Kat was sitting next to the pool. Her feet dangled into the water, and her sundress hiked up around her thighs. She wasn’t ready to go back inside and face Ferrix after embarrassing herself. Ferrix had read her thoughts, which made her angry, but he wasn’t wrong. Kat had come onto him while dating someone else. Granted, she kept her relationship casual with Rick, but Kat dropped her towel wantonly. Why would she do that? A charge of energy had vibrated between them. Kat had seen a shinny silver thread visibly shimmering between them, connecting their bodies. Then Ferrix pushed her off him and said he couldn’t bond with her. The whole thing sounded crazy.
Her phone chimed with a text. A brief message from Rick flashed across her screen: We need to talk. I have something I want to ask you.
She didn’t want to think about him, but a moment later she got another text: I miss you.
She wanted to believe his words and listened for his voice in her head. She didn’t hear him, but an ache spread to every inch of her body. He ghosted her for three weeks, and she didn’t want to chase after a guy who would ghost her.
Deep down, she realized they were probably over but texted him: Okay, let’s talk.
Another text popped up: Can I come over tonight?
Kat hadn’t realized he was back in town. She texted him: I have plans, but you can come over tomorrow afternoon.
Her phone beeped again with another text: Yeah, sure. I’ll see you then.
She shook her head, and her hair fluttered and floated in the air. What an idiot she’d been about him. Kat tried to be understanding about his busy work schedule. She understood better than most people since she ran her own business. Kat made six figures a year selling jewelry on Etsy. She wanted to be more than a blip on the radar of his life, but nothing he could say would change the fact that he ghosted her. She chewed on her lower lip, thinking about his touch. The chemistry between them had been intense from the very beginning. Kat remembered how his fingernails dug into her skin when they fucked for the first time. She remembered him pumping into her, passionate and even a little rough. But he bailed on their plans so many times she practically had whiplash.
Kat puffed out her chest and shoulders. She gazed into the sky as if about to ascend but found a spot in a lounge chair and stretched out, needing to forget Rick. Kat closed her eyes and took in the lounge chair’s plastic, cold texture and the sun’s warmth. Kat wasn’t sure how long she’d been lying there when a shadow blocked the sunlight. Kat was lying on her back, and her head tilted to the side. Her eyes were closed, but she sneaked a peek through her lids. Ferrix stood above her. His eyes crinkled when his lips twitched into a smile. A silver mark was visible on his face, but the scar made his face more appealing rather than detracting from his looks. He sat next to Kat, but the space seemed too small with him there. Her eyes moved to his unshaven face, rough and patchy with stubble.
Kat adjusted the lounger and sat up. Her gaze trailed from his face to his ripped chest. His pecs and biceps were taut and defined, the definition of his muscles evident even under his shirt. When she gazed at Ferrix, she no longer saw sadness in his eyes. His strong jawline was firm with determination.
Ferrix leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. His eyes locked on Kat’s. “I need to talk to you.”
“Okay, but not necessary.” Her throat felt parched and dry like the desert, and her tongue was rough like sandpaper. “So, I thought about this morning. I’m sorry that I came onto you like that.”
He shook his head. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have pushed you away.”
“Ferrix, I’m fine. You don’t owe me any explanations,” Kat said, her voice hollow.
“I didn’t understand your customs and didn’t mean to insult you,” Ferrix said.
She turned away from him and tried to gather her thoughts, but for what seemed like the first time in her life, she couldn’t concentrate because of his effect on her. If he would agree she was totally in the wrong and move on, it’d be a lot easier. Her chest tightened, and all she wanted was to lean forward and kiss him.
“I believe you and I’m sorry for what I did.”
“I wanted to explain why we can’t be together,” Ferrix said, his voice deep and rough.
Kat couldn’t bring herself to meet his eyes. “I understand.”
“I don’t think you do.” He ran a hand through his hair, such an endearing gesture it almost made Kat want to reach out and pull him into her arms. “We don’t mate with women when bonded to another, and that’s how we’re hardwired. It’s not that I don’t want you because I do.”
Her whole body flushed with heat, and not from laying in the sun. Something about the way his voice got deeper when he said that he wanted her.
“So you’re telling me you’re attracted to me?” Kat’s voice raised an octave.
His gaze locked with hers, and he nodded.
“And you want me?” Kat asked.
Ferrix’s voice was deep and rough when he said, “I want you right now,” in a heated whisper, reaching her with a yearning long forgotten.
Kat’s heart raced beneath her ribs, her breasts swelling with arousal. Her body quivered with a desire she had tried to ignore. “Do you want to fuck me?”
“Yes,” he said, his voice a touch of velvet, erotically commanding her obedience.
Kat got turned on but shook her head. A little voice told her she was destined to miss out on her deserved pleasure. She preferred not to acknowledge this voice, although she knew it to be true. “It doesn’t matter. I’m not mate material and can’t give you what you want.”
Ferrix’s expression softened. He reached out and took her hand. “I don’t think you believe that.”
“I do,” Kat said, even though she doubted herself. “I’ve never met the right guy, and I’m not good at relationships.”
Ferrix searched her eyes. There was a sense of time slowing down, and the world melted away, and only they remained. “Perhaps you haven’t found the right guy because he doesn’t exist on your planet.”
“This morning was a fluke, and it won’t happen again.”
“Things happen for a reason,” Ferrix said, squeezing her fingers. “For whatever reason, I was sent here to find a mate. For whatever reason, you’re here.” He leaned in close. He wore a form-fitting black shirt and military-style pants, his physique ripped. “Do you know what I’m thinking about right now?”
Her skin heated under his gaze, and her voice creaked. “No.”
His eyes dominated her vision, smoldering like lava beneath his brows. “I’m thinking about how soft your skin is and how badly I want to taste you.”
Her body betrayed her. She leaned forward and kissed Ferrix but pulled away slightly, afraid he might reject her again. Ferrix pulled her back in and kissed her. Kat melted into his mouth and parted her lips. His tongue swept over hers, and she swirled her tongue around his. He pulled her closer to him, his erection pressing into her thigh. One of his hands drifted down her back, over her bare skin at the top of her sundress, and then over the thin fabric. Kat gasped as heat filled her body and tingled down her spine.
Ferrix ended their kiss and gazed into her eyes. “We have to stop, Kat.”
She wanted more of him, and she wanted to take things further. The thought of stopping didn’t sound right. Kat tried to ignore the feelings coursing through her, but they were unstoppable. “I don’t want to stop.”
He ran his hand through her hair and then down her back. “I’m going to ask you this because you belong to someone else. Are you sure? What about your bond?”
Ferrix was a force of nature. Kat had never met a man who made her want to give herself to him so freely. She would meet with Rick tomorrow and make a clean break.
She exhaled a soft groan. “Come on. I’ll take you shopping. You need to pick up a few things if you’re going to fit in on Earth.”