When the heart sets its course, even home is no escape...
Project Exorcism, Book 2
With a Commission uniform on her back and an engagement ring from the ship commander on her finger, a normal life is finally within Dr. Marisa Langston's reach. If she can just learn to love her fiance, everything will be perfect. Except for the perfectly arrogant Lieutenant Commander Bradi Janelle. He not only gets on her last nerve, he makes her body burn with a hunger only he can satisfy. Distraction is dangerous for a woman who has something to hide...especially when the ship is sabotaged.
Bradi isn't looking for a mate. Hell, he goes out of his way to avoid the prospect altogether--until the sexy little number in the infirmary makes a mockery of his ladies' man facade. Now, trapped with her in an escape pod, she's way too close for comfort. Too close to deny himself the heaven of her body. And her semi-conscious ramblings reveal way too much information--secrets that are dangerous for them both.
Their out-of-control hormones are the least of their problems. The pod is careening toward his home planet. Once there, Marisa won't be the only one with nothing left to hide...
This book has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.
Warning: Contains steaming hot baby-making in close quarters, sexy shifters in a galaxy far, far away, and a giant eel. Don't worry, it's friendly. Most of the time.
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October 08, 2009
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Excerpt from Force of Attraction by Mandy M. Roth
"Have a seat," Doctor Marisa Langston said, as the door to her exam room slide shut. "Go ahead and gown up. I'll be right with you. I just need to finish up with these logs."
She ran her hand over the edges of the electronic access tab on the files, allowing a microchip embedded under the skin in her hand to access the information in them. A clear image appeared in her mind as she downloaded the day's findings into the chart log. Visions of each patient she'd seen over the course of the day rushed through her mind. As quickly as it started, the painless procedure was over.
A husky laugh sounded, accompanied closely by the scent of cedar and musk. The smell drove her wild. The man attached to it drove her insane.
"Ah, Doc, I've always known you wanted me out of my pants. Hearing you say it confirms my suspicions. I told you yesterday that all you had to do was say the word and I would show you what a real man could offer you."
Marisa outwardly cringed but inwardly rejoiced at the sound of Lieutenant Commander Bradi Janelle's deep voice. The man lived to make her life hell. He seemed to take great pleasure in embarrassing her whenever possible. There was something about him that made her blood boil and her body burn in ways it shouldn't. It wasn't something she wanted to think too hard about. She was positive she wouldn't like what she discovered.
She focused on the medicine-dispensing panel in front of her instead of sinful thoughts about the man behind her. "Lieutenant Commander Bradi, I thought you canceled your physical today. I put someone else in your spot." She let her voice go hard, knowing full well why he was standing there. Giggling was an option she had to fight not to take. While it was childish, it seemed more than called for.
Bradi cleared his throat, the tension suddenly thick enough to choke on. "I did cancel, but since someone went straight to the big boy about my file not being complete, I got a call telling me to get my ass in here. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you, Doc? I mean, you don't have any certain pull with the Commander, do you?"
Grinning, Marisa turned toward him, wanting to give him the impression that he didn't get to her--but he did. Everything about the man got under her skin and she wasn't entirely sure it was in a bad way either. The fact that her pulse seemed to speed with the slightest mention of Bradi's name and that her body seemed to tighten of its own accord by his sheer nearness told her more than she wanted to know. She wanted him. She could never have him. Off limits didn't even begin to cover Lt. Commander Bradi Janelle. Dark. Dangerous. Delicious. Everything she needed to avoid.
Bradi seemed to take up so much room that he demanded attention. The dark gray backdrop of the infirmary walls provided a scene that if Marisa didn't know better, she would have said it made the brave and ballsy Lt. Commander look uncomfortable. Having an aversion to hospital-like settings wasn't uncommon. Seeing Bradi appear anything but in control was. He squared his shoulders and stared down at her, a challenge in his eyes.
The man was pure muscle, at least from what Marisa could tell. He'd never allowed her to examine him in the two months she'd been the ship's assistant physician so she could only guess. As far as she knew, Bradi hadn't allowed anyone to examine him in well over a year. Judging from the way his tight, regulation black T-shirt fit him, his upper body was sculpted to perfection. The lower half of him didn't look so bad either in a "great ass, large muscular thighs and an even larger bulge between the legs" kind of way, but who was really looking at that anyway?
Who am I kidding? I can't keep my eyes off him.
Bradi pulled the leather tie out of his hair and she watched in silent wonder as waves of silky black spilled over his broad shoulders. His light blue eyes locked on her as his tongue darted out. The sight of his long tongue brushing over his full lips made her hands shake from the need to touch him. On more than one occasion, Marisa had wondered what it would feel like to have him above her, taking her in ways she shouldn't even think about.
Even while she should have been focused on her job, Marisa was focused on the idea of Bradi taking hold of her, tossing her onto an exam table and having his way with her. Her pussy dampened at the very thought of him sinking his cock into her.
Stop thinking about him like that. It's wrong. Besides, he's an asshole.
Lt. Commander Bradi was different from the men she knew. So wild. So free that the idea of not being close to him to see what it was he'd do next wasn't an option. He was certainly an individual in a sea of the same. She wasn't used to men with facial hair--the Commission frowned upon it--so Bradi stood out even more than normal. His goatee was well maintained. It wasn't pointy, like some. No. His was cut close to his natural, squared jawline. It not only suited him, but added to the attraction of her fantasies of him going down on her. The very thought of his whiskers scraping over the tender flesh of her pussy left Marisa shifting awkwardly as cream continued to build.
Gods, I want him.
It'd be a cold day in hell before she admitted that to him though.
"As much as I love the fact you felt the need to show off your non-regulation hair, I don't need that down. I need your pants down," she said, sure that her sexual suggestion wasn't lost on him. "You need your shots updated. You're dangerously close to the expiration date on your old ones and gods help us all knowing the way you bed hop. The entire ship will be full of little Janelles. We can only hope they aren't as cocky as you are. Not only that, I'll be treating bizarre cases of whatever it is men like you spread around sexually for months. You're an epidemic waiting to happen, Janelle."
"I do not have little Janelles running around," he said, sounding a bit annoyed. "I never will."
That surprised Marisa. Bradi generally took everything in stride. He was also known to dish out way more than she liked to receive. Seeing him upset didn't sit well with her. Softening her expression, Marisa glanced up at him. "My apologies. That was uncalled for and unprofessional. I have nothing to base my assumptions on. Sorry, Lieutenant Commander."
He arched a dark brow and ran his hand over his facial hair. "Want a basis? I'd be happy to give you one, Doctor," he murmured, his blue gaze suddenly raking over her body slowly. Her breath quickened. "Give me one night, Doc. One night and then you can base all the assumptions you want off it, off me. But only if you promise to let me play doctor with you too. No fair that you get all the fun. You see--" unabashed, he cupped his groin, "--I have the perfect thing to take your temperature with." Bradi took a step toward her, sliding his large hand up toward his belt.
Yes, have me at your mercy.
Need slammed through her, leaving Marisa no choice but to avert her gaze. Her cheeks flushed. Crawling away from him wasn't an option. Standing there while he dropped his pants before her was what her job demanded. Wanting to see all that he had to offer was something her body demanded.
You hate him. Remember?
"I've been meaning to ask you about your heritage, Lieutenant Commander," Marisa said, doing her best to stay focused. It was far from easy. Sneaking a peek at Bradi's perfect body would be so easy. She'd lain awake countless nights wondering about him, knowing it was wrong. Each time she pleasured herself, it was Bradi's face she saw in her mind, his body she imagined in her, not the man who was supposed to be there.
"My heritage?" he asked, taken aback.
"Yes, you don't look like other Corneusims I've met before."
Bradi laughed slightly. The very sound shook her to her core. "Why would I look like a horny toad warrior from the planet Cornu?"
It was as she expected. The man had doctored his medical records. He certainly wasn't the first officer to do so, nor would he be the last. Whatever reason he had for hiding must have been a good one--to make him as desperate as he'd been. "Hmm, just wondering. After all, your last blood scans showed traces of Corneusim DNA in it."
Mumbling under his breath, Bradi rubbed his strong jaw. It seemed to be a habit he only had when he was dealing with her. "Doc Graves is ancient. I bet his equipment failed again, or more than likely he just mixed up the samples."
Bradi was right Dr. Graves, the ship's head physician, was old but not careless. Mixing up samples wasn't something he would do. Marisa decided to fight this battle with him at a later date. Right now, she planned on immunizing him and drawing a sample of his blood in the process. Marisa wouldn't submit it to the officials. No. Bradi had his reasons for hiding. She just needed to set her own mind at ease. "Ready to bare it all, Lieutenant Commander?"
He released the slight hold he had on his pants, letting them fall to his ankles and grinned from ear to ear. The absence of underwear gave Marisa a quick flash of his front side before he turned around and pulled his T-shirt up. Her breath caught and her inner thighs tightened. Hell, the man wasn't even erect and his cock was impressive. There was no way Bradi would ever fit in her.
Thank the gods I can't have him. He'd break me.
Staring at his rock-hard ass did little in the way of alleviating the overwhelming need to touch Bradi. Would it be so wrong to just trace the edges of his tight body? She licked her lips, imagining her fingers digging into each cheek as he fucked her. Marisa fought to maintain what little she still held of her composure. "All set?"
"I would much rather have you remove my pants next time, Doc," he said, his deep voice moving over her.
"I'm sure you would," she said wryly, trying to shake the visions from her head of Bradi fucking her. Grabbing her booster gun, Marisa moved up behind him. Placing one hand on his ass and confirming that he was indeed rock hard, she released the Star Union's recommended dosage of immunizations and population control into him. He didn't seem the least bit phased by the injection.
Lt. Commander Bradi Janelle would now be disease free for at least another year, and considering the stories she heard about his prowess that was a blessing. Unable to help herself, Marisa patted his bare cheek lightly and let out a soft laugh. Bradi flexed and temptation ran through her. She clutched her hands tight to avoid doing a full backside rub down.
"Have you talked to Peter today?" she asked, desperate to get her mind off his hind end.
Bradi stood quickly, pulling his pants up as he went. The second he turned to face her, he rolled his blue eyes. Running a large hand over his chin, Bradi shook his head, annoyance evident in his masculine features. "You always do that. You always toss Pete's name out whenever I make a comment that turns you on. Every time I make you wet, you throw him in my face, Doc. What? Do you think I forget that you are engaged to my best friend?"
Marisa's jaw dropped. "I do not toss Peter in your face every time you make me wet." Instantly, she cringed. As much as she'd wanted an intellectual debate, she didn't get one. No. Confirming Bradi's assumption that he made her wet never factored into the equation. She wished she could take it back.
A smug smile tugged at the corners of Bradi's mouth and Marisa wasn't sure if she wanted to kiss or kick it away. "See, was it so hard to admit that I make you horny? Come on, Doc. Just own up to it. You want me."
Snorting, Marisa reached out and used Bradi's forearm to steady herself. He didn't seem to mind so she held tight to it. She laughed and leaned into him as he chuckled with her. "Yeah, must be the Corneusim blood in you. I've always wanted a toad. What can you do with your tongue, Lieutenant. Commander?"
"Hold the communicator," he said, as he leaned down, putting his face so close to her that their lips would touch if she dared to move. "Was that a joke coming out of your mouth? It was funny, Doc, and you look damn good when you smile. You should do it more."
Hearing the warm tone in Bradi's voice, Marisa found herself edging even closer to him as tiny giggles continued to erupt from her. "Do what more?" she asked, hiccupping. The question popped out even though no part of her had intended on asking it. Something about Bradi made rational thought leap right out the window. The man had a way about him.
Running the pad of his thumb over her cheek, Bradi caught her off-guard. "You should smile more. You're getting married soon. You'd think you'd be in a better mood about it."
His words cut to the bone as they were no doubt intended to. Stiffening, Marisa collected her thoughts and hardened herself to his charms or at the moment, lack thereof. She jerked back from him, unable to hide the hurt on her face. Something moved over Bradi's handsome features. He reached for her but stopped just shy of actually touching her. "Doc, I-I just wanted you to--"
"I'm perfectly happy," she retorted, knowing it wasn't the truth.
A pregnant pause drew out between them. "You could do better."
"What do you mean?" she asked. She had an idea of what, or rather who he was talking about but wanted to hear it from his lips.
"Peter," he confirmed. "He's not the prize he presents himself to be, Doc."
"Is there something I should know?"
Bradi's gaze rested on her before he sighed, shaking his head.
Doing her best to deal with the turmoil Bradi left her in, Marisa forced a blank expression to her face, donning what she liked to call her work face. "Lieutenant Commander Bradi, my time, as well is yours, is precious, so if you wouldn't mind..."
He sighed. "Shit, don't do this, Doc. Don't clam up and go all 'stick up the ass' on me."
"Stick up the...?" Her jaw dropped. The ringing of her communicator cut her off. She narrowed her gaze on Bradi, daring him to continue with his juvenile behavior as she answered the call. "Dr. Langston here."
"Hey sweetheart, are you done yet? I'm going crazy waiting for you," Peter said in his bedroom voice. "Did you miss me?"
Marisa turned to avoid Bradi's penetrating gaze and nodded. It took her a moment to realize that Peter couldn't see her. "Yes, I think I'm done here. My last patient was just leaving." She heard the door to her exam room open and close. Relief should have flooded her. Lt. Commander Bradi Janelle had left. Oddly enough, no part of her was happy about that. Suddenly, she felt bad for her brashness. "Listen, I'll see you in a bit. There's something I need to take care of before I call it a day."
"Very well," Peter said. "See you soon."
"Mmmhmm." Marisa clicked the communicator off. Tension filled her neck and shoulders as the weight of her behavior toward Bradi rested on her. In truth, he was no worse than the rest of the male crew on board. Being one of only a handful of females on a two-month-deep space journey had left her the target of many deprived males, but none rubbed on her nerves the way Bradi did. No one else made her dream of him, his touch, his cock buried deep within. No. No one else aboard the vessel did what Bradi did to her.