For years, Mora has studied the ancient art of sex in the literature and history of her planet, Vesta. Now she's been assigned to visit Earth to discover, hands-on, how sex is performed so she can re-teach the pleasures of the flesh to her people. Unfortunately, she's been paired with an aristocratic prig who prides himself on tight control of his emotions and denial of any sensual pleasure. Thank the Universe he's a handsome devil, or the job would be impossible.
Laer has spent his life in pursuit of the intellectual over the carnal. Unfortunately, he scores high on Mora's so-called tests of sensuality. Now he's been assigned to a mission to Earth to study how to give and receive sexual pleasure. Watching a pair of Earthers make love opens up a new reality for him, but what follows between him and Mora in the bedroom steals not only his dignity but his heart.
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And now for an excerpt:
An exquisitely sensitive and crucial mission, and Mora’s home planet had assigned her a stiff-backed, high-born, coldly intellectual, self-satisfied prig of a partner to complete it. At least, he looked good, which would be a benefit. Her job, after all, was to teach the man how to enjoy sex.
Laer Mi-Artes Yar DoCardi, Scion of the First House stared around him at all the Earthers and their colorful costumes in obvious disapproval. He’d deny was doing it, of course. Contempt was an emotion, after all, and he held those in… well… contempt. She’d have to help him get over his aversion because sex was something Earthers understood, and whether he liked it or not, Earthers would be their teachers.
The gathering called EarthCon attracted an odd bunch of the planet’s inhabitants -- people who liked to dress up in costumes and impersonate characters from their popular fiction. Luckily, those characters were largely beings Earthers referred to as “aliens,” as if coming from this small, insignificant planet qualified one as normal and everyone else in the Universe as other. Still, the premise of the conference suited Vesta’s needs as Vestans could pass easily among the attendees despite the Vestans’ sixth finger on each hand and the color of their skin, which an Earther would describe as “aquamarine.”
Mora watched Laer as they walked among the crowd in the main exhibition hall. Haughty to the extreme -- a trait considered a virtue among Vesta’s ruling class -- Laer could ruin the mission by rejecting any kind of involvement with the participants at the conference. She’d have to remind him again and again, if need be, about the importance of the task before them and how his cooperation was mandatory.
“This entire endeavor is ridiculous,” he muttered. “I don’t know why I have to mingle with this great horde of the unwashed.”
“It seems to me they’re very well washed, indeed. There’s a shower in every hotel room.” The idea of bathing in water had taken some adjustment, but after a few tries, slicking oneself with soap and splashing it off had become quite pleasurable. Especially in the huge sunken tub in their luxury room. Another sensual experience to introduce to their home planet. Along with the obvious they’d come here to explore -- copulation. She’d have to overcome a great deal of resistance in that regard with Laer.
“What’s the one over there supposed to be?” Laer said, pointing a long finger in the direction of an Earther dressed in little more than strategically placed feathers.
Mora grabbed his hand. “It isn’t polite to point.”
He lifted an aristocratic brow. “It’s a simple enough question.”
Mora regarded the Earther. They’d both studied the various personalities of the local mythology, but this one had her stumped. “I don’t know. Some kind of bird-creature perhaps.”
The bird-creature in question had spotted them, and instead of taking offense at Laer’s pointing at her, appeared to view it as an invitation to approach. She sauntered over and gazed up at Laer from under feathered eyelashes. “Hey, you’re kind of cute.”
Mora held her breath waiting for his reaction. Luckily, he responded out of his training, not his natural inclination to bluntly order the woman out of his sight. He did nothing. He might have straightened a bit. At his considerable height, it was hard to tell.
“That’s a neat costume.” The Earther took his hand and studied his fingers. “Do all of these work?”
In answer, he clenched his hand into a fist around the Earther’s. Clenched his jaw, too. He probably wouldn’t tolerate too much more contact.
“Ooooh,” the Earther said. “Must be fun in bed.”
Mora reached over and gently removed Laer’s hand from the Earther’s. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“Yours, too, I’m sure.” The Earther looked Laer over from top to bottom. “He has big hands and feet. Nice.”
The implication came through -- he’d be well-endowed sexually. A quaint superstition among these people. Laer obviously took its meaning because he glared at Mora, asking without words how much of this familiarity he was required to tolerate.
“My friends and I are having a special kind of party in my suite,” the bird-creature said. “Adult fun, if you know what I mean.”
“That sounds intriguing,” Mora said.
“You could come, too.” The bird-creature batted her eyelashes at Laer again. “Suite 650. Seven pm.”
Laer managed to maintain his composure, but Mora knew him well enough now to detect some cracks in his calm façade.
“We’re tired, having travelled light years to get here,” Mora said.
“Yeah, sure.” The Earther waved a dismissive hand and then leaned into Laer, splaying her fingers over his chest. “Suite 650.”
Before the cracks in his control turned into fissures, Mora stepped between him and the Earther. “I’m afraid he’s mine. And beware, my bite is venomous.”
“Kinky,” the Earther said. “Whatever floats your boat. Suite 650 at seven.”
Finally, the bird creature moved away but not without glancing over her shoulder to give Laer a smoldering look.
“Must I…” He hesitated for a moment. “Copulate with this Earther?”