He looked up from their assembled camp, his vibrissae tense around him with uncertainty. He gestured to her, and she began to walk toward him but stopped suddenly.

“Uh, Veral… what about predators? This is a water source. I’m sure we won’t be the only things out here.”

Veral chuffed, his vibrissae dancing lightly with amusement.

“No predators. The passage is too small for the larger creatures, and the smaller ones will not bother us. There are no vansik colonies on this side of the pool, and many of the dangerous insects and crawlers live farther into the trees,” he said, gesturing toward the far side of the oasis, where several trees grew up against the side of the cavern.

Muttering under her breath, she went to him. As she neared, however, a smile replaced her worried frown while she looked at everything he thought to provide for their little retreat. There were sealed packages of food and drink—and even her packaged vansik that she had left unopened in their rooms. Her heart melted at the gesture. Even in their desperate flight from the compound, he had been thinking of her.

Despite the fact that it was a bit disconcerting that everyone knew they were frolicking at an oasis, Terri decided to enjoy herself. Setting Harahna on her blanket, Terri stripped off her shafna, tunic and leggings until she was just in her underthings, luxuriating in the feel of the breeze cooled by the pool of water. Reclining next to their daughter, she watched greedily as Veral removed his own shafna, armor, tunic and leggings until he was stripped down to the red sadt that covered his bulging mating pouch. She had no doubt that its slit would be parted and damp as Veral strained to contain his civix.

Terri licked her lips, eager to play with her mate even though they couldn’t enjoy each other while Harahna was awake, and a grin curled her lips at his husky groan. She admired his control as he shuddered and dropped down beside her as if he hadn’t struggled with himself just moments before.

The fronds of plants beside her brushed her skin. Some were thick and leathery, but there were a few fuzzy ones. The most numerous were plants with long, thin blades that sprung out in clusters. She didn’t see any flowers beside their camp, but she could smell them. Perfume blanketed the entire area. They had to be hidden somewhere among the plants.

The day passed lazily. They ate from the wild fruits that grew in the oasis and played with Harahna on the soft banks of the pool. When they weren’t out in the shallow water with their daughter, they reclined together on the shore, enjoy the drowsy warmth of the day. Veral had even brought Knucklebones, a game of chance, surprisingly one that appealed to Argurma.

It was the closest that Terri had ever come to experiencing a true paradise. There were no threatening predators in the oasis due to its narrow passages—and further encouraged by the dragnar’s presence—and no demands on their time. The sun warmed them, but the cavern cut off the worse of the rays so they were comfortable without Terri and Harahna—who lacked enough scales to be fully protected from the brutal sun—being sunburned. For once, Terri had no fears hounding her as she drank in the simple joy of just being there with her mate.

When Harahna was finally laid down in her little nest, her tiny body half-curled against Krono’s belly, Terri straightened to feel Veral’s hard body aligned with hers. His breath stirred her hair, and his mandibles slipped through the strands, followed by his vibrissae. A sweet perfume filled her nose and she breathed it in as something petal-soft was drawn across her cheek. She turned her head to see a dewy, deep red flower with a thick conical center.

“Eat it, anastha,” he growled lustfully. “The heart of the kari flower is the sweetest, but not as sweet as my mate’s cunt. I wish you to enjoy this pleasure while I enjoy mine.”

He slipped the bulbous end into her mouth as he drew her down until they were on their knees, his thighs supporting the backs of her legs. She sucked in the treat, a burst of sweet flavor coating her tongue as a moan escaped her. That moan was followed by another as her mate tilted her forward, bracing her over a thick roll of their bedding. His teeth slid across one ass cheek, a tingle of awareness following their path.

Then he was there, his mouth sucking and licking at her folds, his dual tongues teasing and plunging until she was panting, her cries muffled by the flower that leaked more of its sweetness into her mouth. He sucked on her like she sucked on her flower until her body convulsed with pleasure and a deep growl of satisfaction vibrated through her from her mate’s mouth.

He rose, his lips abandoning that sensitive spot to trail back up her ass and down the slope of her back. He braced over her, his mouth planting tiny kisses on her shoulders as his hips brushed her bottom. The hot touch of his civix felt like a brand, enflaming her desire once more as it writhed, already slickened from its own secretions. It flicked once against her folds and nudged her clit, making her tremble and sigh. The feel of it whipping against her stirred her blood so she nearly cried out, if not for that damn flower, when the civix plunged deep within her.

Veral snapped his hips home, his hips against hers as his arms tightened around her. Her cries muffled, her mate recoiled and snapped forward, his twisting sex plowing and dragging through her so deliciously that she was a quivering mess beneath him as he rocked and ground them together. Unlike their usual frenzied couplings, he seemed to take his time, drawing out each touch, heightening every sensation as his civix flicked and thrashed within her, seeking for that special center where it could latch on. The swollen, hooked end bumped deep within her as it failed to gain purchase, pushing her into a renewed wave of pleasure.

In this position, she felt everything—every bump, every snaking whip within her that put sudden exquisite pleasure in her most sensitive internal places. The moment he connected, his tip lodging against the mouth of her womb, an explosion rocked through her, mounting rapidly into renewed waves of heat that climbed through her as the pressure built once more. The sensual tension made her tremble against him as he ground deep, his own grunts and growls muffled against her shoulder. But everything bloomed in white fire when Veral caught her clit between his two knuckles and squeezed with enough pressure to bring the slightest pinch of pain as he ground deep and released with a throaty roar against her flesh.

Her cry, muffled by the flower, ripped out of her, enhanced the smell of exotic blooms and the soft brush of plants around them.

As her ecstasy claimed her, she decided that she was correct… It was a true paradise indeed.

30

Their arrival at the coordinates of his far-kin’s house was just how Veral remembered it. The dragnar entered through a narrow underground canyon by following the vibrations of the groundwater that rose there. It was the same way that the beast was able to home in so perfectly on the oasis. His ancestors had discovered that ability generations ago, and it had been all but forgotten by most of the Argurma civilization.

He had the coordinates, but they would have done him little good amid the storms and red walls of sand that rolled over the surface of the Galithilan. He would have been helpless to find the entrance, even with the best flyer at his disposal. He would never have found it without Sankal’s precise echolocation. Her deep croons pierced down through rock and sand until she discovered the most immediate path into the hollows of the water reservoirs.

Sliding from the beast’s neck, he gave her an absent pat as he faced the weathered female staring at him, her vibrissae coiled tight against her body in careful watchfulness and her mandibles flared to further draw in his scent and that of his mate.

Keeping to tradition, he did not turn his back on her as he helped his mate down, but the moment she was at his side, he lowered his body to a crouch, touching his hands against the stone floor and the canyon. Terri moved to follow his gesture, but he shot a hand up, catching her and pushing her back upright.

This was not for females. Males had to prostrate themselves to prove they would heed the commands of the mother of the house. Even kin who had been gone far longer than what was considered acceptable.

“Veral’skahalur,” the female spoke, her voice raspy with incredible age. “You are welcome, son of our house.”

Veral glanced up and slowly stood to approach the elderly female who held her arms out to him. He embraced his father’s mother’s mother in the way of the people of the Galithilan, his hands cupping her head and his brow touching hers.

Although Veral’s father, Goralth, had been among those gathered by the council in his youth, he had returned home and went through the agony of breaking his programing under his family’s care. It was only by chance that he had met Harahna, Veral’s mother, and left the Galithilan. Veral had been brought to his father’s mother-kin during his training period after his first round of implants. He had been told that he had once played there when young with Larth, but he had no true memory of it other than a sense of coming home whenever he returned.

“It has been so long,” he said aloud, echoing the feeling that rose from within him.

His far-grandmother chuffed and patted his shoulder spine, her glowing eyes brightening as they turned in delight to Terri. A wide smile stretched across her face, baring all her teeth in a smile that would shame any civilized Argurma. Veral was even uncomfortable to see it, due to all his programming and training but, on his grandmother, it was natural and right.


Tags: S.J. Sanders Argurma Salvager Science Fiction
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