Infala: The Alien’s Bond
by Tamara Grantham
(Mark of the Infala, #1)
Publication date: October 31st 2023
Genres: Adult, Romance, Science Fiction
As if alien abduction wasn’t bad enough, it seemed Darla’s captors didn’t want her for something as simple as breeding or even experimentation. The Raxxians were nasty pieces of work, and they had other plans in mind. Namely, they wanted to eat her, and not in the fun way. But the universe, it seemed, had other plans.
Spared a gruesome fate when the Raxxian ship crashed on a distant world, Darla found herself suddenly free. Free but on an alien planet with only the company of another former prisoner.
A tall, muscular, impossibly alluring alien.
One who didn’t seem thrilled about taking the little human woman under his protection, at least not at first. Little did either of them know just how hot their time together on this new world would become, and in a way that had nothing to do with the planet’s blazing sun.
Strangely, Darla found herself a bit torn as they trekked out of the village. Sure, Zepharos had a bit of a reputation. Okay, a lot of a reputation, but who didn’t? And who was she to judge without having all of the details firsthand? And it was nice having someone show such interest in her.
Then again, she had also been given that warning from someone who had nothing whatsoever to gain from it. Rohanna was just doing her a solid, as far as she could tell. But damn, he was one sexy son of a bitch. And unlike Heydar, Zepharos was actually available. Available and interested.
Ugh. This is all just so messed up.
She adjusted the small pack she had been given as she walked, the pressure of the straps annoying her tender shoulders. Heydar had taken care to ensure it was not overloaded, taking all the heavier items in his own backpack, sparing her newly inked skin from the inevitable abrasions and sweat it would otherwise cause.
Even so, she felt her skin drying out as the pigment set in. And boy was it itching.
“Do not scratch,” Heydar said as she finally gave in to the urge. “You must let the pigment bond uninterrupted for it to properly take hold.”
“Yeah, I know, but it’s annoying.”
“As is complaining,” he shot back.
Darla flashed an angry glare his way, and amazingly, it seemed to land. Heydar hesitated, stopping in his tracks. “Very well. Drop your pack and come here.”
She did so, more because the straps were itchy as hell than from a desire to do as he asked. In any case, that one action alone provided a modicum of relief. Heydar’s own pack remained on his broad shoulders, riding there as easily as if it was weightless to the massive alien. He stepped to her and took her arms one at a time, surveying the condition of her newly inked skin.
He nodded, satisfied, then unceremoniously lifted her top, surveying his work, tracing his fingers over the rapidly healing designs. He followed one of them up her flank, curving along the side of her breast where it rose to her collarbone.
Darla’s nipples had gone hard the second he had lifted her top, the skin straining and tight in the open air. Heydar didn’t seem to notice, but as his fingers followed the line higher, his thick wrist grazed the erect nub, sending a wild, electric buzz directly to her clit.
Darla forced down a gasp, clenching her teeth and flexing her legs and abs hard to remain in control. This was something new. She’d always had sensitive breasts, and she’d loved nipple play as long as she could remember, but this? This was a whole new level. It was like walking around resonating like a goddamn tuning fork.
Is it always going to be like this now? ‘Cause I don’t know if I’ll ever get anything done if it is.
She let out her breath, willing her pulse to slow. Heydar looked at her curiously.
“Are you ill? You look as though you may faint. Do you need to sit?”
Darla blushed. “I’m fine. Can we just get on with it?”
“In a moment,” he replied, turning her to study the ink on her back and hips. “Your pigment is settling in much faster than normal. How very unusual.”
“Good unusual, though, right? Not something bad.”
“It is not bad. Just something I have not encountered in my years. The pigment is not only binding to your flesh, it is thriving, starting to move on its own.”
“What does that mean?”
“I told you the pigment is a living reservoir of power. It becomes a symbiotic part of your body in time, even shifting to form new runes, allowing you to tap into the galaxy’s power.”
“Okay, you already mentioned that before.”
“I did. But this process normally takes time. And you, my unusual human, are already showing progress most do not see for months if not years. It is no wonder your flesh itches as it does.” He slid the pack off his shoulders and dug inside. A moment later he produced a small tin with a painted lid. He popped it open revealing a thick salve of some sort. A musky-sweet aroma wafted from the container.
“What is it?”
“Gorram extract,” he said, scooping out a dollop with his long fingers. “Hold still, this will not take long.”
He ignored the question and began applying the substance to her tattoos, first the tender lines on her hips, tracing his way up her flanks and in along her interwoven back designs. The relief was almost instant and the Gorram extract was greedily absorbed by her healing skin.
“Interesting,” he muttered.
“You are taking it in much faster than I have ever seen. Normally, this merely sooths the itch, providing a healing, moisturizing coating to the decorated flesh. But in your case, it is almost instantly drawn in.”
“What does that mean?”
“It is nothing to cause concern. Gorram is used by the pigment as an alternate food and energy source while it is completing its bonding with your own body. Part of that process is what you feel in your skin.”
“The moving feeling?”
“That bit’s weird, I have to admit.”
“The shifting of the pigment to form and reinforce the runes that are most in tune with your own physiology is unique to every individual. Normally, it moves very slowly. In your case, however, the pigment is quite active. You are already forming power runes in your designs, and not just the weak trace beginnings.”
“So, that’s good, right?”
“Yes. It just normally takes much longer.”
“I’ve always been a fast learner.”
“Apparently so. It is no wonder your skin is sensitive,” he said, applying more of the Gorram extract, tracing the lines with his fingertips.
Whether or not he knew just what his touch was doing to her she couldn’t tell, his face was neutral even as he gently rubbed the substance into her skin. He finished with her back, switching to her flanks and frontal hip bones, then working up, following the different colored lines and designs as they traced her musculature, curving under her breasts and up to her collars and shoulders again.
Darla’s body felt absolutely electrically charged and for just a moment she wanted nothing more than for his hands to grab her breasts and pull her close, giving her nipples a delicious squeeze as her bliss crested like a tidal wave.
Heydar, however, merely continued the process, tracing back down between her breasts, over her breastbone and finally stopping just below her bellybutton.
“Your body is exceptional,” he said.
“Why, thank you,” she replied, a fine sweat on her brow. “I guess you could say—”
“Or a freak of nature,” he cut her off. “Time will tell.” He sealed the tin and placed it in her hand. “I will leave the application on your legs to you when we stop next. The sensation will lessen as your pigment settles, but for the time being it will continue to itch. Use the Gorram sparingly though. That is a normal supply for the entire healing process, but it appears your pigment would take it all in one sitting if given the opportunity.”
Darla was still tingling with arousal, and apparently the Gorram was fueling it further. But it was also reducing the itch, so it was an acceptable trade off, even if the gorgeous man in front of her was ignorant to her primed body.
“Thanks. I’ll be okay for now,” she said.
“I am pleased to hear it. Now, let it heal, and do not scratch.”
“I’ve got it.”
“Very well,” he said, shouldering his pack once more.
Darla picked up hers as well, the straps far less uncomfortable now. She felt his stare and turned to meet his curious gaze. He held it for a long moment, and she could have sworn there was maybe at least a hint of interest there. But with an alien, who could tell? In any case, a moment later he turned and continued their trek.
What is up with this guy? Darla wondered, falling in behind him. And what’s going to happen to me?
A longtime fan of both sci-fi and fantasy books, Kira has also enjoyed her fair share of steamy novels along the way. As is the case with so many indie authors, working a day job slowed her roll considerably, but with a lot of early morning and late night writing sessions she finally managed to chip away at the dream of becoming a published author, sharing the stories that have been churning in her head all these years with the world.
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