Desert Heat [An Ike Payne Adventure 2] [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Melodee Aaron
eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
eBook Description: Ike's life is complicated. She's the Marine General in charge of security for His Majesty's Starship Boone. Her husband, Devon, is suffering problems with his memory since he was injured in the battle with the Palean Liberation Front a year ago. Ike has to escort the spoiled Princess Miranda to Nerumie to settle a civil war. Just when things might take a turn for the better, their ship crashes in the deep desert. The crash strands Ike, Devon, Miranda, and Sergeant Jack Ingram with little food and less water. The temperature swings from half that of boiling water to far below freezing, and killer animals stalk them in the darkness and from the skies. Attraction, love, and lust weave a web through the group as they deal with their growing feelings for each other. Discoveries of hidden feelings made under the orange sun of Nerumie cause tempers to flair. Passions rage between the four, testing devotion and love to the limits as they fight for survival in the desert heat. [Erotic Science Fiction/ Romantic Comedy/ Light BDSM: Contains graphic sexual content and adult language.]
eBook Publisher: Siren-BookStrand, Inc./Erotica Romance, Published: 2006, 2006
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2006
This eBook is part of the following series:
31 Reader Ratings:
"Life changed for Ike Payne in many ways. She acquired a husband whom she is very much in love with and a new job as Marine General of His Majesty's Starship Boone. As happy as she was, they still had their fair share of troubles. Even after a year, Devon's memory problems had not improved. As a matter of fact, they were getting worse. However, the couple was determined to see the bright side of things and keep going. Then the ship they shared with Miranda and Jack crashed in the middle of nowhere. Now, the four of them struggle to survive the dangers that surround them in an unknown land.
What can I say; Melodee Aaron produced another best seller. An Ike Payne Adventure 2: Desert Heat was even better than the first installment. The original story introduced me to Ike and Devon, while the follow up novel carried me on a journey with the couple and brought Miranda and Sergeant Jack Ingram into the fold. I am guilty of loving sequels that follow a lead character over a period. Sue me. I had the pleasure of knowing Devon as he became more comfortable with himself. He was a different man, more self-assured and assertive. In my humble opinion, it showed in his lovemaking. Between Ike and Devon it was a constant battle of who desired the other more. Their active sex life caused me a very restless night. However, Desert Heat lacked some of the extra debauchery that For the Love of Payne possessed. I have confidence that things will heat back up [in] the next installment. Ike was just enjoying time with her husband and it was a pleasure to experience married life through her eyes. Even the sub-characters were interesting. They added something new, and vivacious to the tale. I'm so excited. I just know there is going to be another chapter in the Ike Payne saga and I cannot wait. 4.5 Stars/Hot"--Suni Farrar, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
Devon relieved Jack at midnight. He tried to crawl out of the sleeping bag without waking Ikira, but she hugged him tightly. "Don't get stupid out there. We both know you tend to do that now and then."
"I guess I do, but not this time. Sleep, and I'll see you at 0400."
The screaming cries of earlier hadn't repeated, but Jack said the scanners picked up large creatures moving around more than two kilometers away. The scanners picked up much closer small animals, the size of cats and smaller, but Jack didn't see anything. More troubling, Jack said he heard a sound like flapping wings in the skies overhead. Large flapping wings. The scanners showed nothing.
The temperature readout said minus twenty-one degrees. The wind blew by the cave entrance at sixteen meters per second, howling like a banshee. The tactical display in Devon's helmet said the temperature to exposed skin would feel like minus fifty-one degrees.
Devon checked his weapons, huddled in his coat, and watched the scanners.
Devon didn't look at his watch. His memory problems prevented him from knowing the time. He heard a noise from behind him, inside the cave. He turned suddenly and saw Miranda, huddled in a coat, her sleeping bag wrapped around her.
His pulse quickened at the sight of her. Since he met Miranda nearly a year ago, Devon found himself attracted to her. At first, he wrote it off as the infatuation of an older man for a younger woman. Young and very pretty, he thought his feelings for her normal. Maybe even healthy.
As time went by, his attraction never diminished. That wasn't normal or healthy. Devon tried many times to push it down inside his mind, but it always came back. Usually, it came back stronger than before. Miranda never showed any interest to him.
She was what he thought of a touch person. She liked to touch people. Miranda often placed her hand on his arm when she spoke to him. The touch caused his attractions to build and his heart to race. His mind never seemed to work right when she was around.
His thinking never became so clouded that he forgot Ikira. He carried no small amount of guilt in his heart for just thinking about Miranda. The idea of cheating on Ikira made his stomach hurt. He couldn't do that.
However, the idea of a multiple relationship made him smile. Polyamory was what Miranda's parents call it. Many people in a relationship, all in love with one another. That, he could do. If, and only if, Ikira would be involved.
Just a male fantasy, he knew. Attracted to Miranda or not, Ikira would always be his first true love and his wife.
Devon flipped his visor up and smiled at Miranda. "Why are you up?"
She sat on the rock beside him. "I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep." She repositioned her coverings. "Anything happening?"
"Just some bogeys on the scanners in the distance." He looked at the young Princess. Her profile in the red glow of the night lamps made his palms sweat, despite the frigid temperature. "I know this is hard for you."
"Yes, it is. I'm doing all right, I guess." She paused for a time. "I know I'm a spoiled brat, and things aren't going the way I want them to go right now. Mostly, I'm scared."
"Jack said he was scared, too. What about Ike?"
"She's as scared as the rest of us." He wondered about the fear he felt being so close to her. He hoped he could control the urge to grab her shoulders and kiss her.
"Then why I am the only one acting scared?"
"Pretty simple. Ikira and I have been in the service for thirty years. Jack's not far behind. We're trained to turn off our emotions and do our jobs. That's especially true for Jack and Ikira. Our job right now is to keep us all alive until someone can find us."
"I've never been in a situation like this before."
"Neither have I. Ikira hasn't, either, and I don't think Jack has." He smiled at her. "This is a first for all of us, I guess."
"I guess." She seemed to decide to take off in another direction. "Can I ask you a personal question?"
"Sure, but I reserve the right not to answer."
She laughed a little. "Fair enough. What's it like to be in love with just one person the way you and Ike are?"
Devon felt a knot in his gut. "I'm not sure I understand."
"The only couple I know well who are in a single marriage is Claire and Zach. My brothers and sisters are mostly in multiple marriages. Maybe I should ask if you and Ike will ever add another person to your marriage."
"I can't tell the future, but I'm happy, and I think Ikira is, too, with just the two of us. I'm not going to say that will always be the case, because we might meet another person at some time we'll fall in love with." He paused, wondering if she could read minds. "You asked what it's like to be in love with one person. My experience is limited. Ikira is the first person I've ever loved."
"I thought I was in love before I met her, but I wasn't. I knew the very first instant I met Ikira that I loved her."
"Mom said you proposed to her only three weeks after you met."
"That's right, and we were married less than two months after that."
"That's neat. Daddy said he fell in love with all four of my moms that fast."
"I guess it's neat. All I know is that it's true."
"I suppose every girl wants that kind of love. Charlotte had to wait more than four hundred years, but Claire was only seventeen when she met Zach." She sighed a little. "I hope I don't have to wait another three hundred or more years."
Devon chuckled. "You're a wonderful girl. I doubt you'll have to wait too long."
"Maybe. Being a Princess sort of cramps the social life, though."
"Guys are a little nervous and shy around me. I can count on one hand the number of guys who've kissed me without my starting the kiss, and I'll have fingers left over."
"I can understand that. Your dad is the Emperor. Some guy ticks him off, your dad sends Ikira and me to toss the guy out an airlock."
"He's threatened that a few times." Miranda thought for a few moments. "My sisters all say he's never really chased any guys away. It's not daddy, it's the guys."
"I know I'd be more than a little hesitant to do much more than shake your hand."
She laughed. "I can imagine. Seriously, I'm really happy for you and Ike. I've known her all my life, and I can't remember her this happy."
"It's sort of funny, I guess. I've only been on Boone ten years. Ikira and I didn't meet for nine of those years. She's been providing security for your family for more than twenty years, but she was never very close to any of you." Devon watched the scanner for a moment. One of the big bogeys moved three kilometers away from the cave. "Then last year, we suddenly met, and your family was all involved. We've all gotten pretty close in the last year."
"I never thought of that, but you're right. I know we all like Ike and have for as long as I can remember. And we all like you."
"I owe your family a lot. Especially Claire, Charlotte, and Marilyn. They pulled Ikira through when I was hurt last year and helped her cope with that." He couldn't keep his eyes off her. At least his hands behaved.
"Charlotte told me. I wish I could have been there to help, too."
"Someone has to do all the political visits." Devon saw the bogey move out of scanner range. "Your whole family was great then, but those three kept Ikira from falling apart. We owe them."
"We don't feel like you owe us anything. You and Ike take care of us every day." Miranda pulled her sleeping bag closer. "Just like now."
"Maybe. Are you warm enough?" Devon sweated under his armor.
"Yes, I am." She glanced at the monitor panel. "It's only minus twenty-three."
Miranda giggled. "I heard Ike's nose was cold."
"Um, it was."
"You two are as bad as Daddy and my moms."
"I wouldn't know about that. I guess we just like being together."
"That's one word for it." Miranda paused. "I may have to stay up and talk to Ike."
Devon checked his watch. It was 0335. Ikira would relieve him in twenty-five minutes. "About what?"
"Oh. Sorry I asked." Discussing sex with Miranda would be a very bad idea. Devon knew he'd be tempted to demonstrate the finer points for her.
"Don't worry. Daddy gets uncomfortable when we girls start talking about sex, too." She giggled.
"I guess he would. I know I wouldn't be very comfortable talking about sex with you or any of your sisters. Better count your mothers in there, too."
He didn't really hear her. A large bogey moved into the scanner range and moved directly toward the cave mouth at about five meters per second. "Go back inside."
"Should I wake Jack and Ike?"
"No, not yet. Just go inside."
She paused for a moment, and then moved inside.
Devon watched the bogey for nearly five minutes, and it continued to come closer, now only a kilometer away. The sound telescopes picked up heavy breathing and footsteps. There was nothing visual or on infrared.
Ikira crept up beside him. "Hi. I was awake, and Miranda told me you have something coming this way."
"Looks like it." Devon flipped his visor up and kissed Ike's cheek. "We may have company coming, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to kiss my wife hello."
"You're a mess."
As they watched, the return stopped about six hundred meters away, then moved in short bursts, almost haltingly. "It looks like it's stalking something."
"Yeah." Ike frowned as she watched.
The creature suddenly moved at more than fifteen meters per second, and the blood-curdling cry rang out. They both jumped. "What the hell are those things?"
"I have no clue." The scanners showed several of the small, cat-sized things, running from the larger creature. From the display, some didn't run fast enough. The scanner soon showed the large creature moving away again.
Devon shivered. "Do you want me to stay up with you?"
"No, babe. Get some rest." She put her arms around his neck, hugging him. "How long was Miranda out here?"
"I really don't know."
"That's OK. She said she wanted to talk if we could." Ike smiled. "Girl talk, I gathered."
"That's my cue." Devon flipped up his visor and then Ike's. "I'll see you in a few hours." They kissed deeply, sending a wave of heat through her in the freezing temperature of the night. "Good night. I'll tell Miranda she can come back."
"Have dreams about me." She grinned. "Wet dreams."
"And you say I'm a mess. Be careful." They kissed again, and he went into the cave.
* * * *
Miranda came to the cave mouth and sat down beside Ike. "Devon said it went away."
"Yes. Why are you staying up all night?"
Miranda felt herself shiver a little, but not because of the cold. "I guess I'm a little scared."
"A little scared? Maybe I should give you this rifle, then. I'm a lot scared."
"I didn't think anything scared you."
"I used to think that." Ike sighed. "I found out last year, when Devon almost died, there are many things that scare me. I also found out it's all right to be scared."
"That's what Devon and Jack said, too." She paused a moment. "I guess Devon was really tired. He was asleep before I left to come out here."
"Stress. That can wear you out, and sleep is the best medicine."
"Devon's such a neat man."
"I like to think so." She playfully elbowed Miranda in the ribs. "He's also taken, kid."
"I don't mean it that way!" Miranda did feel attraction to Devon, but she wrote it off as a crush.
"I know." Ike fell silent for a moment. "He reminds me of your dad in some ways."
"If you mean Daddy is crazy about my moms the way Devon is crazy about you, I can see that."
"Maybe that's it. I'm not really sure myself."
Miranda decided to ask the starting question. "How often do you and Devon have sex?"
Ike laughed. "Nothing like being blunt. Actually, we don't have sex that often. We make love a lot, though."
"Now you sound like my moms."
"I guess I do. Sex is a big part of our love." Ike paused. "We're in love, and sex has nothing to do with the matter, really. To answer your question, as often as we can. If I had to pick a number, probably two or three times a day."
This wasn't going to work. Miranda's attraction for Devon took on proportions much bigger than a crush when she thought of him and sex at the same time. "I need to stop talking about sex!" Miranda wiggled in her seat. "I've watched you, and I wonder how you cope with his memory problems so easily."
Ike paused for a long time. "I do it because I love him. It's not that bad, though. Mostly, he has problems remembering times and dates. He can remember our first date, almost like he has it written down. I had to tell him about five times the party was at noon."
"That's what I mean. I think I'd get frustrated and lose my patience."
"No, you wouldn't." Ike paused again. "I love him, and he needs just a little help sometimes with things." She hesitated several moments. "That's a tiny burden to have him in my life." Miranda saw tears freezing on Ike's face.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you."
"That's all right." She wiped at the ice crystals. "I'd give anything I have to make it go away. He hates it and beats himself up on a daily basis because he forgets so much."
"That has to be hard for him, and hard for you to watch."
"You have no idea. I try to help him without him knowing I'm helping him, but it doesn't work sometimes. The biggest thing for me is remembering that when he gets angry, he's not angry with me or even himself, just with the limitations."
Miranda hesitated. "I'm a little surprised he hasn't been relieved from duty."
"Please, don't tell anyone, but he should have been. That would crush him. Your father and Q, as a personal favor to me, have looked the other way." Ike sniffed. "He's OK doing the things he and I do together, but he can't command. He forgets too many things. He had no idea how long you talked to him."
"I won't say anything. Will it ever get better?"
"Claire hoped it would get better with time, as his brain learned how to do things again, but that hasn't worked too well." Ike sat silently for a time. "I don't know if he's worse, but he's no better."
"I wish I could help."
Ike stared into the dark desert. "I wish someone could."
Miranda watched Ike for a while. "Can I ask you something about love?"
Ike shook herself a little. "Sure."
"How do you know when you're in love?" Miranda paused, thinking. "I guess what I mean is, how did you know that you were in love with Devon?"
"I'm not sure I can put it into words. I just knew." Ike watched the scanner for a moment. "I think I knew, down inside, I loved him for a long time before I admitted it to myself. It made for terrible timing, but I finally admitted it when he was shot and I thought I'd lost him."
"What do you think about Jack?" Instantly, Miranda wanted to take the words back. She knew she had an attraction to him, but didn't want anyone to know.
"I think he needs a lot more dates than he's been having." Ike laughed.
Miranda breathed a sigh of relief. Ike missed the connection. "I think you're right. Did you mean what you said about him being a chauvinist? He doesn't seem that way to me."
"Yes, I did. He can be so protective that he gets a little irritating sometimes. Then again, I'm not attracted to him. I guess some people would see Devon's protectiveness for me as irritating, too."
"One woman's overprotection is another's love."
"That's it. Jack's a great guy, though. He's one of the best Marines I have ever known." She chuckled. "He's so good in security because he looks like a door with a head on it. He never has to tell anyone to settle down more than once."
A chill ran through Miranda as she thought about his strong arms around her when they danced. "He's big."
Ike looked her face for a moment. "What's wrong?"
She tried to force her face to a neutral expression. "Nothing. Just a little cold from the wind." Miranda watched as Ike stared at her. "You said you've known him for thirteen years."
"I have." Ike looked back at the scanner. "It's a shame Jack hasn't found a woman who sees that overprotective streak as love, though."
"I think he will."
"Of that, I have no doubts."