No Holes Barred: Forbidden Desire
Xander is in dire straits. He’s in love with his King’s wife. But the woman who stepped through the gateway in his chamber at the No Holes Barred nightclub claims to be someone else altogether. Does he believe her? If it wasn't for that maddening fragrance she wore that kept him in a constant state of lust, Xander might have been able to turn away.
Word Count: 29,976
Genre: Sci-Fi/Futuristic Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
Cover art by Dan Skinner & Kat Richards, © copyright May 2006
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Dedicated to Tracie M., my sister of the wolf.
Xander Alik sat alone at the table in the farthest corner of the club’s main level. He watched the many guests taking pleasure in the amenities that the No Holes Barred Nightclub and Spa had to offer. Some were content to engage in the company of the patrons on the first floor. Others wandered up one of the two wrought-iron, spiral staircases seeking more adventurous activities promised at the top.
His gazed lifted upward, sweeping across the faces that peered down from the second floor mezzanine, and then turned his attention to the patrons on the lower level once more. For the most part, all seemed to be enjoying themselves.
He was not.
Restlessness seemed to be the most appropriate word he could think of, though Xander had no clue as to why he felt this way. He had plenty of wealth, plenty of opportunities to travel the galaxies abroad, plenty of women willing to satisfy his carnal needs.
Not that Xander was soft. There were many times his services were required in battle, when the security of his planet, Handris, was threatened by forces seeking to conquer it. He’d even engaged in a few ground combats while aiding other planets in need, witnessing the foul consequences of war.
But always he had the comforts of his home to return to--a home filled with conveniences that many commoners of his planet could only dream of.
He was a royal after all, born with title. That alone afforded him luxuries that were beyond the reach of most of his people, though he suspected that despite their lack of privileges they were still content with their lives.
Xander should be content, grateful, appreciative of his status.
Yet, of late he was feeling unfulfilled. Something was missing in his life, something much, much more than his bestowed, material comforts could offer.
Focusing on a couple who seemed deeply engaged in conversation, Xander studied the way that they stared at each other, touched affectionately, the seductive body language and smiles that passed between them. His attention shifted to the male and Xander noted that the attention he showered on the woman truly appeared genuine. It had Xander wondering if he himself would ever be so taken with a woman that nothing could distract him from her.
"Hey there, gorgeous," a voice interrupted his thoughts, and Xander looked up.
Shial Lenn stood at his table, smiling, apparently waiting for an invitation to sit down.
Xander motioned to the seat on his right, though he was less than enthusiastic about her presence. "How have you been, Shial?"
"Bored," she answered with a sigh as she fidgeted with the crystal teardrop pendant that rested on her chest. "I haven’t found much satisfaction since … since...."
"I don’t wish to discuss it," Xander warned.
Xander knew what she alluded to. He and Shial had shared two eves of sex on the second floor, and ever since then she’d been prying into his personal affairs, pushing Xander to tell her if he’d bedded another since they’d been together. He suspected she wanted more, but they both knew the club’s rules--twice a date, thrice a mate.
It was for that reason Xander refused to offer her another eve of sexual indulgence. The men of Handris scented their mates and Shial was not his mate. Xander was grateful for that because the woman was a bit too brassy and meddlesome for his taste.
"Tell me, have you found pleasure with another since our last date?"
Xander shook his head. He couldn’t believe she was prying again after he told her to stop doing it. He looked at her necklace, which now glowed blue. She seemed to always be fingering the thing--an unconscious habit, he presumed. "My personal affairs are none of your concern."
Shial’s mouth turned downward into a disgruntled frown.
But she was the last person Xander would extend private information to. He was quite sure he couldn’t trust her. Especially since the incident that occurred during their second date. Xander had fallen deeply asleep. When he finally awoke, it felt as though he was emerging from a drugged stupor. And there was another woman in the room--a woman with berry pink hair.
At first his thoughts turned kinky, but when Shial made a point of telling him the woman was a chamber maid, he became wary. Being a regular at the club, Xander knew most of the employees, and surely he would remember a staff member with such distinct hair. He’d never seen this woman before.
Aside from that, the woman left without tidying a thing, augmenting Xander’s suspicion. He couldn’t help but feel Shial and the woman were up to something.
Stealing from him perhaps?
But he had no proof and nothing in the chamber appeared disturbed or missing. And of course he never saw the so-called chambermaid again.
Xander let the incident drop.
"Ah, there you are." Trina Wensling, the club’s manager appeared.
She took a seat in the empty chair on Xander’s left, and without warning, she lifted her hand, curling her fingers around the back of Xander’s head. Jerking his face toward her, Trina planted a lip to lip kiss on Xander, lingering longer than what could be considered a platonic greeting.
It took Xander by surprise and his eyes widened. He could nearly feel the heat of Shial’s irritation radiating directly at him.
Pulling back, Trina smiled slowly, her eyes twinkling with mischief.
"My handsome scoundrel," she said, dragging a finger lightly down the line of Xander’s cheek and across his jaw.
Xander tamped down a snort. He’d never bedded Trina, but knew her well as a friend. She was rescuing him--that was suddenly obvious--from Shial’s persistent pursuit of him.
"You’re such a naughty girl," Xander responded, playing her game. "You never fail to amuse me, mistress."
"You look bored, Xander." Trina peered around him, looking at Shial. "He looks bored, doesn’t he?"
"Xander and I were having a private conversation," Shial answered, making no attempt to hide her annoyance at Trina’s intrusion.
"Oh." Trina pressed her palm to her chest in an innocent gesture. "I’m so sorry."
She moved to stand, but Xander grabbed her wrist. "Our private conversation is over. Please stay."
Xander turned his head toward Shial. "You don’t mind, do you?"