Rae was exhausted by the time she got home from work. Basil had a way of wearing her down. She pulled into the driveway and wondered if Kat had gone shopping with the guys. She couldn’t help smiling when the thought of shopping with three hunky aliens popped into her head. Rae slid out of her car and made her way toward the house. She opened the door and dropped her purse on the entryway table.
Kat appeared in the kitchen doorway down the hall. “Hey, how was work?”
Her sigh was a mixture of relief and frustration. “Basil was on such a tear today, and he wanted me to meet him for dinner at a client’s restaurant.”
“Yeah, I’m sure he did,” Kat said while rolling her eyes.
Rae peered at her. “You look...happy.”
She grinned. “I had a perfect time today. I’m glad you’re home so we can go out.”
Kat was happy, and apparently, happiness took the form of three strong alien men and the unexpected.
Rae raised an eyebrow. “Okay. Did you go shopping?”
“Yep. I got you a new outfit.”
“Right. I’ll have to shower and change before we go out.”
God, aliens, had come to earth to find mates they could pair bond with, and they were going to dinner with them. Rae still couldn’t believe everything that had happened.
“I have the perfect thing for you to wear,” Kat said, grinning. “Hold on just a second.”
Rae grew impatient to see what Kat wanted her to wear, but she was too tired to argue.
“Try this on,” Kat said when she finally returned with a dress slung over her arm.
Rae took the red dress from her. The dress was a little small and even shorter than most dresses in her closet. She frowned at Kat. “What makes you think I’ll be able to wear this?”
Kat laughed. “Just try it on.”
Her knees buckled at the sight of the dress. The fabric was a deep red and only had a few extra places to cover her skin. The fit would be tight, and there was no way she would be able to wear underwear without showing lines. It was low cut enough to reveal the tops of her breasts and short enough to show a good part of her thighs. “Where did you find a dress like this?”
Kat’s eyes twinkled. “When I went shopping today and figured it would look great on you.”
Rae remembered their college days; Kat had always been more outgoing and could pull stuff off like this outfit.
“The fabric stretches more than you think,” Kat said.
Rae eyed the dress dubiously. “Sure, whatever you say. I’m going to take a shower.”
She could hear the aliens watching a movie in the den on her way up the stairs, an action flick by the sounds of the explosions and cursing. She threw the dress on her bed. Her cell phone buzzed with a text message from her little sister, Caprice.
Caprice: Hey, can I come by later?
Rae: Do you want to meet us for dinner instead?
Caprice: Yeah. Where are you guys going for dinner?
Rae: We’re going to La Catrina on State Street. Meet us at 7 pm?
Caprice: Sure. I’ll see you then.
Then Rae walked into the bathroom and turned on the faucet as hot as she could get the temperature. Rae slipped out of her clothes, letting them pile onto the bathroom floor, and stepped into the steamy shower. She let the water heat her back. After soaping up and shampooing her hair, Rae rinsed the suds from her body. She grabbed a towel from the linen closet in the bathroom, toweling off before heading to her bedroom to get ready.
Rae tried on the dress and looked at herself in the mirror. The dress clung to her breasts and hips like a glove, snug but not too bad. She never wore anything like this, but Kat’s makeover made her feel good. Kat knocked on her bedroom door.
“Come in,” Rae said.
“What?” Rae looked at herself in the mirror again. “What’s wrong?”
Kat laughed. “Absolutely nothing. This dress is gorgeous on you, and you look sexy.”
Rae blushed. “You think so?”
She smiled. “Yes, you look amazing!”
Rae smiled back in surprise. Rae stayed on the sidelines watching Kat do all the things she couldn’t. She looked at herself in the mirror again. “You think so?”
Kat smiled. “You’re going to pull it off perfectly.”
There was a change in her body, an air of confidence and self-assurance. Rae wondered what Nin would think of the dress, and she suddenly wanted to impress the alien. Rae pulled out of her trance when Kat handed her a red, heart-shaped stone on a silver chain.
Rae ran her fingers over the stone. “What is this?”
Kat grinned. “This belonged to my grandmother, but you can borrow it, and she told me that would bring good fortune.”
Rae clasped the necklace around her neck. “This is so beautiful, Kat.”
She grinned. “Yeah. She also said that it would make you irresistible to men. I’m going to shower, and then we can go.”
Rae stepped into her closet and pulled out a pair of silver strappy sandals to accompany her dress. She slipped them on and stood in front of her mirror, turning around to check them out. Rae nodded approvingly to herself and made her way downstairs to meet the guys in the den.
Even if it seemed cliche, her heart practically skipped a beat when Nin stood to greet her. Nin stood tall, and his eyes glowed with a blue light. Rae imagined his power as a raging inferno, its flames licking at her body.
“Wow. You look stunning.” Nin’s voice was deep, smooth, and rich. It seemed to have a hypnotic effect on Rae, lulling her into a state of relaxation.
“You like?” Her fingers ran over the smooth fabric, gliding down the silky dress. Even with the dress clinging to her curves, she felt powerful and sexy.
Nin nodded. He was wearing a blue button-down shirt with slacks, and he looked every bit the handsome alien. “I like the dress a lot.”
A rush of heat washed over her, tingling her chest and coloring her cheeks. “Thank you. You don’t look half bad yourself. Where’s Ferrix and Xavi?”
“They’re getting dressed. The jeans we wore earlier did not meet Kat’s approval.”
Rae laughed. “Why am I not surprised?”
“I love how you get these crinkles when you smile,” Nin said as he brushed his thumb over a dimple and then her cheek.
Nin leaned forward, and she was leaning towards him too. The universe vanished when he kissed her. Every nerve in her body came alive. Her heart beat loud in her ears. Rae couldn’t believe the conflicting feelings inside of her. It seemed ridiculous after one kiss, but it was powerful. She could almost sense his emotions and thoughts as if she understood him deeper. What would it be like to pair bond with him?
Nin broke the kiss at the sound of Ferrix and Xavi’s voice. Ferrix and Xavi came downstairs arguing with one another. “We both have the same shirt on!” Ferrix yelled.
Nin laughed so hard he had to hold his stomach. Both aliens wore a pair of pressed khaki-colored pants and a green button-down shirt. However, Xavi wore a chocolate-colored sports coat while the one Ferrix wore was grey.
Rae grinned along with him. “You both look great.”
Kat locked eyes with Ferrix as she descended the stairs. The mutual attraction shimmered in their eyes, the heat of their desire palpable. “You clean up nicely.”
Ferrix bowed slightly. He looked like an imp that had caused Kat no end of annoyance from the expression on her friend’s face. He took Kat’s hand and bent down, kissing the back of her hand, but the charm of his mischievous smirk was undeniable. She rolled her tongue over her lips, her eyes locked onto his when he straightened. “You look radiant.”
These aliens and their mannerisms were sexy as hell.
“Since it’s such a nice night, we should walk. The restaurant is only a couple of blocks,” Kat said.
Ferrix offered her his arm. “Shall we?”
Kat laced her arm through his, and her lips curved upward in a smile. “A man who’s a gentleman. I’ll have to keep you around.”
Ferrix smiled. “I’d like that.”
Butterflies fluttered in Rae’s stomach. Nin retrieved her coat from the hall closet. She slipped it on, and he gently helped her with it. Ferrix, Xavi, and Kat were halfway up the pavement in front of the house. Rae and Nin walked out the door and followed them down the street to La Catrina.
Rae looked up at the sky, surprised by the view. The stars were bright and alive, twinkling in the velvet sky. The moon shone down, reflecting off surfaces on the street and in the yards.
Nin gazed up at the sky too. “What do you think of the stars?”
“I don’t think I’ve seen them like this before.”
“They’re beautiful, aren’t they?” Nin said.
She smiled. “Yes, they are. My stars are dancing.”
Nin’s face registered confusion. “Your stars are dancing?”
Rae nodded. “Yes. Look up.”
Nin stared up at the sky. “I don’t see any stars dancing. What do they look like?”
“They look like little twinkling lights,” Rae replied.
Nin laughed. Then he reached for her hand, and their fingers intertwined. He held her hand as they made their way toward La Catrina. Nin’s hand was warm and comforting, a solid anchor in the night. It was huge, bigger than hers, and the pads of his fingertips slightly rough. Rae was self-conscious and didn’t know what she wanted after the divorce. There was power in setting boundaries with Basil earlier. The dress Kat gave her made her even more powerful. She was a brand new person, one she hardly recognized. But the idea of being with Nin, falling for him, was still like being inside a fast and invisible ship, racing through space, a ship so powerful and fast the universe threatened to collapse around it.