. She cried out.
"What's the matter? Am I not doing it right? Open the door and show me."
In her mind, the phantom Venturo leaned to her ear and said a single word. "Coward."
If she didn't let him in, she would regret it for the rest of her life. "Open," she said.
The door slid aside, and he came through, pul ing off his shirt as he walked, revealing the bronze skin of his muscled chest. He kicked off his shoes. His pants fol owed.
She just watched, unable to move.
He stepped toward her. His arms caught her, pul ing her to him. She saw his green eyes, dark with need, and he kissed her. She tasted him - the slight saltiness and spice - and smel ed the exhilarating scent of his sweat mixing with a hint of his cologne.
His tongue slid into her mouth and found hers. Desire swept through her, melting the last remnants of inhibitions.
His tongue licked hers, and in her mind, she was picturing him thrusting inside her. Their thoughts tangled in a glowing whirlpool and she saw herself in hismind, golden and beautiful, moaning in pleasure.
"I want you," he said, his voice ragged. "Do you want me?"
"Yes," she whispered. " Yes," her mind sang, " Yes, yes, yes..."
He unzipped her dress, slipped it off her shoulders, and it fell down. His hands eased her out of her bra. Her panties fol owed. She wound her arms around him. Her fingers touched the hard muscle of his back. She had wanted this for so long. She caressed him, no longer caring about being ashamed. She slipped her hand lower, stroking the smooth skin of his shaft, squeezing, sliding, wanting.
He made a deep male noise and kissed her neck, turning her around. She put her hands against the wal .
He thrust into her, straight into the center of the aching pressure. She gasped, and he kept thrusting, each stroke sending quakes of pleasure through their bodies and their minds. He kept pumping, moving in a steady powerful rhythm. The happy quakes col ided inside her, building stronger and stronger, until her muscles contracted and the ache inside her broke into intense shudders of pure bliss.
She cried out and sagged against him, supported by his arm around her waist.
"Did you like that?" He grinned, masculine and possessive, and very happy with himself.
"Yes," she told him.
"Good. Now we reenact mine." He picked her up and carried her to the bed.
*** *** ***
"That was a very elaborate dream you had," Claire murmured. She lay with her head on Ven's biceps, exhausted, spent, and euphoric.
"I have a creative subconscious."
"What was the deal with visit to the Carvannas?"
"Out with it," he said.
"Ven, you took me to the this garden paradise, which I could never have, and introduced me to a woman who was more than me in every way. She is beautiful, warm, she can cook like a chef, and then the lot of you sat around and discussed people you've known since childhood."
"I wanted you to like each other," he said.
"I like them. It just... I can't even cook. I mean, I try, but it tastes odd."
He laughed at her.
"I will never be Imelda Carvanna," she said.
"If I wanted someone like Meli, I would have married a long time ago. I want you. My beautiful, lethal, precise ice dragon. One of a kind."
"That's a terrible pet name," she said. "Ice dragon?"
"Silver Shark? Captain Lethal? Slaughter Maiden?"
"Seriously, how many hours have you logged in?"
She shrugged. "Eight hundred and forty two combat missions; with training, a little over forty thousand hours."
"I have fifty thousand hours and I've been logging in since I was six. This is kind of embarrassing."
"You logged in because it was fun and you loved it. I logged in because it was my duty to contribute to the war effort. Eight hours, almost every day. There were times when we'd get stuck, and I'd be in for forty hours at a time.
I'd wake up with an IV in my arm and have to relearn how to walk." She shivered.
"But do you like it? The bionet?"
She nodded. "It's what I do. It's what I am."
"I'm glad," he said. "I like it too."
"I had a squad working with me. Grade B and C psychers. That's where the precision comes from - I had to protect them and I couldn't shield all of them at once, so my only choice was to attack and kil with one or two blows before they attacked my guys."
"You didn't hit anything vital on the bridge," he told her quietly.
She sat up and faced him. "I knew in the sheer power contest you would crush me. You are strong, Ven, stronger than me. Less precise, but stronger. I didn't want to hurt you and I didn't want to die. I had only one chance - to run."
She told him about the school and the dagger and the five repair techs.
"And the kid I sprung free today was helping, I'm guessing?" he said.
"Yes. We did the basic DAD - draw away and distract - on the AI protocol. You should've seen him. He was bouncing about sniffing flowers. His eyes were this big."
She opened her hands wide and held them by her eyes. "It was all , 'Kosta! Don't touch that, it will eat you. No, don't touch that either. Don't pet that giant monster... Like trying to walk a kitten on a leash."